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"Only Nixon can go to China," part whatever

Last night's speech really drove home how far we've come on Social Security. We're actually having a serious national debate on private accounts, which a decade ago was unimaginable. I worry, however, that we haven't yet come far enough to make it a reality, and that this golden opportunity might be lost. Let's face it: many politicians will oppose any Bush initiative simply because it comes from Bush.

I found myself wishing that Bill Clinton had done more on this issue. He was clearly interested in the idea of partial privatization, but he failed to go to the mat for it. Granted, Clinton also faced staunch opposition in Congress, but he was very successful when it came to pushing "conservative" issues, such as welfare reform and NAFTA.

At the end of the day, Clinton was more a detail guy than a broad vision guy. That's too bad, because meaningful Social Security reform could have been his legacy. Would he have succeeded? I don't know, but I do think he would have had a stronger chance than Bush. Unfortunately, he didn't want to take the political risk, and that's too bad. Our current president is more than willing to take the risk, but the winds are not at his back.


Bush will get his SS reform. He might not get his tax reform.

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