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December 7, 2004
Cracks In Partisanship On Social Security Appear

The first cracks in the partisan divide on Social Security appeared this evening, with Florida Congressman Allen Boyd (D-FL) announcing that he would support George Bush's plan to save the plan through privatization:

President Bush's call for private accounts within Social Security drew an early expression of bipartisan support Tuesday when Florida Rep. Allen Boyd stepped forward to the disappointment of Democratic leaders.

"There are some of us who are willing to work across party lines" on legislation to repair Social Security's solvency, he said.

"This is the only bipartisan bill that I know of," Boyd added at a news conference where he said he would serve as the chief Democratic supporter of legislation drafted by Republican Rep. Jim Kolbe of Arizona.

And that's the entire problem with the Democratic approach to both Social Security specifically, and to bipartisanship in general. Bush received an inordinate amount of criticism for polarizing Washington during his first term, with Democrats castigating him for not working in a spirit of bipartisanship. And yet only George Bush bothered to come up with anything creative to address the looming disaster of Social Security, while all his opponents could do was scream about the sky falling and, at the same time, try to scare old people into thinking Bush would steal their pensions. Rep. Boyd just pointed out that the emperor has no clothes.

For his trouble, he can expect that the Democrats will do their best to marginalize him in the next electoral cycle. At the moment, they've lowered the hysterics, focusing instead on the costs for transitioning to private accounts. Boyd and Kolbe point out that the $2 trillion price tag (over 10 years) for conversion pales before the estimated $22 trillion the existing system will have to suck out of the economy over the next 75 to remain solvent. The GOP has the winning argument, which may explain why Democrats preferred unity and hysterics rather than reasoned debate on the issue.

Now that Boyd has broken the ice, expect to see more Democrats come on board to tackle this critical problem. Until we resolve our Social Security catastrophe-in-waiting, any program of fiscal responsibility will necessarily fail, as a ripple gets overwhelmed by a tidal wave.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 7, 2004 9:41 PM

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» Cracks In Partisanship On Social Security Appear from On the BorderLine
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