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Monday, July 31, 2006

"We're Going to Get Serious"

Remember Social Security reform? There are people who haven't forgotten and are unlikely to forget anytime soon. This is from an interview with House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) appearing in the Washington Times:

'It's my job to ensure that our members get a good bill', Washington Times:

Q: Where does Social Security reform stand?

A: I just met with Congressman [Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican], a few minutes ago with his SAFE Commission [formed to fix the entitlement programs]. ... I talked to the president about it because I threw cold water on his commission idea. You know, typically, when politicians don't want to deal with something, they create commissions. I have had serious conversations with the Senate about a joint select committee -- made up of the chairs and subcommittee chairs and maybe a few other interested -- members to deal with this. ... If I'm around in a leadership role come January, we're going to get serious about this.

Q: But by not running on the issue in the current election, aren't you repeating the mistake of 2004 where President Bush didn't run on it and after the election Democrats said Republicans didn't have a mandate to do anything?

A: I think voters give us credit when we have the courage to do what's right. They may not like it. But at the end of the day, they give us credit for standing up and dealing with something. When you start talking about a problem this big I've seen the numbers, but people in America don't see the numbers considerable time is gonna have to be spent laying out the problem. Politicians always start by talking about solution to a problem that most people don't know is a problem. That's what got the president in trouble on Social Security. More time should have been spent laying out the problem. But running a big campaign to make the kind of changes that are necessary to these entitlement programs has to also be looked at over a longer time frame. This pension bill I've worked on for six years. You've got to look at solving the problem over a longer time frame.

People "may not like it," but they don't understand so we're going to do it anyway. After all, we know what's best.

Oh boy.

Here are more statements collected by Think Progress (where I first noticed the interview above):

Boehner Pledges To Privatize Social Security: ‘We’re Going to Get Serious About This’, by Nico, Think Progress:  In an interview with the Washington Times published yesterday, House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) promised to privatize Social Security:

… If I’m around in a leadership role come January, we’re going to get serious about this.

...Boehner is just the latest prominent conservative to reaffirm his commitment to privatize Social Security in the months and years to come.

President Bush, 6/27/06:

Now is the time for the Congress and the President to work together to reform Medicare and reform Social Security so we can leave behind a solvent balance sheet for our next generation of Americans. … If we can’t get it done this year, I’m going to try next year. And if we can’t get it done next year, I’m going to try the year after that, because it is the right thing to do.

White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, 6/17/06:

Looking ahead to next year, he is trying to lay the groundwork for a renewed effort to reform Social Security and Medicare, the federal health-care program for seniors. He suggests Mr. Bush and his aides may have learned from their failed attempt to push through Social Security reform in 2005.

House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Jim McCrery (R-LA), 6/6/06:

Congress should make Social Security overhaul its top priority next year, while a rewrite of the tax code and revamping the nation’s healthcare system probably will wait until at least 2009, House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Jim McCrery, R-La., said today.

What a bunch of chickens. If you're planning to do it, run on it. Don't hide behind the idea that people don't understand and it's too hard to explain. I think they do understand and they aren't convinced by the argument. But even if they don't, if you can't explain it to people, then you really don't understand it yourselves.

Update: Hank Paulson getting serious on Social Security:

Paulson in attack on anti-trade rhetoric, Financial Times: Mr Paulson also made a strong call for a renewed bipartisan effort to overhaul America’s social security system and other entitlement programmes... Mr Paulson said on Tuesday that he had Mr Bush’s full backing to put entitlement reform – including an overhaul of Medicare and Medicaid – firmly back on the agenda.

    Posted by on Monday, July 31, 2006 at 07:47 PM in Economics, Politics, Social Security | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (7)

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