And somehow, you just knew it would be the Democrats:
It’s the Democrats who have progressives feeling queasy.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer explicitly put the idea on the table as well in a speech last month. “We should consider a higher retirement age or one pegged to lifespan,” Hoyer said.
He echoed House Majority Whip James Clyburn, who put it this way: “With minor changes to the program such as raising the salary cap and raising the retirement age by one month every year, the program could become solvent for the next 75 years.” One month a year may not sound like much, but if you’re 30 years away from retirement, that adds up to almost three years.
In the House, though, Nancy Pelosi is the linchpin, and she’s not nearly as enthusiastic as her colleagues. But, notwithstanding the enthusiasm gap, she also left the possibility of raising the retirement age on the table. When asked about it by TPMDC at her press conference last week, she criticized the plan, but mainly to say she disagrees with putting Social Security on the chopping block ahead of other measures. “Why they would start talking about a place that could be harmful to our seniors — 70 is a relative age,” Pelosi said. “Around here, there’s not a lot of outdoor work or heavy lifting. But for some people it is, and 70 means something different to them. So in any event let’s talk about growth, let’s talk about how we can reduce spending, let’s put everything, those initiatives: promoting growth, tightening the belt, looking at entitlements. But let’s not start on the backs of our seniors.”
There’s one catch, though. Last week, Democrats included a rider to the supplemental war spending bill that will likely force the House to vote on a forthcoming fiscal reform plan, if the Senate passes it first. That package is being put together by President Obama’s deficit and debt commission, and will be ready to go after the midterms. Pelosi had already pledged to give the package a vote, so perhaps nothing has really changed. But in a way, she also tied her own hands: if the Senate passes a broad tax-and-entitlement reform package at the end of this Congress and her own caucus is willing, she’ll be hard-pressed to stop the Social Security reforms she thinks should come last.
Of course, that puts the onus on the Senate, which can’t pass much of anything these days,especially if it includes tax hikes — and any serious effort to pull the country back from the brink of fiscal crisis will have to include some of those. But if there’s a fluke, or an unexpected decision on the part of 60 senators to hold hands and jump together, it could happen swiftly, with very little notice.
Don’t get mad, get organized! And call your congress critters every single time you read a story like this to tell them you don’t support it.
To think that people are using Tasers unnecessarily! We do not know of such things!
MARRERO — Family members of Derek Thomas, nephew of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, are alleging that the younger Thomas, was punched and tazed when he was admitted to West Jefferson Hospital Thursday.
The family says the use of the taser caused Thomas to have a seizure.
According to at statement from the family, Derek Thomas, who is epileptic, refused to put on a hospital gown and tried to leave his examination after a possible suicide attempt. They say security “punched him in his lip, pulled out more than a fistful of his dredlocks and tasered him to restrain him.”
Doctors knew about Thomas’ epilepsy, but ordered security officers to use the taser anyway, instead of sedating him, the family says.
Newcomers always say to me (with a combination of scorn and wonder), “No one ever leaves here.” I correct them: “Some people leave here, but they usually come back.”
There’s a sense of place here you don’t always find in a big city. When people ask you where you went to school, they don’t mean college: They mean grade school. Yeah, it’s tribalism. So what? Is there some magical place where tribalism doesn’t exist?
But one of the things I love most about Philadelphia is that, much like the inhabitants, it isn’t overly impressed with itself. That attitude has made us a major destination for foodies, because you can actually afford to eat in good restaurants here. (Unlike, say, our Amtrak neighbor to the north.) And here, restaurants rise and fall on quality, not concept and hype.
I’ve taken visitors out here and they can’t quite believe that you can have such good food for so little money. “If it’s not good, or if it’s overpriced, Philadelphians won’t go to it,” I explain with a shrug. “We won’t pay extra to, you know, feel good about ourselves for being seen at a certain kind of restaurant. People here just don’t think like that.”
And the streets are filled with such history here. It’s hard to explain that to people who live in places where nothing ever happened, because so much happened here. It’s just that kind of place. A psychic I once interviewed told me, “Philadelphia has a very settled energy. People come here to incubate ideas. We don’t have major disruptions.” I think that’s true. This is a good city in which to chill, kind of like Baltimore on steroids.
Over the past ten years, there’s been a steady influx of New Yorkers into the area: Artists, writers, musicians. Forced out by New York City’s housing costs, a lot of them came here determined to stay just long enough until they could afford to Go Back. But they stayed anyway.
And why not? It’s so seductive here. You get to do a lot of really interesting things with interesting people, and it’s so much more affordable than anywhere else. (Plus, the lifestyle’s a lot less frenetic.) You can buy a warehouse and turn it into painting studios here for what it would cost to buy a one-bedroom condo in Brooklyn – and it’s only a $10 bus ride to Manhattan.
Houses are pretty cheap here. I was looking on Craigslist the other day at a five-bedroom Victorian brownstone — for $189,000. Already fixed up, on a good street in a decent neighborhood near Center City. In New York, you probably couldn’t even buy a studio apartment for that amount.
And Philadelphia has no predetermined image to live up to (other than that guy who puked on the little girl at the Phillies game — but he was from Jersey!). We’re not the center of the universe, like New York, or the seat of power, like D.C. We get to constantly reinvent ourselves, because we can.
I love the lack of pretense. My son was talking to me the other day about why he hates hipsters: “Instead of actually being different, they’ve accepted the marketing concept that simply wearing the right ironic accessories and doing certain things like bowling make them special.
“It’s not that bowling isn’t fun, because it is,” he said. “It’s that they’re not authentically enjoying it, it’s only an ironic statement about people who do. They’re not having real lives, because they’re always mentally off in a corner somewhere, observing themselves. They’re not really here.”
Most of the people here? They’re really here. The rest? Well, they’re from out of town. They’ll figure it out eventually.
This isn’t the kind of thing I expect from a Democratic administration, but apparently I was too optimistic.