Dodging difficult issues
By: John LeBoutillier
Now that the newly-inaugurated President Bush has re-arranged his Cabinet and staff, he has made clear his second term priority: totally revamping Social Security including the incorporation of private investment accounts.
So far this new proposal has been received cooly up on a now-Republican dominated Capitol Hill. The key House leader, Ways and Mean Chairman Bill Thomas, has already proclaimed Bush’s proposal “dead on arrival” when it gets to the House. And only 33% of the American people - according to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll - favor this ‘reform.’
Yet it is clear that the White House intends to push hard for Social Security reform. Reports are that the Administration intends to run a ‘Presidential-style national campaign’ with full-time national staff and commercials and campaigning by the President and his surrogates in key states and districts.
Why is this the top priority of President Bush when most of his party are not overly in favor of it?
True, down the road Social Security will be in financial trouble.
True, down the line - in 40 years - more retirees will be taking money out of Social Security an there are workers paying into it.
But is this the most pressing domestic and economic problem facing our country?
There are two other issues that are much more dangerous to our country and more immediate, too - and President Bush is ignoring both:
1) Illegal immigration.
2) The exploding cost of health care.
Why isn’t the Bush White House spending their newly-won capital on these two more immediate and vital issues?
Ask anyone and illegal immigration - the millions of illegals already here and the new ones streaming in daily and nightly - infuriates people across the political spectrum.
The Bush answer?
To ‘legalize’ these law-breakers!
He has proposed legislation to give these illegal immigrants ‘guest worker’ status, another term for amnesty. He constantly denies that this is amnesty but of course that is exactly what it is.
How do you think those legal immigrants - who went through the system the proper way including years of waiting and worrying - feel about these illegals ‘cutting the line’?
Bush and Karl Rove cynically believe that this helped Bush get 44% of the swing Hispanic voting bloc.
Is their desire for power so great that what is right has to take a back seat?
On health care, it is driving people into desperate financial straits. No wonder jobs are fleeing to India and other countries; the annual cost of health care is exploding exponentially. Employers can’t afford it here anymore.
Yet not a word about it from Bush or his staff. Perhaps it is too hard to solve and they choose to change the debate to Social Security instead.
But why go into politics in the first place? Isn’t it to solve problems and make our country stronger and safer?
How can we ignore the influx of illegals - and in fact ‘legalize’ them -and disregard the immediate economic impact of soaring health care?
Some are speculating that a reform of Social Security will ‘retire FDR’ and place Bush in the pantheon of great presidents.
Is that the motivating factor here?
That is the wrong reason to do things; the right reason is to use his newly-won political capital to try to fix all three - Social Security, illegal immigration and health care - while he has this unique control over the House and Senate.
Only by aiming high can one expect to achieve greatness.
Dodging difficult issues may be clever and cute to those inside the DC Beltway but to history it is a form of cowardice.