Monday, March 21, 2011

The Social Security Hot Potato

Hey, great use of your time, senators!
More than 60 senators — evenly divided by party — sent President Obama a letter on Friday urging him to support a comprehensive effort to confront the nation’s growing deficit and debt.

The letter was signed by 32 Republicans and 32 Democrats in the hopes that evidence of broad support in the Senate will help prod Mr. Obama to lead the debt reduction charge this year.

“By approaching these negotiations comprehensively, with a strong signal of support from you, we believe that we can achieve consensus on these important fiscal issues,” the senators wrote in the letter. “This would send a powerful message to Americans that Washington can work together to tackle this critical issue.”

Senators Michael Bennet, Democrat of Colorado, and Mike Johanns, Republican of Nebraska, led the effort to send Mr. Obama the letter from the 64 senators.

A smaller bipartisan group of six senators has been meeting privately for weeks in the hopes of negotiating a framework for changes to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the tax code. That group has said about 30 senators have expressed interest in their efforts.
Hey look, the letter is signed by an equal number of Democrats and Republicans! THIS MEANS SOMETHING.

But seriously, this letter is such a perfect embodiment of the Senate's worthlessness because with 64 senators, they could... (GASP) actually pass legislation and do something about this horrible problem worth writing a letter about! The reason they won't is that while all these people "know" that social security needs to be cut, most of them are too chickenshit to actually do it because... well...  it would end their careers.

Meanwhile, the leadership our president has shown on Social Security has been, errr, what's the opposite of courageous?
The White House will not prominently inject itself into congressional negotiations on Social Security reform until after key legislators in both the House and Senate unveil their plans to reduce projected long-term deficits, according to administration officials.

The White House's reticence has been characterized by some as a symptom of a rift between Obama's economic and political advisers. Some, like Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, do in fact believe that a bipartisan deal on Social Security would result in real economic benefits, while others argue that Obama shouldn't embrace any plan that substantially cuts benefits at all.

But while opinions vary within the administration his advisers are united in the belief that achieving a workable deal with congressional Republicans will be difficult, and that it would be foolish for Obama to speak up now.
You could write a term paper on the idiocy of our Treasury Secretary thinking that cutting social security would improve our economy, but we don't have time to get into that too deeply. Let's just say that if he thinks that, he's an moron, and should have never been given the job/be fired immediately. But we knew all that months years ago.

The bottom line is that Obama is cool with cutting Social Security, but (just like his congressional counterparts) he's just to much of a pussy to say so himself.

It also wouldn't be beyond the realm of possibility to expect a Democratic president to respond by strongly defending any attacks on Social Security, but I'm long past expecting Obama to do anything that positive.

So what's the end game?

Who the fuck knows, and it just depends on how serious everyone is about wanting to making old people suffer.

If people really want to get it done, they would have to make so bipartisan that no one can take the blame for doing this incredibly unpopular thing. Obama has made it clear that all he cares about is doing something "bipartisan", so I'm sure he wouldn't have any problem cheering on whatever abomination the douche 64 comes up with.

And that's how Social Security gets cut. There are obviously plenty of reasons it won't get happen (#1: Anyone who takes real responsibility for this will lose their job in the next election), but crazier things have happened.

Taking a step back, it's pretty phenomenal that with foreclosures rampant, high unemployment and multiple disastrous wars, the only thing a majority of US Senators and our Democratic president can agree on is the need to cut Social Security.

What a world, huh?

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