Sunday, March 13, 2005

A Democratic Plan for Social Security

I have had some recent posts on Social Security in which I suggested that the Democrats should put out their own proposal on Social Security before Bush gets off the hook by declaring victory for a compromise plan. This view has met a degree of opposition from Democrats--more in reposts on Democratic Underground than in my original posts here. I have also defended John Kerry against attacks on this point.

I've noted the need for Democrats to present their views, rather than just appearing to be saying no to Republican proposals. By this I don't mean a concrete set of legislation, but statements to show more clearly how the plans from Democrats differ from those of Republicans.

Josh Marshall, who has probably written more on Social Security than anyone in the blogosphere, has also taken a stand in agreement with this position:
If the Democrats handle this right, the political suffering of the president and his party has scarcely begun. And they should suffer mightily for pressing a policy that would carve a path of devastation through the American middle class.

The grafs above only make sense if what the two are talking about is a much longer-term problem of public fuzziness over just what Democrats stand-for. And that very much is a problem -- one that had no little to do with their losing the presidential contest in November. But this is why Democrats need to take the opportunity of the Social Security debate to outline their values, their vision of where the country should be going on Social Security and related issues. Flatly opposing phase-out is not the problem; it's the first step to the solution.

In an earlier post, Josh Marshall also states:

This is a golden opportunity for Democrats to start explaining their vision of where we should be going as a society and how it differs from that of the Republicans'. That's what an opposition party does.


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