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Heavy-Handed Politics

"€œGod willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world
without the United States and Zionism."€ -- Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad

Saturday, February 05, 2005

When Will it End?

They just keep getting loonier and loonier. When will it end? Senator Joe Biden says the world needs to address Iran’s emotional needs for nuclear weapons, by promising not to hurt them. (Hat tip: LGF)

Senator Joseph Biden said that even if Iran was a full democracy like India, it would want nuclear capability, like India. What the world needed to address was Iran’s emotional needs, he said, with a nonaggression pact.

Hate Speech at Univeristy of Cal. - Irvine

Check this out. From Charles @ LGF, complete with a link to watch a 6 minute video of a disgusting speech made by "specialist in international politics". (wink-wink)

"StandWithUs.com has a 6-minute video of an absolutely appalling hate speech at the University of California at Irvine, by a Muslim speaker named Amir-Abdel Malik-Ali, announced as “a specialist in international politics:” Incitement on Campus: UC Irvine, February 2, 2005.

Once again, you’re not going to believe what’s taking place on the campuses of America; after spewing antisemitic conspiracy theories and justifying suicide bombings of Israeli buses, the speaker says:"

And we have to sacrifice too, while we live here ... in Am-ri-ka. The belly of the beast. The number one imperialist in the world.


But ... let’s call it a state, OK? And then you gonna go get some Uncle Tom Palestinian leaders to fall for this okey-doke. Two-state solution is off the table. No. One state. And check this out! One state ... majority rules. One state ... majority rules.

Us. The Muslims.

[crowd yells “Allahu Akbar!”]

Friday, February 04, 2005



On January 27th, I noted on this blog, a story about Ward Churchill. Mr. Churchill is a professor at Colorado University. My January 27th blog entry linked to an article in the Rocky Mountain News where it was reported that he wrote a despicable article about the 9/11 tragedy.

As it stands now, there is a good chance that he will be fired. Neal Boortz gives this update:

By now you might have heard the saga of Ward Churchill. This is the leftist America-hater that compared the victims of the 9/11 slaughter to Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi Holocaust murderer. In case you need a refresher, here's exactly what he said: "The most that can honestly be said of those involved on Sept. 11 is that they finally responded in kind to some of what this country has dispensed to their people as a matter of course. As for those in the World Trade Center, well, really, let's get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break."

He also went on to call the Islamic terrorists that attacked the World Trade Center, "combat teams," the victims "little Eichmanns" and "military targets." Obviously this terrorist-appeasing, left-wing sociopath does not belong on the faculty at a university supposedly teaching America's children.

Yet the liberals are playing the "academic freedom" card. He promises to sue the University if he's fired, and it looks like that might just happen. He has freedom of speech just like anyone else....he just doesn't have the freedom to make anyone listen. If you pulled this kind of stunt at a private company, you'd be out the door in a second. If you were a Republican, liberals would want to put you in jail for "hate speech."

Then again, it might be useful to keep him right where he is. It serves as a reminder just how these leftists actually think.

This saga gets even more interesting. Read this from AIM (American Indian Movement).

Watch Your Mouth, General

A U.S Marine general is getting a lot of heat from our liberal- multicultural - politically correct- elitist media because of some things he said at a forum/ panel discusion in San Diego.

From the Boston Globe:
Marine general says it's 'fun' to shoot some in combat

WASHINGTON -- A decorated Marine Corps general said, "It's fun to shoot some people" and poked fun at the manhood of Afghans as he described the wars US troops are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lieutenant General James N. Mattis, a career infantry officer who is now in charge of developing better ways to train and equip Marines, made the comments Tuesday while speaking to a forum in San Diego.

According to an audio recording, he said, "Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight. You know, it's a hell of a hoot . . . It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right up front with you. I like brawling."

He added, "You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."

His comments were met with laughter and applause from the audience. Mattis was speaking during a panel discussion hosted by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, a spokeswoman for the general said.

Hagee also said, "While I understand that some people may take issue with the comments made by him, I also know he intended to reflect the unfortunate and harsh realities of war."

Among Marines, Mattis is regarded as a fighting general and an expert in the art of warfare. Among his decorations are the Bronze Star with a combat distinguishing device and a combat action ribbon, awarded for close-quarters fighting.

He is currently the commanding general of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va., and deputy commandant for combat development.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim civil liberties group, called on the Pentagon to discipline Mattis for the remarks.

"We do not need generals who treat the grim business of war as a sporting event," said the council's executive director, Nihad Awad. "These disturbing remarks are indicative of an apparent indifference to the value of human life."

HeavyHanded begs to differ. "People" who are more than willing and even take pleasure in sawing the heads of people and who strap bombs on unsuspecting mentally retarded boys (see earlier post on 18 yr old Down Syndrom "suicide" bomber) are the ones who have an "indifference to life." These are the animals we are fighting. At least the good general called them "people." I think he was being overly kind.

The article continues:

Pace and Hagee praised the general's service.

"His actions and those of his troops clearly show that he understands the value of proper leadership and the value of human life," Pace said.

Hagee called Mattis "one of this country's bravest and most experienced military leaders," and said he was confident he would continue to serve with distinction.

As a lieutenant colonel, Mattis led an assault battalion into Kuwait during the first war with Iraq. He commanded troops during the war in Afghanistan, and during the second war in Iraq, he commanded the First Marine Division during the invasion and also when the unit returned for counterinsurgency operations.

Betsy Newmark from Betsy's Page opined:
"I think the great, great majority of the American people are going Yee-haw! That's what we like in our fighting men. And these people we're fighting are evil. In Iraq they send a Down's Syndrome child to kill people trying to vote. If the Marines bring themselves to the point that they enjoy killing such vermin, I don't mind at all and I bet most people don't mind. It's nice to know that there ares some military out there who aren't overcome by political correctness.

I think it's the same attitude that the great majority of people have towards the supposed torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. That's why the American people aren't going to get whipped up about some memo that Albert Gonzales wrote concerning torture."

Neal Boortz chimes in:
Immediately the headlines blared that a Marine general said it was 'fun to shoot people.' No ... he didn't say it was fun to shoot "people." He said it was fun to shoot men who had been slapping women around for five years. Frankly, I agree with him. Thankfully the Marines and the Joint Chiefs are defending him, so it looks like his head won't roll over this one. He did issue an unnecessary apology saying he might have chosen his words better. Nonsense...his words were right on target.

Pacifist leftists who claim that 'war is not the answer' will try to use this as some sort of 'gotcha' against American troops to try and portray them as bloodthirsty killers. On the contrary, there was nothing wrong with Lieutenant General Mattis' remarks.

Hell, if given the chance to shoot and kill Osama Bin Laden, Al-Zarqawi or any of the other insurgents, you're damned right it would be a lot of fun. Might even be worth stuffing the head and mounting it on the wall."

Thursday, February 03, 2005


Anti-Intellectualism Among the Academic Elite
by Walter E. Williams

"What's important is the attempt by some of the academic elite to stifle inquiry. Universities are supposed to be places where ideas are pursued and tested, and stand or fall on their merit. Suppression of ideas that are seen as being out of the mainstream has become all too common at universities. The creed of the leftist religion is that any difference between people is a result of evil social forces. That's a vision that can lead to the return to the Dark Ages." FULL ARTICLE

Dr. Williams is a nationally syndicated columnist, former chairman of the economics department at George Mason University, and author of More Liberty Means Less Government


Iraqi villagers kill 5 insurgents

By Middle East correspondent Mark Willacy

The residents of a small Iraqi village have killed five insurgents who had attacked them for voting in last weekend's national elections. Several other insurgents were also wounded.

The insurgents raided the village of al-Mudhiryah south of Baghdad after warning its inhabitants not to vote in the election. The villagers fought back, killing five of the insurgents and wounding eight others.

The insurgents' cars were then set alight. Al-Mudhiryah's tribal sheikh says his people are sick of being threatened by Islamic extremists.

Here's to hoping this is just the beginning of things to come.

Social Security's 'dirty little secret'


Democrats are mounting a major offensive to block President Bush's proposal to let workers create wealth and build a more secure retirement by investing some of their Social Security payroll taxes in stocks and bonds.

But they are making a huge gamble with their all-out opposition because significant numbers of their base constituencies actually like Mr. Bush's idea. This is the dirty little secret in the Social Security debate that the mainstream news media aren't reporting.

The truth is that for some years now, many national polls have shown that significant percentages among blacks, Hispanics, Asians, labor union members and other traditionally Democratic voting groups support the concept of personal investment retirement accounts.

An Annenberg poll last December showed that 54 percent of Hispanics support the concept of "allowing workers to invest Social Security funds in the stock market."

A more recent poll by John Zogby found that more than 50 percent of black voters who liked the idea wanted to invest as much as half of the payroll tax in individual accounts to get a better return on their tax contributions.

"On Social Security reform, you are looking at younger voters, union members and minorities that find this idea popular," Zogby told me. Democratic leaders "are not talking to their own base, let along the rest of middle America," he said.

The biggest surprise in his poll, Zogby said, was that nearly one-third of all Democrats said they liked Mr. Bush's idea.

The word going out to Democratic Party strategists is proceed with caution -- many of your own supporters think the president's idea is a good one.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


Boy with Down syndrome turned into suicide bomber
Insurgents in Iraq strap explosives on youth with mind of 4-year-old


Half of Bankruptcy Due to Medical Bills -- U.S. Study

Some highlights:

  • Half of all U.S. bankruptcies are caused by soaring medical bills and most people sent into debt by illness are middle-class workers with health insurance, researchers said on Wednesday.

  • The average bankrupt person surveyed had spent $13,460 on co-payments, deductibles and uncovered services if they had private insurance. People with no insurance spent an average of $10,893 for such out-of-pocket expenses.

  • He said fewer than 1 percent of all bankruptcy filings were due to credit card debt. "That truly is a myth," Cauthen said in a telephone interview.
  • Tuesday, February 01, 2005

    If not Genocide, what is it?

    UN rules out genocide in Darfur

    According to the story from the BBC, "More than 70,000 people have been killed and two million more forced to flee their homes in Darfur since February 2003."
    Of course what we know is that "where genocide is found to have taken place, signatories to a UN convention are legally obliged to act to end it."

    This can be a problem, of course, because then something has to be done.

    The article says the report "was initiated in October by the UN Security Council which had asked Secretary General Kofi Annan to set up a commission to investigate alleged human rights violations in Darfur."

    Additionally it said, "some individuals - including government officials - may have committed 'acts with genocidal intent'.

    So it was kind of like genocide, maybe, at least in intent, possibly, but not really. Well if it wasn't genocide, what was it? Protein Wisdom comes up with:

    9 names the UN would PREFER we give to the "not genocide" in Darfur
    1. "Refugee Bingo"
    2. "The Sudenese government presents Darfur on Ice!"
    3. "Just a few silly Arab militias sowing their wild oats"
    4. "David Blaine’s The Incredible Disappearing Civilians of Displeasing Ethnicity"
    5. "People Pruning"
    6. "Mulching the Desert"
    7. "No Chocolate Wednesdays"
    8. "That little African misunderstanding"
    9. “‘Extreme Makeover’: The Dark Continent edition
    HeavyHanded says, call it anything, (PLEASE) just not genocide.

    Are the Terrorists Fanning Out?

    There are reports from local sources indicate that the terrorists left Iraq towards Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and North East. The terrorists are now changing their tactic to attack in the region wider than Iraq as their networks are uncovered largely inside Iraq contrary to their statements today that they will continue their war.

    From Hammorabi

    Monday, January 31, 2005

    Worth Reading

    John Howard blasts 'irrational' Europeans
    JOHN Howard has lashed out at "old Europe", describing criticism of the US as "unfair and irrational", as global tensions grow over the Iraq war and free trade. Full story.

    Chairman Kim’s dissolving kingdom
    We had already witnessed one sign that North Korea’s totalitarian system is dissolving, even as its leaders boast of owning nuclear weapons to deter their enemies.

    “It’s just like the Berlin Wall,” Pastor Douglas Shin, a Christian activist, said by telephone from Seoul. “The slow-motion exodus is the beginning of the end.”

    In interviews for this article over many months, western policymakers, Chinese experts, North Korean exiles and human rights activists built up a picture of a tightly knit clan leadership in Pyongyang that is on the verge of collapse.

    Some of those interviewed believe the “Dear Leader”, Kim Jong-il, has already lost his personal authority to a clique of generals and party cadres. Without any public announcement, governments from Tokyo to Washington are preparing for a change of regime. Full story.

    Raining on the Parade

    While watching television late Saturday night and early Sunday morning (I just had to see how the Iraq's elections were progressing - call me crazy if you must), I saw a number of interviews with many people. Some were Iraqi citizens here in the U.S., some were reporters in Iraq, and of course various pundits. There was a lot of enthusiasm and revelry.

    Then...... appears Susan Estrich. Basically Susan said she didn't want to rain on the parade, but....... then...... the thunderclouds started rolling in. It seems poor old Susan can't get past the idea that "we went into Iraq for WMD's" and by GOD, we didn't find them. (But even this is not true. When the Senate voted on whether to go to war with Iraq, there was a myriad of reasons given, and that was what they voted on. It was NOT a singular issue upon which they voted.)

    So, apparently to Susan, it's only the premise that is important. So lets just say for the sake of argument, that WMD's were the only reason we went into Iraq. Let's also say we found several warehouses full of WMD. What then? First of all, Saddam wasn't going to let us just waltz in there. We would have had to "invade" them just as we did. Was Saddam just going to go peacefully into the night? Never to be seen or heard from again? No. How about his two sons? Were they going to go peacefully into the night? No.

    There would still have been a "resistance" when we "invaded". There would still be "resistance" from "insurgents" after our "invasion", just as there has been. How would any of this change the dynamics on the ground that we have experienced and are experiencing today? It wouldn't. There would still be a political leadership vacuum that would need to be addressed just as there has been. (See elections noted above).

    If the premise is the ONLY thing that is important in any situation, if premise is that which solely determines right from wrong, if premise is the sole justification for actions to be taken, then what should the police force do in a situation where they raid a house to bust up a drug deal, only to find that there is no drug deal going down; but there is some poor young lady being abused, battered, and forcibly raped? Should they just leave? After all, the premise to enter into the house was drugs, not rape. See ya later lady? Hope your day gets better?

    We should all be celebrating the events of Sunday. Whether you agreed or not about going to Iraq, WE ARE THERE NOW. We have had brave men and women give their lives to the cause. The Iraqi's were dancing in the streets. We should all be singing. I feel like singing..... maybe a little tune from Credence Clearwater Revival ....... Who'll Stop the Rain....?


    Idle Threats

    They threaten but then don't carry through. Darn you.

    France reaffirms Syria must withdraw from Lebanon

    From The World Peace Herald:

    "French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said Paris intends to keep dialogue open with Syria on its implementation of Security Council Resolution 1559. The resolution calls for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon."

    Or, what? Are they going to pelt them with croissants?

    Full article here.

    Tsunami-aid workers a 'traveling circus'

    In a London Telegraph article cited by World Net Daily, a United States navy officer serving on the Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier blasts the UN and a "travelling circus of aid workers" for hindering the tsunami relief effort in Indonesia.

    This couldn't possibly be, could it? (Tongue in cheek)

    Finding fault with their behavior and requests, the officer made it known that his warship "has been transformed into a floating hotel for a bunch of trifling do-gooders." He said that the carrier's combat-readiness and the pilots' safety had been put at risk by the limitations imposed upon them by the Indonesian military as they tried to carry out their relief operations.

    He stated, "It has been a frustrating and needlessly dangerous exercise" and adding: "Mixed in were a bunch of reporters, cameramen and Indonesian military officers looking like tourists on their way to Disneyland." His remarks, of course, were pooh-poohed by UN officials in Banda Aceh. But yet, some aid workers also voiced their displeasures about the UN and its bureaucracy, while Acehnese complained that aid workers were not performing very effectively.

    One of his complaints was that the navy's Seahawk helicopters were compelled to spend too much of their time "ferrying" relief workers around before bringing them back to their "guest bedrooms". Relief aid teams, he said, "threw themselves at the mercy" of the US Navy "because there were no five-star hotels" and declined to pay for meals. UN officials, however, said they and relief workers receive meal money, and therefore found it hard to believe that some would refuse to pay.

    Uh, huh.

    He was equally scathing of television crews. "We had to dedicate two helos [helicopters] and a C-2 cargo plane for Dan Rather and his entourage of door-holders and briefcase-carriers from CBS News," he claimed. In their defence, journalists said that the helicopters were also carrying relief supplies.

    Yea, like what? A couple cases of Don Perion ?

    He felt that the Indonesian officers that were on board apparently thought their job was to "encourage our leaving as soon as possible. They want our money and help but they don't want their population to see that the Americans are doing far more for them in two weeks than their own government has ever done for them".

    As a consequence, the officer wrote that the pilots were not meeting safety regulations because they were not able to get enough training and practice time. "The longer we stay here helping these people, the more dangerous it gets to operate," he said. "It is time to give this mission to somebody other than the US Navy." Due to the apparent hypersensitivities of the Indonesian authorities, the Lincoln, it seems, has moved farther offshore.

    They said it was true that UN officials had carried out "assessments" but rejected suggestions that they hampered operations.

    No, that would be just tooooo unbelievable.

    They also said that it had taken time to get to positions "in country" but they had now reached remote places. "No one is living off caviar. Conditions are hard but people are motivated by the idea of being part of this historic mission."

    Damn. You're not kidding are ya? Only 3 weeks of preparation for the UN and to "assess" the situation. Meetings to plan meetings. But, what the hell, there was no real emergency.

    Evidently a Spanish aid agency worker in Banda Aceh, however, was less than impressed with UN officials and said that some UN officials had appeared arrogant, and suggested that the UN was hindered by bureaucracy. "It is a huge machine and it moves very slowly," he said. "It takes 50 pages of bureaucratic work just to move one nail. This can be a problem and that is why some Americans are probably upset. They like to just get on with it."

    Yup. I learned this years ago. Ya got talkers and then ya got "doers"

    EUtopia Interrupted


    From the Editorials/Op-Ed section

    The soaring ideals behind the pan-European super-state are running into an obstacle -- the will of the people. That could well foil, attempts to ratify a new constitution for the European Union.

    In Britain, recent polls show that about 65 percent of the population is prepared to vote against ratifying the EU constitution. Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has strongly endorsed the document, is quite aware of that sentiment and will delay, possibly until 2006, a national referendum on the issue.

    Mr. Blair's government is trying to sell the referendum by claiming that a vote against the constitution would in effect leave Britain outside of the European Union. Such a scenario is very unlikely, though. Other countries, such as Poland and the Czech Republic, could well vote against the constitution in national referendums before Britons have a chance to. That could be just what Mr. Blair had in mind by delaying the vote. Since the EU constitution can only be approved by unanimity, a single rejection would get Mr. Blair off the hook entirely.

    If Britain emerged as the sole challenger, a number of countries would favor a renegotiation of the text, rather than leaving Britain out of the European Union. Why? Poland, Spain and Italy (not to mention the United States) want to see a counterweight to German-French dominance of the alliance. This would become particularly important if a provision in the draft constitution, which would give countries voting weight in proportion to their populations, is ultimately approved. France and Germany would accumulate even greater representation, causing greater disgruntlement among smaller nations.

    The constitution would centralize power in Brussels by allowing certain policies and decisions to be approved by simple majorities, rather than unanimity. Some critics argue that if the constitution is approved, the union would become a kind of super-state, with its own flag, president, foreign minister, parliament and supreme court. Clearly, the approval of the document would streamline EU decision-making, and would cause the 25 member countries of the enlarged union to give up sovereignty in important areas. Lobbying by Britain has preserved members' veto over fiscal policy, defense and foreign affairs. National vetoes would be phased out, though, in law enforcement, education and some macroeconomic matters.

    Unsurprisingly, the draft constitution has wide support in France. There is a looming problem, though, with that country's EUtopic vision. If voting weight is to be decided by population, then Turkey, which in the next few years could become the union's most populous nation, would be the most influential member. The accession of Turkey into the union is particularly unpopular in France.

    In fact, given the realities in Britain and elsewhere, EU bureaucrats may have to significantly downscale their lofty plans for the European superstate.

    From The Washington Times Insider

    Sunday, January 30, 2005

    Global Jihad

    Saudis spread hate through U.S. mosques: Propaganda against Jews, Christians 'mainstreamed within our borders'.
    Full Report


    The Russians are coming – with spies
    FBI concerned about Moscow's growing number of agents in U.S.

    Iraq Elections

    ABC News anchorman Peter Jennings insisted that for Iraq's Sunni population, the vote was "illegitimate." Well, Peter, the way I see it, anyone (in any country for that matter) who chooses not to get involved, and does not vote in their elections cannot claim to be "disenfranchised" or can call the elections "illegitimate". It appears their voter turnout was higher than any turnout in U.S. election history.

    Sorry, pal, you decided to take your ball home and not play.

    More Political Correctness

    Indian students can't be Braves?
    By Jennifer Harper, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

    The Braves are caught in the cross hairs of the NCAA. The National Collegiate Athletic Association has asked the University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP) to re-evaluate its Indian mascot and logo in the name of proper cultural diversity. Trouble is, the school was founded in 1887 to educate American Indians.

    Full Story

    Is China Next?

    I think not.

    Nancy Pelosi honors Zhao Ziyang

    WASHINGTON -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Chinese and human rights groups at Washington's Mall to honor the late Zhao Ziyang, former premier of China.

    About 100 people held a moment of silence to honor Zhao Satruday night. He had been under house arrest for refusing to shoot participants during the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations, CNN reported Sunday.

    Pelosi, D-Calif., said the Chinese government has kept the circumstances of Zhao's death a secret -- he died Jan. 17 in Beijing -- "but the more they tried to suppress his message and his courage, the stronger they make him."

    "Troops may crush a protest, but they can never extinguish the flame of freedom that burns in every heart, here and in China," Pelosi said. "So when our administration says that we are going to take freedom to the darkest corners of the earth, I hope that includes the largest country in the world as well."

    Does she really want the U.S to attack, invade, and occupy China? No, hardly. I believe House Minority Leader Pelosi is just guilty of her usual moronic partisan party politics.

    Iran warns it will respond to any US threat

    Iran issued a new warning to the United States that it would respond to any threat against it, in a escalating war of words between Tehran and Washington, the state news agency IRNA reported on Thursday.

    Read article here.

    Iran Says No Room for Talks with US

    TEHRAN - Iran's government spokesman and cabinet secretary Abdollah Ramazanzadeh said on January 24 that he saw no chance of direct talks with the United States while Washington uses "threatening language". On January 17 US President George W. Bush said that he could not rule out using force if Tehran failed to rein in its nuclear plans, and US Vice-President Dick Cheney also warned that Israel might launch a preemptive strike on its own to shut down Iran's nuclear program.

    From The Middle East Times

    Abbas Sacks 50 of Arafat's Aides

    GAZA - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has fired 50 Palestinian officials, most of them aides to the late leader Yasser Arafat, officials said on January 26. Sources told UPI that the sacked were employed by Arafat at his headquarters in Gaza and in the West Bank town of Ramallah. He said that there were more than 1,000 employees who were allied to Arafat.

    From the Middle East Times

    Egypt Fails to Report Nuclear Research

    Egypt admitted on Thursday to failing to report a "number of research experiments" to the UN atomic energy agency, after diplomats said that the agency was investigating an Egyptian lab that could be used to make plutonium, a nuclear weapons material.

    Read Article

    Clinton was for Soc. Sec. Reform

    Bill Clinton's Social Security options
    From the Editorials/Op-Ed section

    In a recent editorial, The Washington Times reminded its readers that then-President Clinton, in a major policy speech delivered in February 1998 at Georgetown University, warned about "the looming fiscal crisis in Social Security" that "affects every generation." Today, congressional Democrats are downplaying Mr. Clinton's "looming fiscal crisis" in an effort to sabotage any reform effort that might include individual (or personal) retirement accounts.

    Mr. Clinton had good reason to be worried about Social Security's long-term future. When he delivered his Georgetown speech, he had been in office for more than five years, during which time he labored over the federal budget and the long-term consequences of fiscal policy. In addition, before the 1998 speech, three national panels had already been commissioned during the Clinton administration to review Social Security reform options: the Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform (1993-1995); the 1994-1996 Advisory Council on Social Security; and the 1997-1998 National Commission on Retirement Policy.

    All three panels offered long-term reform plans that included individual accounts. Moreover, a policy paper presented in June 2001 and published by the National Bureau of Economic Research the following September revealed that the Clinton administration itself intensively analyzed such accounts as part of a long-term solution to "the looming fiscal crisis." Indeed, within days of Mr. Clinton's Georgetown speech, "the administration launched a systematic process to develop a Social Security reform plan," according to the very revealing 2001 paper -- "Fiscal Policy and Social Security Policy During the 1990s" -- delivered at a Harvard conference. The paper was written by three former senior Clinton administration policy-makers: Douglas Elmendorf (deputy assistant secretary of the treasury), Jeffrey Liebman (special assistant to the president for economic policy) and David Wilcox (assistant secretary of the treasury).

    The authors respectfully noted that "[t]he administration's economic team was also aware of a significant group within the Democratic Party that downplayed the need for Social Security reform." Then, they proceeded to demolish the Democratic group's arguments, which today are being repeated by pro-status quo Democrats.

    While the administration's high-level working group was reviewing the options, the rapidly growing economy and the soaring stock market were on the verge of turning longtime budget deficits into budget surpluses, which were soon to be projected for years into the future. Admittedly, the imminence of these surpluses stoked the president's interest in exploiting the superior returns offered by stock and bond investments. At the same time, however, "the president also made clear that all reform options other than an increase in the payroll tax should be on the table." To this end, "much of the effort ultimately was directed toward devising ways of bridging the gap between the defenders of the current defined-benefit system and advocates of individual accounts."

    Focusing on (1) administrative feasibility and costs, (2) portfolio market risk, (3) political interference in markets and corporate governance and (4) redistribution, the working group rigorously studied the option of investments in private financial assets. It concluded that "such a system could be run at an annual cost of $20 to $30 per account." The economic team also "did not think that market risk was a sufficiently important concern to rule out plans that involved equities." Concerns about redistribution and political interference "under a system of individual accounts" could also be adequately addressed, the working group concluded.

    Having resolved its primary concerns, the working group "believed that there was more potential for substantive consensus on Social Security reform than the heated rhetoric on the topic suggested." Optimistically, the authors report that "on two of the most disputed issues -- whether investment in private securities should be handled collectively or individually, and whether individual accounts should be created as part of Social Security -- there was nearly a continuum of options; and proposals from the left and right seemed to be moving toward each other."

    Approvingly noting that even "some of the Republican proposals involved redistributive funding of individual accounts," the authors reported: "Thus, by late 1998" -- this timing will be seen to be crucial -- "there appeared to be the possibility for convergence around using non-Social Security funds to make redistributive contributions to individual accounts, contributions that might or might not bear any direct mechanical relationship to the traditional Social Security system." There were three "reform plans that occupied the 'policy space' defined by this possible convergence of views." The first would have implemented add-on individual accounts financed either by surplus general revenues, which would compensate for cuts in traditional benefits, or by additional mandatory contributions. The second option, based on a plan developed by former Reagan Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Martin Feldstein and introduced in Congress by Republican Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Archer, would also use surplus revenues to finance individual accounts. The third option was a "hybrid" plan that "included both trust fund investments in equities and the establishment of small individual accounts."

    While the budget surplus clearly played a major role in the individual accounts countenanced by the working group, it must also be acknowledged that any of the three "policy space" options would have represented an opening bid by the Clinton administration, subject to negotiation with and revision by the Republican Congress. "In the end," however, "President Clinton decided to pursue Social Security reform based on bolstering the Social Security trust fund rather than on creating individual accounts," the authors recalled. Cryptically, Messrs. Elmendorf, Liebman and Wilcox concluded: "This decision may have been influenced by the changing political dynamic in late 1998, as the possibility that the president would be impeached came clearly into view. Whether the president would have pursued a different approach in the absence of impeachment will never be known." In other words, the grossly irresponsible president's decisions to engage in sexual relations with a White House intern and then to repeatedly lie about it forced him to embrace his liberal Democratic base (and their aversion to individual retirement accounts). In the end, it probably cost Mr. Clinton what the authors call "the Rooseveltian legacy," which would have "come from putting Social Security on secure ground for the coming century."

    From The Washington Times Insider