Mind you, that’s not because Obama and his advisers don’t have a lot of nifty ideas about how to put Social Security on a sound financial footing while minimizing the hardship to senior citizens and taxpayers. It’s just that, in this case, they’re keeping them to themselves for tactical reasons (my emphasis):“The White House will not prominently inject itself into congressional negotiations on Social Security reform until after key legislators in both the House and Senate unveil their plans to reduce projected long-term deficits, according to administration officials.”
Has there ever been an administration that's better than this one at keeping its powder dry? When it came to the stimulus bill, the administration wouldn't presume to tell Congress how to get the most stimulative bang for the nation’s bucks because we couldn’t afford to delay getting all that money out the door to fund all those “shovel-ready” projects that Obama now tells us didn’t exist. When it came to what we charitably call “ObamaCare,” the administration didn’t tell Congress whether it wanted a public option, a Medicare buy-in, an individual mandate, etc. because it didn’t want to repeat Bill Clinton’s mistake of getting a Democratic Congress’s back up by trying to steamroll it into passing a prefabricated version of health care reform. When it came to financial reform, the administration stood aside and let Barney Frank and Chris Dodd hammer out a bill that could get a few Republican votes in the Senate. . . Well you get the point.“That won't please Republican leaders on Capitol Hill, who have attacked Obama for remaining silent in this debate. And these 64 Senate Republicans and Democrats won't be too happy either. But it's part of a broader political and policy strategy the administration is employing to keep Obama's powder dry while Republicans struggle to reduce deficits without increasing revenues in any meaningful way.”
We all know that, even when one party controls the elected branches of government and enjoys a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, no one in the federal government besides the president has the institutional capacity to set the government’s priorities. Presidential leadership is all the more essential in that respect under divided government. But hey, who needs priorities? It’s not as if the government has anything important to do and we’re running out of money to fund it.