Tuesday :: Jan 11, 2005

Democrats And Media Begin Pushback On Privatization


by Steve

There’s hope for both the media and the Democrats in how they respond to Bush’s attempts to distort his way to a trashing of the Social Security program. This afternoon, Bush issued a veiled threat to those who oppose his privatization plan.

"I happen to believe people who have been elected to office who ignore problems will face a price at the ballot box," Bush said during a forum with voters who support his goal of creating private investment accounts to partly replace guaranteed benefits.

Yes, Mr. President, and those like you and your GOP allies who lie about a crisis that doesn’t exist will also “face a price at the ballot box”, whatever the hell that meant. But note the immediate Democratic response:

Democrats say that they, too, will make an issue of Social Security in the midterm elections. "Republicans should be worried," said Democratic National Committee spokesman Jano Cabrera. "Whether Republicans are cutting benefits, raising taxes, or further exploding the budget deficit, Democrats intend to make Social Security a key issue in 2006."

Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., told reporters in a conference call that his first priority is to "prevent the Bush administration from wrecking what is really the bedrock of income security protection."

"They do it by diverting money to private accounts and by cutting guaranteed benefits," Levin said. "And that would wreck a program that's now providing secure income ... to 48 million people."

Also note that Nedra Pickler, the AP writer behind this wire story, who wrote some sloppy stuff about John Kerry during the campaign, didn’t just swallow the Bush bluster about Social Security.

Bush's opponents have criticized him for repeatedly saying the Social Security system is in "crisis." He used the word only once Tuesday, when mocking his critics during a discussion with Utah dairy farmer Josh Wright, who is in his 20s.

"So if you're 20 years old, in your mid-20s and you're beginning to work, I want you to think about a Social Security system that will be flat bust, bankrupt, unless the United States Congress has got the willingness to act now," Bush said.

However, people their mid- to late-20s today would be able to collect around 70 percent of benefits owed when they reach full retirement age in the 2040s even if there is no change to the system, according to Social Security trustees.

Good for Pickler, and good for the Democrats. I understand from others that CNN is also showing signs of a pushback as well.

Steve :: 3:41 PM :: Comments (22) :: Digg It!