The Note: Astriding Europe Like a Reformer Seeking Results

He then butts this sentence: "One top Senate Democratic aide calls tax increases 'a given' if the overhaul effort gets off the ground." with the outright opposition of Rep. Mike Pence. And/but there's even encouragement from a Heritage Foundation senior fellow.

The Washington Post's Mike Allen headed to Wisconsin with Rep. Paul Ryan as the congressman on the Ways and Means Committee began his listening tour of his district, both to push the President's Social Security plan and to gauge the reaction there to offer his party leadership some guidance on how to sell it. LINK

Ryan puts the chances of passage as not that high, and, as Allen points out, not as many Republican members are taking up the Social Security issue this recess as leadership would have liked.

The New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg has a canny look at the many ambitions of Rep. Jim McCrery; the man who wants to save Social Security; the man who wants to be the next chair of the Ways and Means committee; the man who wants to represent his skeptical constituents; the man who once a Democrat. (He doesn't want be in the Senate, though). LINK

The last sentence just might send chills down certain sensitive spines:

"'If we get a bill to the president, or we don't get a bill to the president,' he said, 'I hope at the end of this, people won't say, "Jim McCrery is the one who messed this up."' "

The Los Angeles Times' Peter Gosselin looks at how well personal investment accounts have fared among public employees over the last decade in seven states that have offered them. Answer: not all that well, in terms of levels of participation and rates of return. "While Americans are just beginning to grapple with the president's proposal for private accounts, employees and retirement officials in Michigan, Montana, Washington, West Virginia and other states have discovered that the accounts can fall far short of their promise. Their experiences sound a cautionary note for Bush as well as for California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has proposed switching public employees to private accounts starting in 2007."

"The accounts Bush is proposing are not a precise match to the ones states have offered in recent years. And the low signup rate for accounts among state workers may be partly because more of them are covered by generous pensions than are American workers generally, so they may feel less need for the accounts. But the tepid response to accounts in some places casts doubt on one of the central premises of the Bush plan: that Americans are clamoring to join the investor class."

"The poor performance of many of the accounts leaves experts to wonder whether most people, even among those who want to make their own retirement investments, have the time or knowledge to do so successfully."

On Sunday, the Washington Post's David Broder, writing that the President's Social Security plan "is hanging by a thread," explained the treacherous waters for Republican lawmakers who risk finding themselves targets to groups who oppose the plan -- and likened it to the Clinton health care overhaul plan. LINK

On Saturday, the Washington Post's Jim VandeHei examined how private accounts for Social Security would affect the safety net for low-income workers -- and Sen. Lindsey Graham's statement that he'd support better benefits for the working poor to help the President's plan pass. LINK

2008:

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