Thursday, February 03, 2005

Partisan heckling on Social Security

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that was the Democrats heckling President Bush when he talked of the need to save Social Security. Apparently, they don't like it when presidents put phrases like this into the State of the Union address:
...until we have taken all the necessary measures to strengthen the Social Security system for the 21st century.

Let us say – let us say to all Americans watching tonight, whether you're 70 or 50, or whether you just started paying into the system, Social Security will be there when you need it. Let us make this commitment: Social Security first. Let's do that – together.
So why didn't they heckle President Clinton when he said those exact words in the 1998 State of the Union address?

(Hat tip: Protein Wisdom commenter Noelle Franzen.)

Update: More here from Byron York:
There should be no new spending — or, more importantly, no tax cuts — [Clinton said in February 1998,] "before we take care of the crisis in Social Security that is looming when the baby boomers retire."

A number of Clinton's arguments back then sound uncannily like Bush's today, if one makes a few adjustments for newly revised figures on Social Security's finances. "We have a great opportunity now to take action now to avert a crisis in the Social Security system," Clinton said, again in February 1998. "By 2030, there will be twice as many elderly as there are today, with only two people working for every person drawing Social Security. After 2032, contributions from payroll taxes will only cover 75 cents on the dollar of current benefits. So we must act, and act now, to save Social Security."

I hate to defend Bush by pointing out where he sounds "uncannily similar" to Clinton. But it does lend perspective to the partisanship of the Democratic heckling.