Judd Gregg's Plan To Destroy Social Security

by: Chris Bowers

Mon Feb 02, 2009 at 17:19

New Hampshire Republican Senator Judd Gregg is one of the leading candidates to become Commerce Secretary, if not the leading candidate. If he were to become Commerce Secretary, the Democratic Governor of New Hampshire would appoint a Republican a replace his seat.

So, for some reason, in the wake of total Republican intransigence on the stimulus bill, the Obama administration will respond by putting a Republican in charge of one the federal departments overseeing the economy. Judd Gregg himself has said he will oppose the stimulus package. That is certainly an, um, interesting way for the Obama administration to incentivize Republican opposition. Oppose President Obama, and he will reward you by giving you a cabinet position.

It is worth noting what sort of ideas Judd Gregg has for the economy: a commission of center-right insiders operating in secret and circumventing Congress in order to destroy Social Security and Medicare.

More in the extended entry.

Chris Bowers :: Judd Gregg's Plan To Destroy Social Security
Judd Gregg, and the currently anti-stimulus Democrat Kent Conrad, both of whom voted to set $700 billion on fire, are pushing to redirect the blaze to Social Security and health care:

Revamping entitlement programs and the tax code would be a stunningly ambitious undertaking. Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush tried and failed to overhaul the nation's retirement and health-care systems; the U.S. tax code hasn't been refurbished since Ronald Reagan was in office in 1986. But lawmakers said the soaring deficit is finally helping forge a consensus for action.

"I want a process that leads us to a conclusion this year," said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and an outspoken deficit hawk. "It's essential that we do this now."

At the moment, discussions are focused on whether to name a special panel to make the difficult decisions that would be required to right the nation's finances. Key senators in both parties are backing a plan put forward by Conrad and the Budget Committee's senior Republican, Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.), that would create a task force of lawmakers and administration officials. The task force would wrestle with the details of Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and the tax code, and deliver a reform plan to Congress for a vote later this year.

Under the proposal, the task force's recommendations could not be amended; the House and Senate would be required to accept or reject them without changes or additions, similar to the process lawmakers use to close military bases.

The House and the Senate can't amend this super-constitutional task force, eh? That sounds like a democratic process. I'm sure the Villagers on the commission would be responsive to the needs of the population at large, given their recent behavior.

Fortunately, both Speaker Pelosi and President Obama oppose this plan, according to the same article I linked above. So, we are unlikely to be subjected to such an atrocrity.

However, it still speaks volumes about who President Obama appears ready to make Commerce Secretary, and without any benefit of having 60 Senators. If you can think of a reason why this is a good thing, please let me know in the comments.

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It all depends on who this replacement is... (4.00 / 2)
...if the replacement votes for cloture 90% of the time, then it's much better than even a democrat, since it is a poke in the eye of McConnell, without the weight of, "We have 60 senators and now it's all on us."

It could be a huge win for us overall... but, it all depends on who the replacement is...

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!

the Republican appointee (4.00 / 2)
Say it absolutely positively has to be a Republican replacement, then Dwight D. Eisenhower is my choice.

Dwight Eisenhower was the principal force behind the greatest single expansion of Social Security beneficiaries in the history of the program. He led the legislative drive to add over ten million Americans to the system. Here's how it developed.


[ Parent ]
I like Ike too (0.00 / 0)
A dead Eisenhower will still be more interesting and eloquent than most living ReThuglicans. Good choice.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates

[ Parent ]
did the dems win? (0.00 / 0)
im simply appalled by the whole thing. so is obama going to gun after ss and medicare some other way? i thought the dems won?

Yes, they did. (0.00 / 0)
Is it logical to read this post and assume Obama wants to implement changes that would adversely impact SS and Medicare?

[ Parent ]
It's a good thing (4.00 / 10)
because Republicans will reward this bipartisanship by enthusiastically supporting EFCA, universal health care, and sanity on climate change.

Seriously, maybe Gregg agreed to support the stimulus, for what little that's worth?

I mean, can Gregg really vote against O's signature piece of legislation before heading into the administration?

Oh, yeah. Of course he can.

I've got them post-partisan blues.

Exactly! (4.00 / 1)
I'm sure Gregg will be most interested creating a sustainable economy, based on Fair Trade principles and will do everything possible to help in the battle against global warming, ecologically disastrous policies and peak oil.

Yes We Can't!

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates

[ Parent ]
Judd Gregg (4.00 / 4)
I'm just going to assume Obama no longer has any reason to appoint Gregg, so it won't happen.  But we should all scream Bloody Hell to make sure that assumption holds.


To make Obama's case for him, (4.00 / 2)
the replacement Senator, Bonnie Newman, would not run in 2010, has a much more moderate background than Judd Gregg (despite having staffed for him in the House, in the 80s), endorsed Democrat Lynch in his two-point victory over incumbent Republican Gov Craig Benson in 2004, and would vote along the lines of Susan Collins or Olympia Snowe.  So there are benefits in the 111th Congress, in the 2010 campaign cycle, and in the 112th Congress and beyond, when Senator Hodes is occupying a seat that Gregg is currently on course to retain (I'd say he has a 60-40 shot at re-election).

All this in exchange for a notoriously minor department.

It's not nearly as good a trade as I had hoped, but I think it's probably still a trade worth making.

Bonnie Newman (0.00 / 0)
I don't know anything about Bonnie Newman, but if we already know who the Republican replacement will be, that definitely changes the nature of the debate.  Heck, we don't even need a vote, we just need someone who won't filibuster.  If Bonnie Newman is that person, I could change my mind and support this.

[ Parent ]
Per Blue Hampshire (0.00 / 0)
that hasn't been confirmed.  

Darkness has a hunger that's insatiable, and lightness has a call that's hard to hear.  

[ Parent ]
pfft (0.00 / 0)
At the moment, discussions are focused on whether to name a special panel to make the difficult decisions that would be required to right the nation's finances.

I wish the Democrats would wake up and pass and sign into law the easy decisions and then deal with the "difficult" ones.  There is enormous resentment right now at the top 1% - how about taking back the trillion dollars they were given?  Ending the wars?  Facilitating union organizing?  These are all things that would potentially be massively popular and at the same time would build a base for the party - which you would think would be obviously in their interests.

Obama is starting to look clumsy. (3.56 / 9)
Daschle, Geithner, and flip-flopping on renegotiating NAFTA, buy American, eliminating the Bush tax-cuts, and CEO bonus caps for bailed out banks,  

You are looking clumsy (1.00 / 4)
For making 90% of that shit up.

[ Parent ]
Daschle and Geithner are made up? (4.00 / 1)
CEO bonuses and Buy American, well documented on this site, are made up?

[ Parent ]
Makes no sense (4.00 / 3)

 A DEMOCRATIC president is appointing a Republican anti-worker corporatist to Commerce?

 That's change we can believe in.


"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn

Well... (4.00 / 1)
Not too sure i understand this one... unless Lynch is lying and will screw over Gregg.     Otherwise, maybe Lynch appoints a moderate GOPer who supports the stimulus bill?   That's the only thing that makes any sense to me.   Outside of that, this just seems rather stupid.

There is NO good reason to appoint Gregg (4.00 / 3)
if Lynch doesn't appoint a Democrat  or we don't get to 60 votes in the Senate.

Not one good reason...at this point with a Republican going to take his place,  there is absolutely no reason at all.

All this does is to now cast into doubt any other time there is a vacancy and the governor doesn't appoint a republican...The RNC would howl, the NRSC would howl, the media would get on its high horse and shout you're not being bi partisan.  But of course only if it's a Democratic governor replacing a erpublican Senator.

It wouldn't be the same howl if a Democratic senator left office and had a replacement chosen by a Republican governor...then the rules would go back to what has obtained before..  Of course it would go back to it's okay to appoint a Republican to take a Democratic seat.

Why is Gregg so needed at Commerce that once again Obama is signalling that he can be had?

Why do you need someone who doesn't believe in your agenda?

At this point in time, the only power Republicans have is the power Obama and other Democrats are givng them.  They have none of their own yet in terms of votes....They whine and howl loud enough, the media hears them...but that's because this adminstration and congress has cleared the field for their yelling.

It has gone from "Pass a good Stimulus bill or you (Reublicans) won't get reeelcted"  to Republicans saying  "Change this bill to what we want and maybe we might flirt with voting for it...but then we won't"  

This is called enabling...Obama and the Dems are enabling the Republicans. The Democrats are in charge, yet the Democrats, not the Republicans,  are moving the Overton window on how to govern toward the Republican way.

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"

You going to correct (0.00 / 0)
your post about the cost of the pending bad bank fiasco? its really wrong.

~* the * Will * to go on *~

Why do you hate Obama? (0.00 / 0)
Didn't you get invited to a house party where you could watch a video from the campaign, er, administration and then get asked for money?

What's wrong with you?

I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse -- I will not retreat a single inch -- AND I WILL BE HEARD.  

What exactly are Judd Gregg's qualifications? (0.00 / 0)
I'm forced to ask, is Barack Obama really just head-faking the nation, or has he gone completely bat-fuck insane? For one vote that he doesn't need - Republicans are not going to filibuster the stimulus, because then they take blame - he's giving a cabinet post - admittedly a minor one, but not an irrlevant one - to somebody who supports almost none of his agenda, has no obvious qualifications and brings no benefit.

What the hell is his plan here?

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog

I'm pretty sure the stimulus will not be the only cloture vote of the 111th Congress. (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
And I'm pretty sure (0.00 / 0)
That Gregg's replacement will not always vote for cloture. Even if such a promise were made, it is supremely unenforceable and breaking it would not be newsworthy enough to cause a backlash.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog

[ Parent ]
Playing devil's advocate here... (0.00 / 0)
Though I think this is a bad pick.

1.  The secretary of commerce will never be a progressive.  At best, the position will be filled by a Lieberdem.  

2.  The office has essentially no regulatory functions, mainly collecting information, advising, and in a few cases disbursing grants.  Probably the census is the biggest thing of interest here (oddly, the National Weather Service is also here)

3.  As others have said, a more moderate Republican, particularly one who will not stand for re-election, makes the seat much more likely to flip to the Dems in 2010.

4.  I'd rather it go to a Republican now anyway, as the alternative was likely a Lieberdem like Swett, who we would likely never be able to get out of office.  This gives a chance for someone marginally more progressive like Hodes to take a run for the seat.  

opposition leeds to appointment (0.00 / 0)

You obviously need to oppose Obama's proposals more often. Maybe he will appoint you to a cabinet position if you do.

Obama opposes the plan? (4.00 / 1)
No he doesn't. He just opposes creating the commission in the stimulus package.

Read it again:

Obama specifically mentioned the Gregg-Conrad proposal when he met with Senate Republicans last week. Several senators told him they would like to see such a task force created as part of the economic stimulus bill, saying the promise of a fiscal reckoning would make the massive measure easier to swallow.

But Obama "was not supportive" of that idea, said Gregg, whom Obama may tap to join the administration as Commerce secretary. "I think they think it's just too big a lift for the stimulus package."

Now read Chris Cillizza from 1/15:

President-elect Barack Obama will convene a "fiscal responsibility summit" in February designed to bring together a variety of voices on solving the long term problems with the economy and with a special focus on entitlements, he said during an interview with Washington Post reporters and editors this afternoon.

"We need to send a signal that we are serious," said Obama of the summit.

Those invited to attend will include Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (N.D.), ranking minority member Judd Gregg (N.H.), the conservative Democratic Blue Dog coalition and a host of outside groups with ideas on the matter, said the president-elect.

Gregg, Conrad, and Blue Dog Jim Cooper wanted this as part of the stimulus package. They didn't get that, but instead got the go-ahead for the summit in advance of the stimulus vote. Cooper's vote? Against.

Revolution (0.00 / 0)
It's time for the people of America to stage a second revolution and restore the original constitution.

Congress and Senate are so corrupted by the monied shadow government, and Obama so unwilling or unable to act on behalf of the American people, that a revolution is needed to clean up the system.

The few bright spots in Obama's cabinet and legislation are increasingly outweighed by the blackness.

Next, will come the collapse of the dollar, the introduction of the Amero, which will wipe out whatever pockets of wealth are left in America, and complete the transfer of American assets to the elite. They have oil and gold and can buy up everything in the cash starved, crashed economy. They will also have the Fed's Amero printing presses to get all the cash first.

When American's become desperate in their tens and hundreds of millions, Obama and Biden will implement martial law - and go down in history as the most treacherous and weak government America has ever had.


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