Here it comes again. The new Senate Budget Committee Chairman, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, is pressing to form a bi-partisan panel to address Social Security. Joining him is Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), whom Conrad succeeded. Conrad’s plan surfaced in the Washington Post on January 12.
It is reasonable to conclude they assume the program paying one American in six needs to be fixed. The two men plan to make their case to members of the House, Senate and Bush White House.
Conrad and Gregg’s goal is to create a panel to address the costs of Social Security and other programs such as Medicare, according to the Post. Later, the panel would work to have Congress vote on a reform bill.
Conrad is no loose cannon in the new Democratic deck. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, is clearly aware of what Conrad is up to, even though Nancy Pelosi,, the House majority leader, vowed to “preserve” Social Security about a month ago.
As is well known, Social Security is financially sound — for the next 33 years if you believe Social Security trustees, amd for 40 years if you lisdten to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. No fixes required, thank you very much.
Recall the Democratic majority in both houses of Congress has garnered much publicity by pledging to increase the federal minimum wage and decrease interest rates for college-student loans. Apparently, the party’s economic policy also includes handing Social Security over to the mutual funds industry, long the goal of Wall Street.
Conrad and Gregg have learned from the failure of President Bush’s plan to “reform” Social Security, which crashed in flames in the last session of Congress, when Democrats made political hay with his plan. Thus we see a stealth Social Security campaign emerging, cloaked in “bipartisan-ship”.
As the Post reported, “Conrad declined to provide many details of the panel, saying too much information” could render it stillborn. God forbid he informs the American people!
Of course proponents of Social Security reform do not lack funds, with Conrad a case in point. He has raised $2,273,947 from the finance/insurance/real estate sector, or 21 percent of his total campaign contributions of $10,786,295 since 1989, says the Center for Responsive Politics.
FIRE donors have deep pockets to fund bi-partisanship for Washington’s backdoor politics against the public interest. Main Street has different numbers, also known as many concerned people.
Together, they have the potential to shape the course of future events to meet human needs over Wall Street’s greed. The class struggle continues.
SETH SANDRONSKY is a member of Sacramento Area Peace Action and a co-editor of Because People Matter, Sacramento’s progressive paper www.bpmnews.org/. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.