Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Broder blasts Pelosi on entitlement reform

Columnist David Broder, in yesterday's Washington Post, criticizes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her opposition to a commission to examine entitlement reforms, and for her resistance to entitlement reforms in general:

The roadblock in chief is Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House. She has made it clear that her main goal is to protect Social Security and Medicare from any significant reforms. Pelosi has not forgotten how Democrats benefited from the 2005-06 fight against Bush's effort to change Social Security. Her party, which had lost elections in 2000, 2002 and 2004, found its voice and its rallying cry to "Save Social Security," and Pelosi is not about to allow any bipartisan commission to take that issue away from her control.

The price for her obduracy is being paid in the rigging of the budget process. The larger price will be paid by your children and grandchildren, who will inherit a future-blighting mountain of debt.

The political angle shouldn't be forgotten. While fixing Social Security and Medicare could cement in place Pelosi's long-term reputation – Speaker Tip O'Neill is remembered for helping broker the 1983 Social Security reforms – reform will also involve making difficult choices and giving up a convenient stick with which she has successfully beat Republicans in recent years. You can't accuse the GOP of cutting Social Security at election time if you just worked with them to make it sustainable. It's a shame there's not more leadership and vision in evidence.

1 comment:

Jim Glass said...

Speaker Tip O'Neill is remembered for helping broker the 1983 Social Security reforms

When Social Security was right flat up against the wall of running out of enough cash to pay all benfefits.

(Seniors with pitchforks motivate "brokering".)

Don't expect Democrats to be willing to broker anything about Social Security until around 2018, when it starts eating general revenue for real.