Monday :: Jun 6, 2005

Monday Afternoon Grab Bag


by Steve

Here’s proof for those of you who argue that the Democrats shouldn’t offer a Social Security plan of their own. The first two Democratic House members who did so get whacked in a Post editorial for offering a plan that consisted of new revenue only without benefit cuts. Yet the Post’s editorial board wants you to forget that the money to fix Social Security was spent by Bush solely on, you guessed it, the wealthy and now with deficits as far as the eye can see, the Post wants to cut benefits to address Bush’s fiscal irresponsibility. Gee, didn’t the Post originally support the first Bush tax cut?

While we’re on Social Security, please take a look at this Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis, which shows that contrary to Bush’s claims (surprise) his proposal does not pay a better rate of return than the existing benefit.

Those of us who have been thinking that the ethics issue can be hung around the GOP’s neck like an albatross next year have interesting company: the GOP themselves. The Post runs a piece this morning that reports the GOP itself is concerned about what kind of beating they will take next year if the Democrats make ethics and the arrogance of power major themes in the 2006 midterms. It is illustrative to see which supposedly safe GOP incumbents are being targeted by the Dems next year because of their ties to DeLay. And this follows the GOP corruption angle that larre wrote about this morning, sourced from the piece by Elizabeth Drew.

Condi had to smack down Rummy for suggesting that North Korea’s intransigence would be referred to the UN within weeks. This comes after one of Rummy’s senior staff made the threats about taking the matter to the UN, even though everyone knows that China will stop it from going any further there. And note in the Times story this morning that Condi has brought aboard a successful Clinton-era negotiator to handle North Korea, and that he is already running into roadblocks with the White House and Defense. Gee, who is running foreign policy in this administration anyway?

The former members of the 9/11 Commission, frustrated at the lagging commitment of the White House and the GOP Congressional leadership to implement the commission recommendations on nuclear proliferation, protecting civil liberties, and congressional reform, are planning to reconvene hearings this month and will invite the Administration and GOP leaders to participate, but this time without the subpoena power they had before. Let’s see how uncomfortable this gets for Bush and how Rove will spin the fact that the five Republicans on the commission are actively involved in assessing the lack of progress by the Administration and the GOP leadership.

And Bob Herbert of the Times this morning writes on the declining ability of the lower and middle classes to move up in the Bush economy, at a time when the wealthiest are making out like bandits.

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