SocraticGadfly: 2/27/05 - 3/6/05

March 05, 2005

Morning News lets N Tex Congress peddle Soc Sec malarky

The Dallas Morning News devoted a full editorial page to letting Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, along with all area Representatives (two declined) to speak on Social Security.

Sen. Hutchison and Reps. Hall, Hensarling, Sam Johnson, Sessions bear watching. Some samples:

"(Bush's) changes may result in some initial costs, but those pale in comparison to the status quo. According to the Social Security trustees, the cost of inaction is more than $10 trillion and escalates by $600 billion with each passing year."
NOTE: Bush plan's startup cost, and outgoing costs, are nowhere mentioned for context; claim of SS trustees $10 trillion + $600 billion are nowhere explained or put into context.

"First and foremost, current and near retirees (emphasis added) should know that I am committed to completely preserving the benefits they have been promised."
NOTE: The usual weaseling.

"There is no question Social Security is currently on the road to bankruptcy."
Yes there is.

"One of the more promising options is personal accounts."
NOTE: "Private" still verboten

"Savings earned cold be passed on to children and grandchildren."
NOTE: Do tell, Senator? That's not what I've heard from any Bush plan. It's "you die, you lose it."

Rep Joe Barton:
"I am committed to taking action to strengthening the Social Security system for generations to come, while fulfilling the promises made to current retirees and those nearing retirement. ... I would not support any plan that would take away Social Security checks from our senior citizens."
NOTE: "Strengthening" - the spin word. Again, the divide and conquer with the retirees and near retirees.

"By investing through a partially private Social Security system now..."
NOTE: Didn't he read the WH memo?

Rep. Chet Edwards:
"We should strengthen Social Security, not privatize it."
NOTE: Nuff said. ... but??

"By working in good faith, Congress and the administration can forge a bipartisan plan to protect Social Security without privatizing it."
NOTE: Watch out for that bait and switch, Chet.

Rep. Ralph Hall:
"Rearranging the cap on taxable income is a suggestion I examined 10 years ago and was told by actuaries at the Social Security Administration that it didn't raise enough money."
NOTE: "Rearrange"? That could mean anything from eliminating it to raising it 2 percent. And who told you that, and what were the details.

"I would also support adjusting ... the retirement age."
NOTE: To what? 70? 72?

"Additionally, we could reconsider aid to foreign countries that vote against the United States 90 percent of the time in the United Nations."
NOTE: Is it any wonder that the typical citizen thinks foreign aid makes up 10-20 percent of the federal budget when a bozo congressman like this aids, abets and perpetuates that myth? Geez, the Dems should have booted him from the party a decade before he jumped ship himself. (He was the only Democrat to vote for all 10 items in the Contract on America.)

Rep. Jeb Hensarling:
"Unforunately, due to changing demographics, Social Security as we know it will not be there for future generations."
NOTE: Scare tactic No. 1.

"Without reforms, today's younger workers will face either a 27 percent benefit cut or a 36 percent tax increase by the time they retire."
NOTE: What age in specific? Whence these figures?

"We can give younger Americans the freedom to build their own family nest egg."
NOTE: First, the spin words; second, the implied family portability of accounts, not in the original Bush plan.

"By protecting the remaining Social Security surplus from Washington..."
NOTE: Deception. Didn't you vote for the Bush budgets, Congressman?

"... We could substantially fund any transition costs."
NOTE: We'll rob Peter to pay Paul and finish gutting Social Security in the process. How ingenious.

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson:
"Social Security is not in crisis as the president suggests. ... It does and will continue to have (emphasis added) a proven record."

Rep. Sam Johnson:
"You keep 6.2 percent to invest in a personal account."
NOTE: Out-Bushing Bush on the startup -- a full one-half of the 12.4 percent.

"The government gets 6.2 percent to meet its obligations to those over 55."
NOTE: Again, the divide and conquer.

"You also get back the amount you already paid in." (Emphasis added.)
NOTE: What the hell? Is he saying, "Let's cash the system out right now?"

Rep. Pete Sessions:
"Anticipating future cuts in Social Security, Galveston County employees voted overwhelmingly in 1981 to opt out of Social Security and create an alternative plan at virtually no risk to beneficiaries. This alternative plan pools employee money and lends it to a top-rate financial institution in return for guaranteed rates."
NOTE: This is so different from the Bush plan that I'm surprised Karl Rove himself didn't write up this bait-and-switch.
The Bush plan does not: guarantee rates; lend money to financial institutions or invest in financial institutions in any way; pool risk through group rather than individual contributions or otherwise create shared risk.
Indeed, Sessions' plan sounds much like an idea discussed by some Democrats in the 1990s -- to have the government invest part of Social Security funds in something outside of Treasury bonds. Of course, Congressional Republicans shot it down.

March 04, 2005

James Baker: Global warming is real

Even James Baker is deserting President Bush on climate change, global warming and the need to look for and move to alternative energy sources.

Plus, he gave this speech in Houston. Wonder what the ’Ol Hammerhead, Tom DeLay, has to say about that one?

You have to wonder, with Baker's abundant Middle Eastern connections, if he doesn't also have some information on Hubbert's Peak, the peak in worldwide oil production detailed in “The End of Oil”.