Sunday, January 16, 2005

Polishing the language

Here is a transcript of this morning's Meet the Press interview with Counselor to the President, Dan Bartlett. I'm sorry that I forgot to mention his promotion from Communications Director. His language on the WMD is

"But what we have learned and what the David Kay report has learned and what the Charlie Duelfer report has learned is that he did maintain his capabilities that could be turned on a moment's notice to produce those types of weapons, that he did have remaining ties to terrorist organizations.  He was funding suicide bombers in the Middle East.  This was a very dangerous man in a very dangerous part of the world.  And it was right then and it was right now that we removed him from power."
We've already gone over the moment's notice capability and how that's not entirely accurate in the Duelfer Report, but he did have some remnants of infrastructure in the dual-use field (but so does Norway, and we're not invading them anytime soon) and a turnaround time of several months for mustard gas. The parts required would have been acquired through the corrupted Oil For Food program. So I decided to call this one a draw. Social Security was another matter. Mr. Bartlett made several assertions in his interview:
In 1950, there were 16 workers paying into the system for every retiree.  Today there are three workers per every retiree. And by 2040, there will be two workers for every retiree.  This is a matter of math, not ideology. It's going to be hard to do the math when we don't know how many people are going to be paying into the system in 2040. Many of them haven't been born yet. The actual timeframe is 2018, he's just getting his numbers mixed up. ... MR. RUSSERT:  If you were to pay payroll tax on, say, your first million dollars of income, would that be an increase in taxes in the president's mind? MR. BARTLETT:  Well, again, President Bush has talked about the caps, has talked about the issues of payroll taxes.  We're not going to be in a position where I, here today, are going to negotiate the details of the plan with ourselves.  The president is going to work with Congress to do that. Now, one thing I will say about the issue of payroll taxes, if you were to remove the cap all together, my understanding of the math shows that only fixes the problem for four years.  So that is not a long- term solution in and of itself.  But the details like this and like the other ones that were mentioned previously are things that President Bush is willing to work with the Congress on to make sure that we do what is necessary to protect the next generation of retirees from the type of precarious situation we face today.I've already pretty much debunked this section by looking at the talking points from the NCAP. Im not sure how a multi-billion dollar surplus is a precarious situation today. He's just using his time to promote a sense of urgency that bankruptcy could happen at any minute and we have to act quickly. Doesn't that kind of remind you of something else? Hmmm... imminent threat. BTW, what's up with all this 'negotiating with ourselves' stuff? Get a freakin'room you pervs.
I'm gad we could go through all this stuff. After all, it's important.

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