I missed Meet the Press yesterday and only this morning saw the “strange” excerpts on Drudge featuring the comments of Bill Thomas, the loose-lipped chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee from Bakersfield, CA. Mr. Thomas seemed to be advocating, or at least floating, sex and race based payouts for Social Security.
Being a suspicious type, I moseyed over to MSNBC to read the entire transcript to make sure Thomas wasn’t being quoted out of context. [Why would you do that?–ed. Oh, you know… just for fun.] Well, he wasn’t. Thomas was indeed putting forth the idea that women might get smaller checks because, on average, they live longer. Leaving aside the odd Methusalah-like male who might be stuck in the same old rusty wheelchair at age 98, this is one of the more tin-eared comments I have ever heard a politician make. (Earth-to-Thomas, women are the majority.) It’s hard to tell what he was talking about in the race area, but I’m glad Russert didn’t probe. I don’t want to know. Anyway, by the time whatever changes kick in, 2040 or so, let’s hope we’re finally and forever in a race-blind society.
Meanwhile, in all this partisan brouhaha over Social Security, one thing suddenly struck me (probably struck a lot of others a long time ago). Those of us who are lucky enough to have business or union pensions (like Members of Congress and the Writers Guild of America, for just two examples), which almost always pay out vastly more money for our retirements than Social Security, know that those plans depend for their future stability on prudent stock investment. I don’t hear anyone complaining about that – from either side of the aisle.