It rains once in awhile in Oregon. The Oregonian has learned to see through the clouds:
Social Security straw man: The Senate panel's hearing begins on a disappointing note, Wednesday, April 27, 2005, Editorial, The Oregonian
A few weeks ago, Sen. Charles Grassley made a lot of Americans cringe by asserting that the Social Security trust fund was only "a mirage." Scary words, those, from the all-powerful chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
On Tuesday, the Iowa Republican said something equally as cringe-worthy, not to mention untrue, as his "mirage" remark. He blasted Democrats and other critics of President Bush's Social Security privatization plan for failing to offer ideas of their own on how to keep the system from falling apart.
"Doing nothing is not an option," he fumed at some who appeared before the 20-member committee Tuesday.
Trouble is, not a single critic of the Bush plan favors "doing nothing." Opponents of diverting Social Security payments into private investment accounts have been pointing out all sorts of responsible reforms that can put the popular social insurance program back on the path to solvency -- something that even Bush admits his proposal does not do.
"We've had months of sparring and skirmishing," one committee member, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., noted on the eve of the hearing. "Tuesday," he added, "is Round One of getting into the substance."
So true. Which made it all the more disappointing to see Chairman Grassley pull out the old straw-man ploy right at the get-go. If he allows that kind of political posturing to continue in this important hearing, true Social Security reform will indeed be a mirage.