Thursday, January 13, 2005

I had an epiphany

There are a lot of things I've been wanting to write about but haven't had time to because of work. I really want to discuss the SCOTUS ruling on mandatory sentencing, but for now I'll leave it to SCOTUSblog. I also want to get into the Abu Ghraib trial going on in my back yard at Ft. Hood. The Trib has been doing a great job of covering this, and I'll probably write about it for BOR today. I also need to write my restaurant review for Catherine Atkinson, the BL editor. It's running next Friday and I need to get it done. But the real impetus for this post is that I had a sudden realization this morning. I watched an ad on CNN this morning talking about leadership in reforming Social Security and the courage it will take. There was even a grainy black and white reel of FDR signing the legislation to enact Social Security. It's being run by guys in an outfit called Progress for America. It's the same guys who do all the funding for out-of-strip mall groups with lots of money supporting Republican initiatives. I'm sure Frank Luntz had a hand in the messaging, too. We know that $40 million is going to get spent to get private accounts to be part of the system. We can't beat that. There is no one on the Democratic side with the money to fight that kind of advertizing blitz. The best we got is the $5 million from AARP for newspaper ads. I'm sure they'll spend more, but I'm not sure that the message their going with is going to be heard. The latest CNN/Gallup poll I saw shows that a majority polled believed that there is problem with Social Security. A large portion of that, 52% believe it faces major problems. The poll also shows that most people disapprove of his handling on the issue, and that private accounts are going to be a tough sell. Hence the $40 million campaign. But we can beat him on this. His private accounts system is a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. But he's going to spend big bucks to make people think there is a problem. I say we let him. I'm not by any stretch of the imagination saying we back down. I'm saying let him spend his money and "political capital" trying to sell private accounts, then do another more powerful ad:

2+ -2 doesn't equal 4
It's simple because that will reach more people and be much more direct. His private accounts scheme will take money out of Social Security when they are arguing that it doesn't have enough money. It doesn't make sense and simple arithmetic says so. I'm going to be emailing people today to see what they think, but I'm psyched. I think this might be just what the doctor ordered. We can stop the private accounts and maybe make actual changes to Social Security that can help long-term solvency. I'm sure tomorrow I won't feel so freakin' brilliant, but right now I'm enjoying my own magnificence.

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