Thursday, March 24, 2011

Here's some more of that leadership we've been hearing about

Via: Hot Air

Punt (v):
1. To execute a punt.
2. Informal: To cease doing something; give up.

Let's punt on this and try something else.

Of course, to cease doing something or to give up would suggest one actually attempted something in the first place.

The White House will not prominently inject itself into congressional negotiations on Social Security reform until after key legislators in both the House and Senate unveil their plans to reduce projected long-term deficits, according to administration officials.

That won't please Republican leaders on Capitol Hill, who have attacked Obama for remaining silent in this debate. And these 64 Senate Republicans and Democrats won't be too happy either. But it's part of a broader political and policy strategy the administration is employing to keep Obama's powder dry while Republicans struggle to reduce deficits without increasing revenues in any meaningful way.

The White House's reticence has been characterized by some as a symptom of a rift between Obama's economic and political advisers. Some, like Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, do in fact believe that a bipartisan deal on Social Security would result in real economic benefits, while others argue that Obama shouldn't embrace any plan that substantially cuts benefits at all.

And from later in the article, some cover:

"...In his book, The Pro-Growth Progressive, Gene Sperling, who recently replaced Larry Summers as chief economic policy adviser, wrote, "There is no historical precedent for addressing a major entitlement challenge -- whether to Social Security or Medicare -- well in advance of a crisis."

Allow us to retort (from August 2010):

Social Security's trustees this month finally released their long-delayed report on the system's finances. According to the trustees, who include President Barack Obama's secretaries of Labor and Treasury, Social Security is actually running a cash-flow deficit today, spending more money on benefits than it takes in through taxes. Most of that deficit has been caused by the recent economic downturn and, hopefully, will be only temporary.

But regardless of how the economy performs in the next few years, the trustees warn that by 2015, just five years from now, Social Security will again start to run deficits – and this time they will be permanent. That's a year sooner than predicted in last year's report.

The report goes on to say that the Social Security trust fund will be completely exhausted by 2037 and the amount the system has promised beyond what it can actually pay currently totals $18.7 trillion.

Nope. Doesn't sound much like we are approaching a crisis. Not at all.

But if you think we're being overly harsh or a bit too critical let's check in to hear what real leadership sounds like with respect to Social Security reform.




Hedge, dodge and spin it is, then.

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