If you have "no place to go," come here!

Thank you, Monica Lewinsky!

Counterpunch, 2004:

The idea that "something must be done" was widespread and many expected that Clinton would follow up his capitulation to Republicans on welfare with a deal on Social Security. But he didn’t, thanks to the zaftig young woman in a blue dress who caught his eye in 1995.

We have this on the authority of high-ranking members of the Clinton Treasury who gathered in Harvard in the summer of 2001 to mull over the lessons of the 1990s. At that conclave it was revealed that on Clinton’s orders a top secret White House working party had been established to study in detail the basis for a bipartisan policy on Social Security that would splice individual accounts into the program. Such was the delicacy of this exercise that meetings of the group were flagged under the innocent rubric "Special Issues" on the White House agenda. ....

The "Special Issues" secret team was set up by then-Deputy Treasury Secretary Larry Summers (later elevated to Treasury Secretary and now President of Harvard) and Gene Sperling, the head of the Council of Economic Advisers. The task of the Special Issues group was to find an installment of privatization that could reconcile realistic Republicans and Democrats, and be sold as still honoring most existing entitlements. ...

Nevertheless, under Summers’ guidance, the secret team pushed forward. There were high hopes that the President would embrace what had by now had become a detailed blueprint: "The working group’s estimates were at the level of detail that it was determined how many digits an ID number would have to be for each fund and how many key strokes would therefore be required to enter all of the ID numbers each year."

Clinton was kept up to date with briefings every few weeks and in July 1998 attended one of the "Special Issues" meetings himself. But in that same month he was served with a grand jury subpoena. A month later he finally acknowledged a sexual relationship with Monica.

By the end of 1998 the secret team concluded with heavy hearts that the escalating Lewinsky affair might well doom all their efforts. The President was desirous to be seen doing something dramatic for Social Security, but not anything risky. It could be controversial, but controversial in the direction of doing more for the program, not endangering it. As one team member put it this summer in the Harvard conclave: "Toward the end of 1998, as the possibility that the President would be impeached came clearly into view, the policy dynamic of the Social Security debate changed dramatically and it became clear to the White House that this was not the time to take risks on the scale that would be necessary to achieve a deal on an issue as contentious as Social Security reform."

Clinton was so desperate for an approach that would prove popular that he was even prepared to disappoint Wall Street. "The President decided to follow a strategy of trying to unite the Democrats around a plan that would strengthen Social Security by transferring budget surpluses to Social Security and investing a portion in equities." ...

Under the lash of the Lewinsky crisis, a President had issued a full-throated endorsement of the Social Security system. It was a terrible blow to a spectrum of opinion that stretched from the Cato Institute and Third Millennium to many New Democrats, including Senator Joseph Lieberman, who has proclaimed the need for individual accounts in the name of "choice".

So, thank you Monica Lewinsky! You get massive good karma points!

Average: 5 (1 vote)


jo6pac's picture
Submitted by jo6pac on

the sad thing is I don't think there will be a problem in 0 doing this by end of term. The demodogs will do their normal roll over after 2014 for their puppet masters and so will repugs in that the puppet masters see this as the best chance to finish off Main Street.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

Commission "folks."

Can't remember the name of the Commission member ('cause I'd never heard of him), but some private equity guy was running around claiming that the Bush (privatization) plan will be on-the-table.

Who knows--but it wouldn't surprise me.

Which really isn't necessarily any worse than the Democratic cuts to Social Security. Heck, with the myriad of cuts that Bowles-Simpson (and the Grand Bargain, by extension) recommends--the cuts may be deeper than the Bush cuts. (Think the Bush cuts were 23-25%, and the B-S cuts, according to Rep Jan Schakowsky, come to as high as 35-38%, IIRC. She outlines this in her Reuters Op-Ed, "The Sham Of Simpson-Bowles."

And I heard on C-Span yesterday, part of a hearing that referred to the new Military Commission which has been convened to completely revamp ALL military benefits--from the pay scale to their health and retirement benefits.

This may take care of the problem of people enlisting--don't think too many people will want to put their life on the line, for the paltry benefits that will be left on-the-table when this Commission issues its recommendations (whenever that is--got in on the tail end of it)

And, as I've mentioned several times, Dems are definitely going after federal "civilian service" retirement benefits.

Been talking to OPM about this (where we can time our federal retirements), and an OPM Manager confirmed that Bowles-Simpson not only proposes to apply the Chained (Superlative) CPI to CSRS and FERS COLAs, they propose changing the "retirement formula."

(Top "5" instead of Top "3," and several other changes that would considerably decrease the monthly/lifetime benefits.)

From where I stand, it appears that the [bipartisan] Washington Establishment intends to take away retirement security from all sectors--reducing federal government retirements to no more than "defined contribution" plans. (like the private sector)

We are just grateful that we will be covered by defined benefit plans--but of course, it may not mean too much, unless we file before the Democrats get their "Grand Bargain."


Oh, Mr A told me to check out something on Warren, which I'm going to do, and report back--if it amounts to anything. He was not impressed!