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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 12:24 PM
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How Monica Lewinsky Saved Social Security
By: Jane Hamsher Tuesday May 18, 2010 9:00 am Tweet15 Share5

Please welcome Steven Gillon, author of The Pact: Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the Rivalry that Defined a Generation

By 1997, Bill Clinton felt he had the upper hand with Congress and it was time for him to make historic moves. He had replaced Leon Panetta as Chief of Staff with investment banker Erskine Bowles late in his first term, and as author Steven Gillon tells the tale, Bowles brought a sense of order to the White House. Bowles planned to return to the private sector as Clintons second term began, but Bill and Hillary implored him to stay on for one final task: fixing Social Security.

President Obama has likewise entrusted Erskine Bowles with the task of chairing his own Deficit Commission, which is currently meeting in secret to address Social Security and other entitlement issues. Since little is known about the deliberations of that commission, I thought it would be instructive to have Dr. Gillon on to talk about Bowless history of shuttle diplomacy in 1997 to negotiate a deal between Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton to cut Social Security. He based his book The Pact: Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the Rivalry that Defined a Generation on interviews he conducted with Clinton, Gingrich, Bowles and others involved in the negotiations. And according to Bowles, the deal would have gone through save for one factor: the Monica Lewinsky episode.

Bowles was uniquely suited to the task of negotiating a deal on Social Security. He had the trust of Newt Gingrich and the Republicans that Clinton would need to carry out his vision of Social Security reform:

Bowles became the liaison between Clinton and Gingrich, shuttling back and forth brokering deals between Capitol Hill and the White House. Neither man trusted the other, but both trusted Bowles, and he became the key figure in their evolving relationship. You cannot underestimate the role that Erskine played, recalled Joe Gaylord. He and Gingrich liked each other. They trusted each other. Bill Archer, the powerful head of the House Ways and Means Committee, also felt comfortable with Bowles. He was not ideological. He was not pushing the big left agenda. He was there to make things happen between the White House and a Republican Congress. Later, Gingrich would call his appointment decisive, and a turning point in his relationship with the White House. It is the one brief period when you have a significant adult whose experience transcends Washington, who understands making deals and getting business done, and who has a center-right bias in fiscal policy, he said. He had the ability to bridge the White House and my party in Congress.

Clinton had been trying to deal with Social Security for some time. In 1994, HHS Secretary Donna Shalala had appointed the 13-member Danforth Commission to advise on Social Security. She appointed three members from labor (including Richard Trumka), Republican Alan Simpson (appointed by Obama to co-chair his Deficit Commission with Bowles) and Pete Peterson (the hedge-fund billionaire funding much of the current economic work being used to justify dismantling Social Security). The Danforth Commission was always deeply divided and was never able to reach a consensus, largely due to the fact that the appointees had different perspectives, but Obama apparently learned that lesson: His 18-member commission already is packed with 14 members who support cutting benefits, and many who support some form of privatization. It takes 14 votes to pass any recommendation

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WCGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 12:38 PM
Response to Original message
1. The idea of "privatizing" social security is ridiculous....
Edited on Tue May-18-10 12:38 PM by WCGreen
When too much money chases to little assets, you saw the stock boom of the late 90's and the housing boom of the late 2000's and you see what happened there...

The money generated by the markets should be enough to create the money needed for expansion. When you bring outside money into that relationship it skews the results.

When the 401k's started to replace defined pension plans, the market started to take off. Where is all that money now? Evaporated by the same people that chased unreasonable value in the housing market...

Stocks or other asserts that continue to defy reality and outperform the market are either grossly undervalued or so hyped that the valuation has become meaningless. Other than that, it's all speculation.
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indepat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 12:43 PM
Response to Original message
2. Fast- forward to a peek at the USA in twenty to thirty years and what are we likely to see
but ever-increasing poverty, especially among the young and old; an extremely high rate of unemployment and underemployment; a downward spiral in the standard of living; a ruined economy and environment; increased infant and maternity mortality coupled a declining longevity; and even a much further concentration of wealth among the relatively few, who along with large corporations, will wholly own the government, once of, by, and for the people. Welcome America, to the full fruition of the long-held corporatist (fascist) RW wet dream, all aided and abetted and brought to you by blue dogs and fellow travelers. :cry:
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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-19-10 03:08 AM
Response to Reply #2
11. I see the future, and it looks like Russia under Larry Summers and the IMF
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 12:58 PM
Response to Original message
Pay what people are owed.
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Dr.Phool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 01:37 PM
Response to Original message
4. Why is the DLC so intent on fucking us?
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Tutankhamun Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 02:33 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Their motives are virtually identical to those of the GOP.
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 04:31 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. They WANT a Super Elite class and a new gilded age....

The DLC New Team

(Screen Capped from the DLC Website)

They think "they" are going to be members of this Super Elite Class that lives like royalty, and walks on our backs to avoid getting mud on their shoes.
Truth is, very few of our "Political Class" will make the cut.
They will be laughed at by their Puppet Masters when they try to assume their seats at the table.
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Citizen Worker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 08:29 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. The New Team
I would argue that those pictured, and there are many more, know their place well and that is as servants to the Super Elite. However, that doesn't necessarily mean they will be left destitute and out in the streets. Just look at the fortune Clinton has amassed in a short 8 years out of office, over $100 million and growing by the day. No, they aren't and never will be in the same class as the Super Elite but they won't be poor either. As happened with Clinton they will all be taken care of quite handsomely.
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loudsue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-22-10 07:33 AM
Response to Reply #4
14. What don't you understand about INFILTRATORS. They are republicans.
Edited on Sat May-22-10 07:38 AM by loudsue
Their elections are paid for by the corporations (DLC, NDN) and they have intentionally infiltrated the democratic party.

I personally know one of Clinton's benefactors. He is a multi-brazillionaire from Arkansas who, along with a whole host of other rightwing brazillionaires, has funded, friended and prodded the democratic party for the past 28 years. They just all got together after Reagan took over, and said..."ok. We're going to move into the democratic party and take it over." And they did. And they have. And where were the centers of thought on all this? University of Chicago, where Obama taught. Where Leo Strauss taught fascism to the likes of half of the bush administration.

Look no further than the Powell doctrine. Google it. But take some pepto bismol first. You're gonna wanna puke.

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Scuba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 01:41 PM
Response to Original message
5. Thank you Monica...
...for keeping them from stealing this too.
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Citizen Worker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 08:48 PM
Response to Original message
9. It will take a "democrat"
Just as it took a "democrat" to ram NAFTA through despite all of the opposition. The same with "welfare reform." The same with media consolidation and the progenitor of the Patriot Act. All done by a nominal democrat. NAFTA has been an abysmal failure if you work for a living but the elite knew that with George H.W. Bush as president it would not pass a democratic controlled congress so Bill Clinton was given the job. When Clinton signed the media consolidation legislation the majority of media outlets were controlled by 12 corporations. That is now down to 5. When Clinton signed "welfare reform" to "end welfare as we know it" he acknowledged that "this isn't the perfect bill. We can go back and fix it later." Well, here we are 12 years later and in a depression with one out of six people on food stamps and nary a word about "fixing" it. The 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act is the progenitor of the Patriot Act. I read the 1996 legislation and it very unambiguously gives the president the power to simply declare an individual or organization to be terrorist and they can be rounded up and jailed indefinitely. The Patriot Act merely "legalized" holding someone without trial or access to legal counsel. Of course, there's the dismantling of Glass-Steagal that has brought us to the point of national bankruptcy. This legislation was pushed by Robert Rubin and Larry Summers and now we have the largest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich in world history.

When Obama sacked Howard Dean and then named his close advisors from Goldman Sachs alumni I knew he was not the politician he represented himself to be. As with Clinton Obama will do the bidding of the elite and begin the dismantling of Social Security. My guess is if you were born prior to 1955 you will probably still collect the promised amount from the fund. Anyone born after that is going to see a very different program, if it even exists for them. This will all be accomplished using Obama's presidential commission on fiscal reform and thus shield the political class from criticism. Congress will simply rubber stamp the recommendations of the commission and say "blame them not me," and by the way can I have your vote in the next election? Most of us will dutifully comply.
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pokercat999 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 10:26 PM
Response to Original message
10. Actually this makes sense from the Rethug-lite Obama and
his corporatist crew. They will do anything to prop up the stock market and wall st. They have about run through all they can with the Fed and Tarp, SS is one of the last viable programs and it's money is needed to complete the financial rape of America's Middle-class.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-19-10 04:18 AM
Response to Original message
12. Excellent post k*r!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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SuperSloMo Donating Member (17 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-19-10 05:14 PM
Response to Original message
13. Thanks but no thanks
The Monica Lewinsky scandal and ensuing impeachment proceedings tarnished Bill Clinton's reputation so much that Al Gore decided to distance himself from Clinton while campaigning for the presidency in 2000, essentially tying one hand behind his back. This led to an election margin so close that hanging chads, gangs of Republican operatives and the presidential preferences of the Supreme Court justices decided the election. If Gore had felt more comfortable drawing on the successes of the Clinton years in his campaign, and if Clinton had campaigned on his behalf, the election margin would likely have been too large for any of that stuff to be relevant.

Maybe by hooking up with Monica, Bill Clinton shot himself in the foot in terms of being able to "fix" social security in a way that it didn't need. His shot also hit Al Gore though, and made possible at least George W. Bush's first term. I'd like to think there were other ways of blocking the social security fix that wouldn't also lead to the White House disaster that we're still trying to figure out how to clean up now.
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