Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Bass on Social Security, Review with Hodes Counterpoint

Back in August, I posted on Charles Bass' record with regard to Social Security. Short version: He's a long-time advocate of privatization. And that is still a relevant issue, with President Bush once again affirming his intention to phase out Social Security. If Charlie Bass is in Congress in the new year, he will be another vote in support of Bush and against Social Security.

Charlie Bass is, after all, someone who has signed onto letters urging privatization, someone who has voted to use Social Security money for other purposes, including tax cuts for the wealthy, someone who has sworn to work with and for George W. Bush in "reforming" (which is to say, privatizing) Social Security. This is not someone who believes in the idea of a safety net for America's elderly. Then again, this is not someone who needs a safety net: He's a multimillionaire, and apparently not one of the ones who is enough in touch with ordinary, working people to understand - or care - about the necessity of having income that doesn't evaporate if the stock market drops.

In addition to my post on Bass and social security, look at Yankee Doodler's follow-up.

Meanwhile, Paul Hodes today swore never to support privatization.

“Our seniors deserve better treatment than cuts to their guaranteed benefits and huge gaps in drug coverage,” Hodes said. “I will never support privatizing Social Security, and when I get to Congress I’ll make fixing Medicare Part D a top priority. It’s unbelievable that our Congress, and our Congressman, agreed to a bill that gives the drug companies everything they want while seniors get only partial coverage and financial headaches. It’s time we had a Congressman who will stand up to the drug lobby and put our seniors first.”


Blogger yankeedoodler said...

Bass speaks(sort of), through his (new?) spokesman Bob Stevenson:

Bass's support for privatization is limited to voluntary private accounts, Stevenson said.

Ummm... isn't that what you would call privatization? Taking away the social compact of SS, and telling you you can play in the stock market if you want, but you're basically on your own?

It's amazing how he can spin an indypendent theme out of anything, regardless of how lockstep with Bush he is.

Out of touch millionaires like Bass and Bush should not be allowed to play with the fiscal security of our nation's eledery. Lord knows they've already done a bang-up job with the fiscal health of our children with their bottomless debt.

11:06 PM  
Blogger blogtruth said...

For the blogtruth record, I just did a quick Netscape search and found quotes from Congressman Bass in support of voluntary private accounts going back to as early as 1998.

Since this is way before President Bush even was mentioned as running, let's stop calling this "lockstep with Bush".

If you want to debate the benefits / risks of allowing working Americans to own a piece of their retirement security, then please do so. If you want to disagree with Bass’ position, then that is fair, but this is too important an issue to demagogue - please.

It is important for the seniors who will need the security for many years after they stop working and it is important for the nation as it faces a massive funding shortfall as the demographics catch up with the promises made. Using fear and false scare tactics aimed at the most vulnerable is pathetic.

1:23 AM  
Blogger MissLaura said...

I'm not arguing that Bush originated Bass' support of private accounts. I'm arguing that a president and majority leadership that push privatization makes it more likely to actually happen. That is, in other circumstances, Bass' support of privatization is something I disagree with but that holds no danger of actually happening. In the current context, there is danger, and that's what makes it noteworthy.

Nowhere did I accuse Bass of being in lockstep with Bush on this issue, so in introducing that accusation, you are actually the one attempting to demagogue the issue.

1:28 AM  
Blogger blogtruth said...


Thanks for the responce. I am confused though, since you wrote "It's amazing how he can spin an indypendent theme out of anything, regardless of how lockstep with Bush he is." (emphasis added)

You are clearly talking about his view on Social Security in this quote and his support for at least considering voluntary private accounts as a way to prevent the benefit cut that will happen otherwise.

I don't know how to read you comment as anything but an attempt to run against George Bush and not Charlie Bass.

I think the issue is important enough to be noteworthy on its own. No matter what the President or anyone else thinks, putting our heads in the sand is not an answer.

1:44 AM  
Blogger MissLaura said...

Um, blogtruth, the lockstep reference was in an anonymous comment, not my post. If you're going to try to assess blogs, you're going to need to learn how to determine who said what. In this case, the part that appears when you look at blue-granite.blogspot.com is mine; when you click on "comments" and it says "anonymous" followed by text or "blogtruth" followed by text, that was written by someone other than me.

1:47 AM  
Blogger blogtruth said...

Meanwhile, Paul Hodes takes the same scare-them-all approach with "Our seniors deserve better treatment than cuts to their guaranteed benefits." He says nothing about the coming crisis and only dishes up pabulum he thinks we want to hear.

Unless he admits that he will need to raise FICA taxes by at least 1/3rd, then he is being dishonest with America’s seniors. The actuaries at the Social Security Administration have already stated that benefits will need to be cut by 1/3rd before many of today’s workers collect the first dime they have paid in to the trust fund in order to keep it solvent.

Private accounts are the only option other than taxing working American’s more or cutting benefits from what they would otherwise be. Private account would give working Americans the chance to have a smal portion of their portion of the trust fund grow faster than it would grow when compounded by the lowest possible government “interest” rate.

Is there some risk that the growth would not be higher? Honestly, yes there is. But it is certain that the 1/3rd benefit cut is coming unless we do something.

1:57 AM  
Blogger blogtruth said...


You are right, I am sorry. Poster “yankeedoodler” made the lock step comment, not you. I had the comments expanded from the start and read the first one as part of your original blog.

Please accept my sincere apology. That’s the blogtruth.

2:01 AM  
Blogger yankeedoodler said...

I'm no expert on "blog" "truth", but I do work for a living. Here's how I understand it:

The opposite of the words "social security" is "private risk".

We have a name for voluntary private accounts. It's called the stock market.

And finally, the last person I want to represent my views on Social Security is a multimillionaire like Charlie Bass who will never need that security.

Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse.

6:42 AM  
Blogger blogtruth said...

I assume that all people of great means, a.k.a. the "multimillionaire" class warfare label applied by both MissLaura and Yankeedoodler, should be kept away from making any changes to S.S. laws right?

Since the top 4 out of 5 wealthiest in Congress are Democrats (Kerry, Kohl, Rockefeller, and Harmon), shouldn't we keep those mega-multimillionaires out of the debate first?

Stop the class warfare. Tell the truth.

9:16 PM  
Blogger MissLaura said...

There is a fundamental distinction between people of great means who act with a concern for others and those who do not. Acts of concern and recognition of the fundamental human right to age with dignity and security are never to be condemned; acts in opposition to those precepts are wrong, and more so when done by people who know that they will never face financial insecurity.

On a side note, I am so fascinated by the fact that nobody commenting here in support of Bass ever does so from New Hampshire. It's always Washington, DC. I mean, come on - are there no astroturf commenters available inside the state?

10:40 PM  

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