Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Good Idea and Bad Leadership--A Way Out of the Entitlement Crisis Meets Partisan Politics

I call your attention to a column this morning by the Washington Post's David Broder.

He tells us that there will be an important Senate hearing tomorrow on the issue of Social Security and Medicare entitlement costs.

It seems that two Senators, one a Republican and one a Democrat, are trying to create a bipartisan task force that would have the power to fast track a solution to this huge emerging problem that is not going to go away.

"It would have 16 members, equally balanced between Republicans and Democrats. Fourteen would be members of Congress, chosen by the leadership and presumably representing the major economic policy committees. Two would be from the administration, with one of them, the secretary of Treasury, serving as chairman.

"It would take 12 of the 16 votes to submit a report -- guaranteeing each party a voice in the outcome. And the report would be translated into bill form and given a fast track to a final vote in both the House and Senate, with a requirement of 60 percent support for it to go to the president -- again, protection for the minority."
Senators Gregg and Conrad have the attention and support of many in Congress and even the White House for their idea in great part because Treasury Secretary Paulson is behind it.

It sure sounds like something that makes a lot of sense.

But guess what? Vice President Chaney and House Speaker Pelosi are against it--Chaney because the bipartisan group just might come up with tax increases if they were allowed to think for themselves and Pelosi because she doesn't trust the White House and wants to save the Social Security issue to beat the Republicans up over in the coming election.

You know, when good ideas out in the light of day can't trump partisan shortsightedness we have a real problem.
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