Thursday, November 30, 2006

Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave...

Donald Luskin suggests that advocates of Social Security reform should not be panicking, and thinking that the White House is getting ready to sell out.

But it does sound too cute by half.

And for what it's worth, while I have been a believer in the possibility of Social Security reform in 2007, time's a wastin. Bush will need to work with either Charlie Rangel and Max Baucus, or with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, on a plan to 'save Social Security.' That work has to begin soon, because it's unlikely anything will get done in 2008, and there is a lot of work to be done for action in 2007.

Update: The chances for 'saving Social Security' took a hit when Democrats slammed the President for his nomination of Andrew Biggs to serve as Deputy Administrator of SSA. Quoting from Roll Call (subscription required):

The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare called on incoming Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to block President Bush’s nomination of Andrew Biggs to become the next deputy administrator of the Social Security Administration should he renew the nomination in January, charging that his advocacy for the privatization of the popular entitlement and hostility toward other New Deal-era programs makes him a politically polarizing figure.

Former Rep. Barbara Kennelly (D-Conn.), who now heads the liberal National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, slammed Biggs’ nomination as a partisan move.

“It's outrageous that at the same time the President promises bipartisanship, he nominates to the number two position in the Social Security Administration a privatization partisan who’s suggested sending Social Security ‘to the slaughterhouse,’” Kennelly said in a statement.

"When we want so much to work together on Social Security, it's disturbing to see a nominee with such a strong history of promoting privatization, so long after that scheme has been soundly rejected by the American people," said a Baucus aide Wednesday. "In considering this nomination, Senator Baucus' first question will have to be whether Mr. Biggs is ready to move past failed proposals and move forward with more constructive ideas."

However, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), a critic of Biggs and the White House’s privatization plans, denounced the nomination. “If this is President Bush’s way of reaching out to Democrats on a key issue, then we are in for a long two years. When the President nominates someone who wants to kill Social Security to the No. 2 position in the agency, it suggests that the administration learned nothing from the elections,” Lautenberg said.

It might be a long two years.

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