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They've stopped thinking about tomorrow

By Frank Salvato
web posted February 14, 2005

If you ever needed proof that the Democrats were playing obstructionist partisan politics you need look no further then their leadership, both past and present. While Senator Harry Reid and Representative Nancy Pelosi extol the evils of personalizing Social Security some troubling words have been found in the history books and the news files that should paint their faces a pristine shade of crimson, and it's not because they just got back from Alabama.

Recently, Reid, the Senate Minority Leader, made a statement that rang ominously through the halls of Capitol Hill. When asked about the president's suggestion that those in the American workforce under the age of 55 be allowed to invest a percentage of their Social Security payroll deduction in personalized retirement savings accounts -- it is our money after all -- Reid, steely eyed and resolute said that the president should forget about it. He stated firmly and with conviction, "It isn't going to happen."

That's a very different tune from the one he was singing in 1999.

During an interview on Fox News Sunday in February of that year, Reid said, "Most of us have no problem with taking a small amount of the Social Security proceeds and putting it into the private sector."

So, has the financial landscape changed so dramatically between 1999 and 2005 that what was then a grand idea is now the most irresponsible idea ever floated by a sitting president? Hardly. It is more likely that the Democratic strategy for the 2006 mid-term elections is to keep those infected with the "hate-Bush" mentality -- a symptom of which is an affinity for not researching the facts further than Dan Rather's crack production staff -- stoked to a fevered pitch. When dealing with such a fickle group it is easy to present half-truths, weighted facts and with the prowess of a deranged dominatrix, playing on constituents' emotions with flat-out obstructionism.

Nancy Pelosi was reminiscent of Muhammad Ali recently with her bobbing and weaving when asked about specific Democratic alternatives to the president's suggestions. On ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Pelosi again whined about a moot point pretending that it was a real issue. This time it was about having a "seat at the negotiating table." Of course, this just shows that her comments are carefully scripted. In his State of the Union speech, President Bush said of his efforts to reform Social Security, "I will work with members of Congress to find the most effective combination of reforms. I will listen to anyone who has a good idea to offer." How Pelosi equates that to not having "a seat at the negotiating table" is beyond the rational mind. Frankly, it lends to the suspicion that the Democrats won't sit "at the negotiating table" under any circumstances.

A recent report in The Hill suggested that Congressional Democrats have decided against introducing any alternatives at all to the president's Social Security plan, opting instead to continue on their obstructionist course. One senior Democratic aide is quoted as saying, "Coming out with details of what we would do is irrelevant. Why take the criticism without the result?" Because it's your job! Ray Charles, God rest his soul, could see that Democratic obstructionist politics, championed by Pelosi and Reid, are trumping the good of the people.

The simple fact of the matter is that Democrats don't want to see our government move forward. They are happy with the status quo. It pleases them that we have become a dependent country, feeding out of the trough of entitlement. A dependent voter must rely on the government for their own wellbeing thus making the right candidate for the job the one who creates the most social programs. The key word here is "social" as in socialist. A nation dependent on its government for its wellbeing is tantamount to a socialist nation and that, alarmingly, seems to be the goal of the Democratic Party. The last thing today's Democratic leaders want is a self-sufficient, informed voter base, because such a base would value self-reliance, civic responsibility and a decreased need for government entitlement programs. Barring pork barrel spending, entitlement programs are how Democrats justify their existence.

Franklin Roosevelt's vision of Social Security differed greatly from what Congress enacted in 1935 and what Democrats want to maintain today. Roosevelt's plan called for three provisions: 1) a system of old age pensions, 2) a system of mandatory old age annuities (what we now know as Social Security) and 3) a system of voluntary old age annuities (what President Bush is proposing as personal savings accounts). Of the third step Roosevelt said, "It is proposed that the Federal Government assume one-half of the cost of the old-age pension plan, which ought ultimately to be supplanted by self-supporting annuity plans (emphasis added)." Roosevelt's original one-half the cost is quite a bit more extensive than the 4 percent personalization that President Bush is proposing.

After President Bush's State of the Union Address, Pelosi, Reid and the "Entitlement Democrats" stood at the FDR at his memorial, behind his statue and tried to sell the American people the product of misinformation; partisan propaganda. They said President Bush and the Republicans were doing great injury to FDR's program. In reality, when familiarized with the facts, it is the Democrats who are trying to destroy the whole of a program originally crafted to establish self-sufficient Americans and eliminate reliance on government. The cross the obstructionist Democrats have to bear is that they do so purely for political gain. The question is, do they care?

Frank Salvato is a political media consultant and managing editor for TheRant.us. His pieces are regularly featured in Townhall.com. He has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor and numerous radio shows. His pieces have been recognized by the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention and are periodically featured in The Washington Times as well as other national and international publications. He can be contacted at oped@therant.us Copyright © 2005 Frank Salvato

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