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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Memo to Dems state and national: Pay attention, dammit!

Posted by: Hammer / 10:44 AM

I thought I would read the Huffington Post more, but it's too crowded to find stuff I like. Still, Al Franken tells a good story:
Last Friday I was on the panel of Bill Maher’s season finale of his HBO show Real Time. Bill’s guest by satellite was Senator Norm Coleman from my home state of Minnesota. Because Coleman serves on the homeland security committee, Maher asked him to comment on former homeland security director Tom Ridge’s recent revelation that the Bush administration would often issue terror alerts that he didn’t think were warranted. Could it be that they were using terror alerts politically?

Coleman answered that it was always good to err on the side of caution. Maher followed by asking Coleman if it struck him as odd that there haven’t been any terror alerts since the election?

After a long laugh from the audience, Coleman answered with some stuff about there still being a high level alert, but then reassured everybody with: "If in fact people used these things for political purposes, I’m sure Congress will look into that." ...

Meanwhile, the Coalition Provisional Authority, which we ran, has lost 8.8 billion dollars. By lost, I mean it’s totally unaccounted for. Not only has Congress not "looked into" this $8.8 billion and who might have it now, but it seems that some members are completely unaware that this staggering sum, which was supposed to go toward rebuilding Iraq, is missing. The Sunday morning after the White House Correspondents dinner, I ran into Senator George Allen ... Allen had never heard of the missing $8.8 billion, or at least that's what he told me. And he's on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

It's a simple, huge story that every Senator should know. At best, the administration's cavalier mismanagement of Iraqi reconstruction left $8.8 billion missing. At worst, fraud within the Coalition Provisional Authority resulted in the theft of $8.8 billion from American taxpayers, slowed reconstruction efforts, and increased anti-American sentiment on the streets of Iraq. Frankly, I don't care that much whether the CPA was incompetent, criminal, or criminally incompetent. The buck stops at the White House. Rather, it would, if national Democratic leaders paid attention. (Update: To clarify, Allen is a Republican Senator from Virginia. Democrats have failed at the national level to shine light on this important issue, which allows Allen to deny ever hearing about the $8.8 billion the CPA lost.)

Here in Minnesota, I just received a solicitation from the DFL. They want help opposing Bush's privatization plan which the DFL says will cost $2 trillion. If I send the DFL $50, will someone there promise to read the New York Times? How about just Paul Krugman:

Advocates of privatization almost always pretend that all we have to do is borrow a bit of money up front, and then the system will become self-sustaining. The Wehner memo talks of borrowing $1 trillion to $2 trillion "to cover transition costs." Similar numbers have been widely reported in the news media.

But that's just the borrowing over the next decade. Privatization would cost an additional $3 trillion in its second decade, $5 trillion in the decade after that and another $5 trillion in the decade after that. By the time privatization started to save money, if it ever did, the federal government would have run up around $15 trillion in extra debt.

These numbers are based on a Congressional Budget Office analysis of Plan 2, which was devised by a special presidential commission in 2001 and is widely expected to be the basis for President Bush's plan.

Idiots like Smilin' Norm Coleman are pimping numbers based on an actuarially meaningless infinite timeline, but the DFL refuses to look at costs beyond the next 10 years? Even Bush has said the transition will cost "upwards of $2 trillion".

I'm not asking the DFL to engage in hysterics, scare tactics, or Coleman-esque fraud. Rather, the DFL should make the best argument possible against privatizing Social Security. The best argument includes using accurate numbers that reveal privatization's true cost. Don't ask me for money until you're ready to press your case with vigor.

3 Comments:

As Jambo can tell you, I am the real Republican, i.e., one who grew up watching and agreeing with people like Ike, Nelson Rockefeller, Bill Scranton etc. People who believed in fiscal responsibility, an informed, active, and engaged foreign policy, restraint in government, privacy, etc; a lot like Clinton democrats. Anyway, you are right to take your case to the Democrats. Frankly I am amazed at the relative silence coming from your side of the aisle in Congress. I watched MP Galloway take Norm apart (It was on CSpan). It was certainly refreshing to see an elected official detail the lies and misrepresentations foisted on the country by Herr Bush and crew. Too bad it had to be an elected official from the UK, and not someone already in Congress.

By Anonymous The Real Republican, at 11:11 AM  

Hey R.R., I wondered if you would show up here sometime! Maybe I won't call you RR tho, it reminds me too much of Ronald Reagan who I fear you may have voted for. I think I'll go with T.R.R. instead which reminds me of Teddy Roosevelt, who your sister may have voted for.

One of the best comments I heard on the Galloway testimony was that Coleman got what he deserved for picking on a guy from a country that considers hammer throwing a national sport.

By Blogger Jambo, at 12:16 AM  

I like the TRR also. And, I voted for Fritz. By the way, my sister didn't vote for TR. She said she didn't like voting for youngsters.

By Anonymous TheRealRepublican, at 2:56 PM  

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