The Party Of Old Ideas

Filed in National by on February 2, 2010

You have to give it to the Republicans. They aren’t really the Party of No, they are the Party of Old Ideas. Just one year after the spectacular failure of conservative governance, the GOP is ready to recycle its worst ideas:

In the name of deficit reduction, House Republicans are going back to the Social Security well, offering budget proposals similar to those President George W. Bush proposed after his 2004 re-election that would privatize Social Security accounts and reduce cost of living adjustments.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) appeared on Hardball tonight and advocated balancing the budget by privatizing Social Security and cutting benefits for those now under 55.

Because the stock market always goes up! I don’t see what could possible go wrong. Hensarling is not the only Republican who can’t wait to raid Social Security. Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan is ready to jump on board too:

At the same time, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has been getting a lot of attention (including shout-outs of a sort from OMB Director Peter Orszag) for his proposed budget plan. But Ryan’s plan too harkens back to earlier Bush proposals, with a call for private accounts:

As these personal accounts continue to accumulate wealth, they will eventually replace the funding that comes through the government’s pay-as-you-go system. This will reduce the demand on government spending, lead to a larger overall benefit for retired workers, and restore solvency to the Social Security Program.

Ryan’s plan also suggests reducing Social Security’s cost of living adjustments, which are currently based on wage growth, by linking them to the consumer price index instead. Ryan’s privatization plan would be phased in beginning with workers 55 and under.

All people under 55 should just go screw themselves, I guess.


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Opinionated chemist, troublemaker, blogger on national and Delaware politics.

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  1. From Pine View Farm » Recycling | February 3, 2010
  1. skippertee says:

    What do you mean? Screw themselves? The republicans will gladly do it for them.

  2. Wait until you get a load of their idea for Medicare:

    Then we get to Medicare. This is where the GOP really goes to town. The program would be privatized of course, those currently under 55 would get a Medicare payment, initially averaging $11,000, to be used to purchase a Medicare certified plan.

    We’ve seen in the media that Republicans don’t like being represented as the Party of No. They have ideas, they insist. Actually I think they’re better of being not-Democrats than being Bush/Cheney Republicans.

  3. What happened to “Don’t Touch my Medicare!” Won’t the teabaggers get confused?

  4. pandora says:

    Personally, I love these ideas. I think they should run on them quite loudly.

  5. anon says:

    Raiding Social Security seems to be one of those sought-after bipartisan issues. Schumer and Hatch are floating a plan to “create a Social Security tax break for employers who hire unemployed workers.”

    That plan is being attached to the jobs bill, by the way. The jobs bill is taking form now, and the article linked above is a must-read. Favorite quote:

    Democrats say they are starting to coalesce around a hodgepodge of ideas

    Can’t we make sure the jobs are in place first before we get to the hodgepodge?

  6. anon says:

    Ryan’s plan too harkens back to earlier Bush proposals, with a call for private accounts

    And why shouldn’t they revive their plan to privatize Social Security, after getting so much encouragement from the Democratic plan to privatize health care? This is the best opportunity Republicans have had for years.

    Based on their HCR record, this Senate and this Administration is likely to be far more receptive to privatization of Social Security than the Republican Senate under Bush.

    The model of delivering public services via private companies is firmly entrenched now, with support on the left and the right, to the point where bills for direct delivery of public services can’t even be brought to the floor anymore.

    There is no reason to believe the “Just pass anything/fix it later” voices on the left, who so warmed the hearts of insurance lobbyists, will have a change of heart over Social Security privatization.

  7. cassandra m says:

    That was Just Plain Stupid on a whole lot of fronts, anon. And may indeed have reached Olympic class creation of strawmen.

  8. cassandra m says:

    I love these “ideas” too. And we should ask Mike Castle if he is in favor of privatizing Social Security and Medicare.

  9. anon says:

    That was Just Plain Stupid on a whole lot of fronts

    You mean the Democratic privatization plans? Or me pointing them out?

  10. cassandra m says:

    There are no Democratic privatization plans for Social Security or Medicare.

    And if you watched President’s Obama’s Question Time on Friday you’d also know that there is no Administration support for privatization of Social Security or Medicare. And he was quite specific about why Ryan’s plan was deficient.

    And Anthony Weiner’s Single Payer amendment did get a vote. He didn’t get enough votes for it to pass the House.

  11. a.price says:

    “What happened to “Don’t Touch my Medicare!” Won’t the teabaggers get confused?”

    UI, the teabaggers get confused every time the sun goes down… as long as Rush and Saint Sarah tell them something is a good idea, they lemming it up

  12. anon says:

    True, it seems very unlikely that Obama will flipflop and support Social Security privatization. But I also thought it was unlikely he would flipflop and support individual mandates, so what do I know.

    I didn’t get a chance to watch Question Time yet. It is always encouraging to hear Obama saying the right things rather than the wrong things. But if he sticks with the “President Lieberman Strategy” for legislation, anything he says could go out the window during the committee hearings.

    Progressives know single-payer doesn’t have the votes. That is why they offered up the public option compromise, which got within a few yards of the goal even without the help of our star offensive player.

  13. cassandra m says:

    And too bad progressives don’t know that the public option compromise included with the House Bill remained too limited to do what you want a public option to do — it would have covered very few and cost more than other options in the exchange (according to the CBO). Certainly NOT what was envisioned for the public option.

  14. donviti says:

    you aren’t a progressive Cassandra? I guess you are a centrist?

  15. cassandra m says:

    I certainly am a progressive — but one of the few following the day to day wonkery of this business myself. Too bad more aren’t. Because if they were, the howl about the Public Option should have been heard around June sometime instead of the fall when if was weakened and done.

    And back to the post topic people — which does not include the state of my “progressiveness”.

  16. anon says:

    And if you watched President’s Obama’s Question Time on Friday you’d also know that there is no Administration support for privatization of Social Security or Medicare.

    Oh – you meant the Baltimore Retreat. Yes I saw that and commented on it here.

    Obama gave what I think is the correct position on Social Security – that it can be fixed with minor corrections to taxes and benefit, just as it was in the Reagan Administration. This sort of thing is traditionally done in a bipartisan special committee, and then quietly voted into law by Congress, with both sides taking credit and congratulating each other. Who the hell knows if this Congress will cooperate. They might screw up the whole thing just to prevent a win on Obama’s watch. They might prefer to campaign against a failure to fix Social Security.

    And God forbid Dems should perceive a win on Social Security as essential to their survival, like HCR. Then they become vulnerable to Republican mischief, like a privatization amendment.

    I know the big bad insurance industry bought themselves enough Senators to block real HCR and shape the bill to their benefit.

    I mean, it’s not like that could happen with the banking industry, right?

  17. Delaware Patriot says:

    Oh boy, the Democrat cry babies are out. Those terrible Republicans won’t let Barry get his way.

    Too bad, but old Barry got tore up buy his own party. The teleprompter President got beat by hos own party, super majority and all.

    In 2010 GOP will have Biden’s old seat, Specter, Kennedy, Reid, Ben Nelson and Obama. Thanks Barry, you did what the GOP could not do. elect Republicans.

    Except Copeland, he is a loser.

  18. MJ says:

    One way to help solve the Social Security problem is to lift the cap on wages subject to OASDI. Currently, you only pay FICA on the first $106,800 of wages – anything over that is not taxed. There is no cap on Medicare taxes. So, lifting the cap means more money for the trust fund. And guess who gets hit if the cap is eliminated – Congress.

  19. MJ says:

    Delaware Patriot is a schmuck. Who is is calling a “ho?”

  20. liberalgeek says:

    Charlie is in trouble if he doesn’t even have the lunatic vote.

  21. Geezer says:

    Delaware Patriot is the blog alias of Handjobs for Protack.

  22. anon says:

    I didn’t hear anyone propose to eliminate Reagan’s abominable tax on Social Security benefits.

    Nor did I hear anyone proposing to eliminate the Scrooge-like benefits reduction for retirees who also work, kicking in at $14K.

    Both of these, plus a fiscal rescue, could be paid for by a combination of lifting the wage caps, plus real means testing to eliminate benefits for the truly wealthy.

  23. anon says:

    Protack emoticon


  24. cassandra m says:

    Has anyone actually read Ryan’s budget proposals? I looked at this thing for a little while this AM and man — while I give the man props for actually writing down a way to wipe out the deficit (and he has a CBO score that says it works) — this is the vision of what (selective) government drowned in a bathtub really looks like.

    And it starts with honest-to-god rationing of Medicare and Medicaid. From the people who thought that eliminating the subsidies for Medicare Advantage constituted the death of Medicare as we know it and worked hard to scare alot of seniors on that point. It continues by privatizing Social Security — even though the CBO says that this cost more than what leaving it alone — right after the massive wipeouts in 401(k) plans last year.

    This is really amazing. And I think that Democrats should be insisting on getting answers from every Republican in Congress and running for it if they endorse this functional elimination of Social Security and Medicare. Get some Powerpoint decks up using just the graphs and data from this proposal and the CBO score and ask seniors if this is what they want. Ask Americans if this is what they want. Ask Republicans to go on record endorsing this.

    It is a GIFT, people.

  25. nona says:

    Stamp your big feet cassandra and keep asking for more of what you’ve been getting all year — your party and your messiah destroyed. The people will gladly deliver for you.

    This bunch is just incredible. You all must exist in some alternate reality cocoon or something. You just don’t get it no matter how harshly you keep getting spanked and your leaders exposed as the lying frauds they are.

    First you say the GOP has no ideas and is all about saying ‘no’. Then when you contradict yourself a minute later to grudgingly admit to an actual detailed CBO scored plan from a GOP congressman it is only to nervously whistle past the cemetery of your political future.

    Do you really believe the public intends to punish the GOP for defying your fiscal lunacy? Drowning your fatassed government in a swimming pool (no tub could ever hold it) is exactly what they are screaming for. Oh but that’s right I forgot you must be sold on Obama’s nutbaggery that people are electing Republicans because he hasn’t gone far enough.

    You all are the best thing to happen to the GOP since Reagan.

  26. liberalgeek says:

    Nona – If the Republicans think that eliminating Medicare and Social Security, why do they not run on that? The reason is that they want to bitch and moan about the costs of the programs, but won’t call for their abolishment.

    Therefore, this is not actually a plan, it is what we like to call magical thinking (thinking is used in its broadest possible definition).

  27. cassandra m says:

    Leave it to a glibertarian to participate in the delusion and pretend everyone shares it.

    But LG does have an OUTSTANDING question. Why aren’t you people running on elimiating Social Security and Medicare rather than on the delayed manufactured outrage over the deficits you people ran up?

  28. anon says:

    This fall it will be time for some good old-fashioned scare ads reminding people that Republicans want to cut Social Security and Medicare.

  29. Lizard says:

    think scare adds will save Blanche?

    The Spectator ^ | February 2, 2010; 10:56AM | Philip Klein
    Sen. Blanche Lincoln, one of the red state Democrats who voted for the health care bill, is getting destroyed in a new poll in Arkansas, where voters disapprove of the legislation by an overhwelming 61 percent to 30 percent margin. The survey, taken by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, shows Lincoln trailing potential Republican rival John Boozman by a staggering 53 percent to 33 percent margin. Her approval rating in the state has sunk to 27 percent,

  30. cassandra_m says:

    And if you’ve been paying attention, many of us think that Blanche should go anyway. Spend the money is a possibly more productive race. Like Missouri.

  31. Good riddance to Blanche as far as I’m concerned.

  32. anon says:

    think scare adds will save Blanche?

    No, but I bet they would have saved Coakley, if she had been able to debate with this GOP budget in her hand and ask Brown if he supported the GOP cuts to Medicare and Social Security.

    I’m OK with writing off Dems who gutted HCR and screwed up our 60 vote majority. Especially in the South, which is where Republicans belong.

    Sometimes you need a little creative destruction to break a bad habit.

  33. just kiddin' says:

    Time Magazine 10 republicans just like Scott Brown….ole Mike Castle #2.

  34. Jason330 says:

    Good riddance to Ben Nelson and Tom Carper as well. Oh wait. To get rid of Tom Carper we’d need to have a Delaware GOP competent enough to elect someone statewide not named Mike Castle.

  35. anon says:

    And Harry Reid. A loss by Reid would have the most immediate positive impact. And even if it didn’t, I don’t care.

  36. Jason330 says:

    I’m 100% with you on that.

  37. a.price says:

    there is no way the Rs will take a majority…. maybe a… dare i say it, party purification is in order. rid ourselves of these DINOS.

  38. Jason330 says:

    I expect the voters in these red states will take care of that. (Why should they vote for the counterfeit when they can vote for authentic wingnuts?) And yet, it is strange to me that none of these cancerous growths in the Senate recall how well Obama did in their states with a clear, cogent Democratic message. Heck, it is strange to me that Obama does not seem to remember that.

  39. pandora says:

    Is it wrong of me to think secession isn’t such a bad idea? 😉

  40. anon says:

    Question: If Republicans were to win a majority in the Senate, how would we tell?

  41. a.price says:

    Roberts would swear in Palin as president.

  42. cassandra_m says:

    First you say the GOP has no ideas and is all about saying ‘no’. Then when you contradict yourself a minute later to grudgingly admit to an actual detailed CBO scored plan from a GOP congressman it is only to nervously whistle past the cemetery of your political future.

    And one more thing — make no mistake that Ryan’s budget is all about saying NO. No to Medicare, No to Medicaid, No to Social Security. Ryan is perhaps the only one of you who would put his money where his mouth is. Not one of you would ever put in writing a budget that wipes out seniors like this. Not one of you would have the confidence in your own convictions to actually face voters with something really hard to do, much less sell. It is easy to sit back and nurture all of those stewing resentments. Standing up and putting down on paper the thing you think is right is not exactly in the DNA of either Republicans or glibertarians or whoever you align yourself with today.

  43. anon says:

    Speaking of old ideas on budgets and taxes, here’s something: Max Baucus, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee – voted for Bush’s tax cuts for the rich in 2001. In reconciliation. Good luck getting the budget through the Senate without amending them back in.

  44. cassandra_m says:

    So did Blanche Lincoln, Dianne Feinstein, Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson.

  45. The party is searching for ideas right now. This happens to be a good one, but it is not new. I think that Steele, Rubio, Ryan, and Gingrich will help it have a much stronger platform than the ruling party. Right now both parties are stuck in the 1950’s playbook in fiscal and economic issues. We need to move into the 21st century.