February 3, 2005


Democrats Give a 'No' to Privatization: The Senate minority leader says Democrats won't back Bush's Social Security plan. Others fault the president's handling of Iraq. (Richard Simon and Maura Reynolds, February 3, 2005, LA Times)

If President Bush was hoping that his State of the Union address would win Democratic support for his second-term agenda — including his plan for overhauling Social Security — he appeared to have made little progress.

Congressional Democrats cried "No!" each time Bush said that the Social Security system was bankrupt. They sat stonily when he suggested allowing younger workers to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes in private accounts.

And after the speech was over, they attacked him for failing to offer a "clear plan" for ending the U.S. military presence in Iraq.

"I believe we need to begin to talk about an exit strategy, and I didn't hear that tonight," said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas.

Democrats have shown in recent weeks that they don't intend to back down on challenging Bush — and might even take a more aggressive posture toward him — despite the party's losses in last fall's elections.

You'd think the Democrats would by now have figured out that when George Bush and Karl Rove push ideas that will make the GOP a permanent majority they've done enough spadework to know which side of the issue the public is on.

Making the ownership society a reality (Townhall.com Editors, February 3, 2005)

President Bush's State of the Union address provided an opportunity for him to once again advance his vision of an ownership society. He didn't let that opportunity go to waste.

The signature piece of Bush's ownership society? Social Security reform.

In the context of reforming Social Security, Bush advocated the creation of personal retirement accounts, which would give younger workers some ownership over the money they put into Social Security. In short, this means that the government would allow people to do what they usually do to save for retirement -- stick the money some place where it can actually earn interest.

The accounts would be voluntary and would give those taxpayers who choose to take advantage of them more control over their retirement funds. They would also enable those contributing to build a nest egg for their retirement and would offer higher returns than what the current system promises (but, incidentally, won't be able to deliver).

In the age of 401(k)s, there's only one question: Why aren't we doing this already?

Those opposing personal accounts have found themselves in the unenviable position of trying to disparage investment in a society where the number of investors (including public employees and union members) is growing daily.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 3, 2005 7:48 AM

The Democrats are withering by the day - Pelosi's lips needed more botox and Reid looked like a dyspeptic undertaker.

Reminds me of when Robert Byrd was kept off TV (24 years ago!) because he presented such a stark contrast to Ronald Reagan.

However, I doubt if the 401(k) investments of public service union members will influence the union leadership one iota. If anything, these unions are more reflexively anti-GOP than any of the industrial or trade unions.

Posted by: jim hamlen at February 3, 2005 10:06 AM

SS reform is the third rail, all right, and Bush just threw the Democratic party onto it. Do they have any idea what percentage of under-40s think they're going to see their SS payments back? Opposing the private accounts is going to kill them.

I've seen in more than one place comments like those an acquaintance of mine wrote the other day - "There's a reason I refer to Social Security as 'That money the government steals from me.'"

Posted by: Mike Earl at February 3, 2005 12:30 PM


George W. Bush does not know that the majority of Americans disapprove of his "guest worker" plan.

Posted by: Vince at February 3, 2005 1:36 PM

It's anecdotal at best, but I know personally at least a dozen NON-REPUBLICAN folks -- friends, colleagues and family -- who love the PSA idea. Most of them voted for Kerry, think the war is a sham and can't even stand to hear GWB's voice or see him on TV. But fiscally, they want what he's talking about.

Posted by: John Resnick at February 3, 2005 2:24 PM

Worse yet for the Dems, failing to reform SS will mean drastic cuts in the Fed budget once the system begins to fail. Remember, today we have a surplus, but soon that will evaporate and we will be paying out of general fund for SS payments. What are these knobs thinking?


Posted by: maddog at February 3, 2005 4:02 PM


They don't.

Posted by: oj at February 3, 2005 5:22 PM