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Social Security Reform Thursday: Week Forty-Four -- The Jerk Store Called.


Thursdays are good days for reform, because they fall between Wednesdays and Fridays. And reform is a long-haul process, not a fleeting event. So we're going to keep plugging along with the case for reform, even as the issue goes off the political radar screen.

That's why WILLisms.com offers a chart or graph, every Thursday, pertinent to Social Security reform.

This week's topic:

The Jerk Store Called.

Hiatus over.

The jerk store called. They're running out of Democrats.

Sure, there's plenty of reason to be angry at certain do-nothing Congressional Republicans, but it's the Democrats who proved once again how utterly worthless they are. Maybe worse than worthless, even.

Flash back, if you will, all the way to the 2006 State of the Union address (emphasis mine):

President Bush:

I am pleased that members of Congress are working on earmark reform, because the federal budget has too many special interest projects. (Applause.) And we can tackle this problem together, if you pass the line-item veto. (Applause.)

We must also confront the larger challenge of mandatory spending, or entitlements. This year, the first of about 78 million baby boomers turn 60, including two of my Dad's favorite people -- me and President Clinton. (Laughter.) This milestone is more than a personal crisis -- (laughter) -- it is a national challenge. The retirement of the baby boom generation will put unprecedented strains on the federal government. By 2030, spending for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid alone will be almost 60 percent of the entire federal budget. And that will present future Congresses with impossible choices -- staggering tax increases, immense deficits, or deep cuts in every category of spending.

Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security -- (applause) -- yet the rising cost of entitlements is a problem that is not going away. (Applause.) And every year we fail to act, the situation gets worse.

So tonight, I ask you to join me in creating a commission to examine the full impact of baby boom retirements on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This commission should include members of Congress of both parties, and offer bipartisan solutions. We need to put aside partisan politics and work together and get this problem solved. (Applause.)

That purply applause, those were the sophomoric cheers of Congressional Democrats.

Sort of a "Yay. We killed Social Security reform!" kind of deal.

They really showed their true colors with that one. And I have rarely been so incensed watching a State of the Union address.

John Tabin of The American Spectator (via Viking Pundit) put it rather succinctly, and colorfully:

On paper, this is a retreat: a tepid non-policy has replaced the ambitious ideas laid out at last year's address. But the Democrats clapped and hooted as soon as Bush said "Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security," giving Bush an opening to turn his bromide into a scathing attack: When he said "partisan politics," he had a visual aid to point to.

Suddenly it was as if Bush said "we mustn't act like clowns," and the entire Democratic caucus had shown up in multicolor wigs and greasepaint.

This is not a moment we conservatives should quickly forget. For those of you who complain about the parties looking too much alike ("Republicrats"), get over yourselves. Democrats-- these Democrats-- make it nearly impossible to claim there are no differences between the parties.

Indeed, Tony Blankley (also via Viking Pundit) notes that the cheering we saw just days ago was a defining moment in the Democrats' downward death spiral:

The Democrats' wild applause on behalf of doing nothing was more than a merely tactical political blunder. It displayed a deeper truth about them.


Their collective decision to cheer the failure of the body politic to provide for sufficient revenues to pay the benefits was an act of historic shame for the Democratic Party.

Worse than that for the Democrats, it shows how severely degraded their political instincts have become. Tip O'Neil's Democratic Party of 20 years ago would never have cheered the failure of Social Security -- even to try to make a small political point. To be sure, they would demagogue the issue ruthlessly, but never be seen to be walking away from the sacred program.

Until George Bush became president, the Democrats, for better and for worse, were a liberal party. Deformed by hatred of the current president, the Democrats have become a nihilist party.

They just aren't good at politics, Democrats-- THESE Democrats. Their leaders, their followers. Everyone, from the top down. Unfortunately, Democratic intransigence has consequences beyond internal party schisms and the failure to nominate/elect reasonable, likeable, effective leaders.

Those cheers are the achetypal example of juvenile partisanship at work. It's the sort of nonsense that produces (or doesn't produce) policy results that harm the rest of us reasonable folk.

If we had a responsible media in this country, the wild applause from Democrats on railroading Social Security reform would have been the singular headlining (domestic) moment from the speech. A responsible media would have spent 15 minutes of an hour-long post-game analysis session pointing out, again, why Social Security needs reform, and why this moment is a perfect example of wicked, destructive partisanship on the part of Democrats.

With a responsible media, President Bush could have ad-libbed something along the lines of, "congratulations, Democrats, you've just starred in some future Republican candidate's campaign commercial." And the media would have gotten it. They would have explained to the political novices, briefly, why that particular behavior is worthy of a GOP campaign ad (by the way, I hope this happens).

[UPDATE: Others had the same idea on the campaign ad, and here's the video.]

So, let's do the job the establishment media should have done.

First, a quick refresher on the approaching Social Security storm (from the CBO):


At best, it's a bad situation. At worst, it's a BAD situation. Sure, it could end up just bad. But for that to happen, we'd need all of the following: stronger-than-anticipated economic growth (could happen), a responsible Congress that keeps Social Security benefit increases under control (not likely), stronger-than-anticipated youth population growth (maybe, with immigration), and slower-than-anticipated life expectancy increases for the old folks (fortunately, not gonna happen).

In other words, we're not likely to just have a bad situation. We're going to have a BAD situation.

These are the consequences of no reform. This is what Democrats were hooting and hollering about the other day on live national television in the Capitol.

Social Security reform is not dead. It's momentarily dormant. But the grassroots are growing and charging and ready to burst. Fundamentally, the case for reform is as strong as it has ever been, and it isn't going to go away as easily as these dim-witted, divisive Democrats hope.

It's time for reform.

The clock is ticking:


Previous Reform Thursday graphics can be seen here:

-Week One (Costs Exceed Revenues).
-Week Two (Social Security Can't Pay Promised Benefits).
-Week Three (Americans Getting Older).
-Week Three, bonus (The Templeton Curve).
-Week Four (Fewer Workers, More Retirees).
-Week Five (History of Payroll Tax Base Increases).
-Week Six (Seniors Living Longer).
-Week Six, bonus (Less Workers, More Beneficiaries).
-Week Seven (History of Payroll Tax Increases).
-Week Seven, bonus (Personal Accounts Do Achieve Solvency).
-Week Eight (Forty Year Trend Of Increasing Mandatory Spending).
-Week Nine (Diminishing Benefits Sans Reform).
-Week Ten (Elderly Dependence On Social Security).
-Week Eleven (Entitlement Spending Eating The Budget).
-Week Twelve (Benefit Comparison, Bush's Plan versus No Plan).
-Week Thirteen (Younger Americans and Lifecycle Funds).
-Week Fourteen (The Thrift Savings Plan).
-Week Fifteen (Understanding Progressive Indexing).
-Week Sixteen (The Graying of America).
-Week Seventeen (Debunking Myths).
-Week Eighteen (Debunking Myths).
-Week Nineteen (Reform Needed Sooner Rather Than Later).
-Week Twenty (Global Success With Personal Accounts).
-Week Twenty-One (GROW Accounts: Stopping The Raid).
-Week Twenty-Two (Millions of Lockboxes).
-Week Twenty-Three (Support for Ryan-DeMint).
-Week Twenty-Four (KidSave Accounts).
-Week Twenty-Five (Latinos and Social Security).
-Week Twenty-Six (AmeriSave).
-Week Twenty-Seven (Cost Of Doing Nothing).
-Week Twenty-Eight (Chile).
-Week Twenty-Nine (Entitlement Spending Out Of Control).
-Week Thirty (Reform Better Deal Than Status Quo).
-Week Thirty-One (Social Security As A Labor Cost).
-Week Thirty-Two (Social Security And Dependence On Government).
-Week Thirty-Three (Social Security, Currently A Bad Deal For African-Americans).
-Week Thirty-Four (Longer Life Expectancies Straining Social Security).
-Week Thirty-Five (Howard Dean & Salami).
-Week Thirty-Six (Growing Numbers of Beneficiaries Draining Social Security).
-Week Thirty-Seven (The Crisis Is Now).
-Week Thirty-Eight (Disability Benefits).
-Week Thirty-Nine (Broken Benefit Calculation Formula).
-Week Forty (German Social Security Disaster).
-Week Forty-One (Crumbling Pyramid Scheme).
-Week Forty-Two (Overpromising, Globally).
-Week Forty-Three (Demographic Wave).

Tune into WILLisms.com each Thursday for more important graphical data supporting Social Security reform.

Posted by Will Franklin · 2 February 2006 07:25 PM


You are exactly right! Instead of focusing on Social Security refom and all the other IMPORTANT issues!
Cindy Sheehan disrupted our countrys business. Woolsey should be ASHAMED of herself for inviting Cindy Sheehan to create this fiasco! The media focused in on that pathetic old Hag and the business of our country is swept out of the picture!... The dems. will go to any lengths to avoid SS reform! BUT... this time has really gone too far! I imagine Woolsey is being applauded by the Democrats and hailed as a sainted Queen!...

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at February 3, 2006 10:20 AM