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Democrats change strategy; tactic just looked stubborn

Posted on 04/17/2005 7:17:18 PM PDT by CHARLITE

WASHINGTON - House Democrats have decided to quit emphasizing that they will not negotiate changes to Social Security until President Bush drops his idea for private accounts.

The switch in strategy comes after Democrats learned from focus groups that people frown on the lawmakers for being obstinate.

"People feel like it doesn't show a good-faith effort," said a top House aide, who like several others spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the internal data. "It makes us seem like we're 'typical politicians."'

The shift in tactics comes with Democrats and Republicans unsure what will happen after the end next month of a campaign-style, 60-day travel blitz by the president and administration officials who are promoting his plan.

"It may seem like a long time to you, but realistically, we've really just started," Bush told the American Society of Newspaper Editors last week.

Democrats say they are united in opposing a plan they contend would break a social contract by shifting Social Security from a government-guaranteed benefit to a personal investment subject to the risks of the market.

"I'm happy, we're happy, to talk to the president about Social Security if privatization is taken off the table, period," Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada told reporters last week.

Behind the scenes, both sides appear to be reaching for a lifeline. Bush's top economic adviser said the White House would be willing to consider personal accounts atop the current Social Security taxes and benefit checks, instead of as a replacement for part of each.

"We haven't ruled it out, we haven't ruled it in, but we're certainly willing to discuss it," said Allan Hubbard, head of the National Economic Council. "It really comes down to what the proposal is."

Some Republican lawmakers, in meetings with Bush, have urged him to focus less on his idea for private accounts and instead offer ideas for addressing the program's looming insolvency.

"He does understand that at some point we have to start talking about the specifics," Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., said after a White House meeting with Bush last week. "I think that he may just not be ready to be there yet."

Some Democrats plan use this Wednesday's 22nd anniversary of the last major changes to the federal retirement system as an opportunity to address the solvency issue.

Social Security now takes in more in payroll taxes than it disburses in benefits to about 47 million retirees. But that trend is projected to end in 2017 amid the retirement of the baby boom generation.

By 2041, the system will have exhausted a trust fund built up to continue paying full retiree benefits. Then, according to program analysts, payroll taxes will be able to cover only about 72 percent of promised benefits.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 109th; bush43; change; changing; congress; democrats; gridlock; obstructionistdems; opponents; presidentbush; privatization; reform; socialsecurity; stategy; stubborn; ushouse; ussenate

1 posted on 04/17/2005 7:17:27 PM PDT by CHARLITE
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"As long as we don't look despicable, everything will be fine"

Way to go fellas........
2 posted on 04/17/2005 7:20:52 PM PDT by rockrr (Revote or Revolt! It's up to you Washington!)
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Yet again, the Dems demonstrate that their policies are dependent on polls and not principle.

3 posted on 04/17/2005 7:36:31 PM PDT by Fenris6 (3 Purple Hearts in 4 months w/o missing a day of work? He's either John Rambo or a Fraud)
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federal retirement system

Geez, if I had life to do again I'd be part of this instead of worrying if my small business could afford to create a single real job.

4 posted on 04/17/2005 7:46:45 PM PDT by quantim (Victory is not relative, it is absolute.)
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Hehehehe - and hear we've been hearing for the past two months that President Bush's personal approval ratings are at an all time nadir and his Social Security reform plan is doooooooooooomed. And the now the Democrats are having second thoughts?? Looks like the Fat Lady hasn't even sung yet! hehehehe

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
5 posted on 04/17/2005 7:50:21 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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Typical. Absolutely typical.

6 posted on 04/17/2005 7:52:35 PM PDT by HowardDeanScream08
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To: rockrr

New bottles, old whine. Obstruction without a plan of their own is the Democrat's mantra.

7 posted on 04/17/2005 8:05:38 PM PDT by RicocheT
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To: RicocheT
"Obstruction without a plan of their own is the Democrat's mantra."

I think it's probably safe for me to come right out now and say, "I LOATHE liberals and every Democrat that I can think of.........excepting (big time) Zell Miller and Joe Lieberman."

Are there any other good ones whom I've missed?

8 posted on 04/17/2005 8:52:09 PM PDT by CHARLITE (I lost my car now I have to walk everywhere.......)
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so democrats are going to SAY they are flexible but the will stion BE inflexible.

Ignorance is Strength.

big brother loves you

a sucker is born every minute.

9 posted on 04/17/2005 9:52:09 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE!)
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