Dayton v. Kennedy

Returning Senator Mark Dayton to the Ranks of the Idle Rich in 2006

12/22/2004

Bob Roberts, We Hardly Knew Ye

Early on election night 2002, when it became all too obvious that Tim Penny would not win Minnesota's gubernatorial race, he pulled out his six string and began playing for his disappointed entourage of supporters. This peculiar scene could be seen "live" on multiple network affiliates in the Twin Cities and was simultaneously heart-warming and disturbing -- eerily like Bob Roberts, one of only a handful of Tim Robbins films worth watching.

Musical talent aside, Penny has always been one of DvK's favorite Democrats for his sanity on fiscal and defense issues. We pine for the days when herds of similarly prudent Democrats roamed the plains in great numbers. Regardless of party affiliation, as The First Ring points out, Penny has returned to his old cogent self with his recent defense of President Bush's Social Security reform proposal. As the transcript below will reveal, Bush would do well to tap Penny as a spokesperson-in-chief for his monumental reform effort. It would also put Senator Dayton in the unenviable position of arguing a position contrary to one of Minnesota's most articulate Democrats:

”Well, with each passing generation, we’re going to be cutting and pasting, as we did back in 1983. Which means that for each age cohort, we’re going to end up taxing them more and paying them less. That’s the only way you can keep the current system in the black.

With personal accounts, they may have to give up a little in their basic benefit, but they have opportunity, through these personal accounts, to earn all of that back plus more.

Actually, we had the Social Security Administration run numbers on a plan that we did as part of the president’s commission. And it demonstrated that in every wage bracket, American workers in the future, under this sort of a combined system a floor of benefits under the traditional program, plus a supplement invested in these personal accounts, would do better than they would do under the promised benefits in the current system. So that’s how it affects the individual.

How it affects the system as a whole is simply that this then becomes a permanent fix. At some point in the future, with you then have a system that is solvent. It has enough revenue coming in each year to pay the safety net benefits. But it also has these supplemental accounts owned by the individuals. And those accounts then become money that the government can’t cut or take away from you in the future.”


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