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Fox shilling Bush's Social Security Problem Tour

Reported by Chrish - March 11, 2005

There were back to back segments on the SSPT on Brit Hume's Special Report today 3/20, including duplicate clips of Bush's soundbite du jour followed by a commercial from the partisan 527 PFAVoterFund promoting Bush's "rescue" of Social Security.
It is plain that what is being sold is not a solution but a problem. Believe there's a problem, and go to the man with the solution - remember "tax relief"?
How many times will "folks" fall for the same tricks? We're being "framed" again!

The first segment was reported by Jim Angle in KY and AL with the tour. Hume introduced it with "Bush took his case to KY and AL and urged older Americans not to run away from a problem headed straight down the line towards their children and grandchildren."

Bush told his (cheering handpicked Republican very white) audience "More people living longer getting paid more money and fewer people paying for it - that math says we have a problem." Angle says he's on the road to make sure people understand that SS is headed for trouble. Then Bush said

"If Congress doesn't think there's a problem, (pause) nothing's gonna happen. But when Congress realizes people all over the country say we got a problem, I pity the politician who stands in the way of the solution."

Comment: OMG. The PotUS just basically told his followers what they have to do...insist there's a problem and vote out anyone who doesn't go along with the "solution", i.e. diverting SS dollars into Wall Street private accounts. I believe thinking Republicans will stick with Democrats on this one and not hasten the insolvency .

Angle says "Even as he's trying to turn up the heat on Democrats, they're waging a pitched battle against him and have dented support for personal accounts in part by convincing seniors they might get hurt even though they can't participate. (What is he talking about? That's just not true.) Bush is trying to undo that damage by talking to people like" *****, age 66, who says call him a Pollyanna, but he has no fears for himself but he does have fear for his grandchildren.

Bush says "the truth is, nothing changes" for seniors, and more and more people are understanding this but then "more and more grandfathers are asking the president 'how about my granddaughter?'" (Comment: there's that disturbing third person thing again. He divorces himself from his job when it is something he is not comfortable, as a folksy good guy, doing.)

Democrats are shown arguing that the end aim is to dismantle Social Security (Rangel, Pelosi, and Hoyer) and Angle says those arguments are one of the reasons Bush goes out of his way (?) to praise FDR: "...we want to take the same notion of SS and make it work better."

Angle says Bush says 'personal' accounts won't hurt SS but will complement it, and a person (of unspecified age) making $35,000 putting 4% in a 'personal' account (earning an unspecified rate) could have $250,000 at (unspecified) retirement time. Stops today and tomorrow are aimed not at Democrats but at Republican districts, showing that he will "encourage and defend those who join him on this issue."

Comment: Raw politics and power plays, no shame.

Oops, not quite back to back segments. There was 20 seconds on Bill Clinton's surgery and then "Next on Special Report: Is Bush wresting the issue of SS reform away from Democrats, who once thought they owned it?"

This segment began with the exact same piece from before:

"...when Congress realizes people all over the country say we got a problem, I pity the politician who stands in the way of the solution."

Hume: That was the president on the stump today...fighting for his embattled SS reform proposal...Democrats won't even talk until private accounts off the table...
Former Congressman Martin Frost (D-TX) joined Brit.

Brit asks: Let's say Democrats succeed in blocking the president's on private accounts, and he won't go along with what Republicans see as a tax increase, neither side will go along with any benefits cuts, and nothing happens; what then? Who wins? Politically.

Frost replies that it is a long-term funding problem, not a crisis as the president has said (Brit: "I think he has abandoned that language." Yea, when it didn't "sell".) Frost goes on to suggest that what should really be looked at is retirement age, especially early retirement age and to raise the "cap". Bush has to find "credible" people on both sides who will "jump off the cliff together."

Brit says that for the time being that doesn't seem likely, both sides are dug in, and asks again that if nothing happens on SS this session, who wins politically? Frost doesn't know. Maybe in 6 months the leadership in Congress can go the president and ask him to form a bipartisan commission... Brit interjects that that would put us into next year. Frost replies that there is still plenty of time and while it would be better to have resolution in Bush's 5th-6th years, it is not imperative. Frost is taking the view that the debate really is about shoring up the solvency of SS and not about politics, and he believes it can and should be done in a bipartisan way.

Comment: Brit is much more concerned with the "winning" of this "battle" and it has to be quick, before it interferes with the 2006 elections. It will either be a "win" for Republicans or a tragedy to be blamed on the obstructionist Democrats. If it is the former Bushco will go all out to "defend" the above-mentioned Republicans he's currently "visiting"; if the latter, all the more need to get rid of more Democrats who "have their heads buried in the sand."

Hume went on to ask if private accounts could be a part of the bipartisan plan. Frost quickly answered only as an add-on, because they will only divert funds from the SS pool and not address the real problem of solvency. He acknowledges that private accounts have two virtues for people who advocate for them: they are inheritable, up to a point, if you should die before retirement, and you are betting against the system. Brit says isn't it pretty certain that over a lengthy period of time, unless you don't believe in the U.S. economy (heretic!), it is a pretty certain thing that your returns would be better than the relatively meager returns from the current system. Frost says maybe, there's no guarantee. the key is, they don't solve the solvency problem, not one dollar, there is an estimated 2 trillion dollar transition cost ($2,000,000,000,000.00) and as much as a 40% reduction in future benefits.

Suppose, Brit says, as President Clinton suggested, let's let the Social Security trustees invest in a range of carefully selected conservative mutual funds, would that work? Frost says it is something that could be looked into. Hume says so the problem is individuals doing it as opposed to the government doing it? Frost says the problem is diverting funds; if you do that it will cost 2 trillion and doesn't do anything to make SS solvent over the long haul.

Comment: The realization hit home that Bush and Fox are not selling a plan to save SS or a solution to the future financing challenge. What they're selling is the "problem" itself, recently downgraded from a "crisis" when they couldn't sell it. If they can sell the problem and the Dems have no solution (because they don't agree there is the same problem) then Bush looks like the hero. The Dems will have to go along with the scheme because they'll be getting into re-election time (hence the hurry-up) and don't want to appear obstructionist or stubborn or like they don't get it.

In the next block of commercials was the "iceberg" commercial: "Some people say (LOL!) SS is not in trouble, like some thought the Titanic was unsinkable.
...Soon SS will be in the red.
Bush wants to rescue SS now, before we hit the iceberg.
(Insert Bush spiel here.)
Picture of Bush "But we have to move ahead with courage and honesty because our children's future security is more important than partisan politics.
We don't have to hit the iceberg. Urge Congress to help Bush save SS now.

Comment: They weren't kidding when they said there was going to be a major campaign, and it sure is swell of the people at Fox to add their support to the cause, even if it will dismantle the most important safety net we have. How many Fox viewers will have to cancel their cable when their SS benefits disappear?

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