The Note: Budgeting Time

The Washington Post's Christopher Lee writes up Vice President Cheney's Foxy acknowledgement yesterday that the Social Security plan will involve borrowing trillions of dollars in the coming decades. LINK

Allan Sloan of Newsweek examines the fine print and attempts a blissful numbers-and-economics-only look at Social Security. LINK

Newsweek's new poll shows that 26 percent of Americans support President Bush's plan, 36 oppose it, and 30 percent say they aren't familiar with it. Loads of interesting stuff in here on generational splits and differences in how people view the role of government. LINK

"The only age group that believes the potential returns outweigh the risk is 18- to 34-year-olds, and even they are divided (48 percent says it's a necessary risk, 46 percent says it's too big a risk.) More mature Americans betray no such uncertainty: Of those 55 years old and older, 65 percent say investing in the market is too risky; only 25 percent say it's a necessary risk."

The President has 90 days to sell his vision, says Sen. Chuck Grassley. LINK

More GOP doubters. LINK

Rep. Mike Pence and the House Republican Study Conference want the President to go further and "said the members' objections to new or increased taxes to pay for the president's plan was deafening. Mr. Pence said the group also called for allowing workers to set aside 6 percent, instead of the president's proposed 4 percent, of their wages, roughly all of their Social Security payroll tax, for individual accounts." LINK

But National Review senses optimism in the House. LINK

Jeff Birnbaum senses the renewed power of the Chamber of Commerce, and we'd Note that Bush himself plans a visit to the chamber HQ on Wednesday to tout class action. LINK

Also: "The chamber has hired the Swiss Guard of paid consultants from both political parties. Several showed up at a recent dinner hosted by Donohue at the chamber, including Al From, chief executive of the Democratic Leadership Council . . . "

E-mail us, please, Mr. From, and explain that.

Bush agenda:

At least in terms of image, Secretary Rice's global tour has been an incredible success. The press corps wasn't quite sure.. They had a few doubts . . . LINK

The Wall Street Journal's James Haggerty reports that the Bush Administration may seek a tighter rein over GSEs like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Today on Air America Radio:

Jose Canseco says he did steroids while on the Texas Rangers, and, per the New York Daily News, "claims the team's general managing partner at the time -- an aspiring politician named George W. Bush -- had to have been aware that his players were using performance-enhancing drugs but did nothing about it." LINK

"White House spokesman Ken Lisaius declined to comment on the allegations, but he noted that President Bush called on players and owners during his 2004 State of the Union address to get rid of steroids and applauded the beefed-up drug policy Major League Baseball and the Players Association agreed to in December."

"'This President's position on steroids has been clear for some time,' Lisaius said." The President is a fan of Tom Wolfe's, and therefore, of his latest: "I Am Charlotte Simmons." LINK

We'd like to remind everyone that Richard Wolffe of Newsweek had the "Charlotte Simmons" tidbit weeks ago.

DNC chair's race:

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