Thursday, July 14, 2005

Well, It’s Not Really a Crisis…

Remember the big push last winter by Bush to completely transform (i.e. gut) Social Security and privatize it because we were facing a huge crisis and it was so important that he went to 60 cities in 60 days (always in front of carefully chosen and therefore giddily supportive audiences) to push Congress to do something? And remember how well it went over? Yeah, like a turd in a punchbowl. Much more important things came up, like keeping Terri Schiavo alive, getting John Bolton into the UN, and finally getting the insurgents in Iraq to surrender. Zero for three on that, and now we find that Social Security reform isn’t really all that important, and besides, Congress decided to take a field trip to Cape Canaveral to watch the space shuttle launch — which didn’t go, by the way.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) now thinks he may not begin consideration of Social Security legislation until September, an aide said. Thomas told an Associated Press reporter yesterday that, “The issue is dealing with more time-sensitive legislation first.” He said Social Security “is not time-sensitive, and we are going to pass CAFTA,” the Central American Free Trade Agreement, before Congress begins its summer break. Thomas, referring to a congressional trip to Cape Canaveral, Fla., that canceled votes yesterday, said: “There’s no hang-up on contents. It’s just how many days we got and how many space shuttles don’t get off the ground.”

The truth is that there never was a Republican plan for saving Social Security other than the ill-conceived privatization — oops, I mean “personal accounts” — and the country knew it and wasn’t buying it. Oh, yes, the Republican counter to that is that the Democrats never came up with a plan, either. Well, excuse me, but you have to have an offer to get a counter-offer, and besides, this was your idea; the plan can’t be “you first.” And in case you’re forgetting, the Republicans are the majority party and won’t even let the Democrats hold a coffee break without their permission. So they’ve got a turkey on their hands; they just need to find a way to back out gracefully. Perhaps diverting attention with something completely frivolous and irrelevant would work — how about a flag-burning amendment and some sanctimonious gay-bashing? Yeah, that’ll keep the hoi-polloi happy until the next pretty white woman disappears.