Mitch McConnell and the Solvency Tap Dance

MITCH McCONNELL AND THE SOLVENCY TAP DANCE….Here’s a handy new blog: Sunday Morning Talk. You can check in on Saturday to see the lineup for each of the Sunday talk shows, and then check in on Sunday for a few highlights and links to transcripts as they come up.

So I clicked around a bit and skimmed through the transcript of Meet The Press today. Turns out that Tim Russert spent a bit of time asking Mitch McConnell if private accounts actually did anything to improve the solvency of Social Security. McConnell was, um, reluctant to answer:

MR. RUSSERT: Senator Charles Grassley, a Republican, the chairman of the Finance Committee, told reporters in Iowa that “Congress should focus on the solvency of Social Security rather than the president’s plan to create personal investment accounts for younger workers.”….That’s a Republican, chairman of the Finance Committee. Why not set aside personal private accounts and deal with solvency?

SEN. McCONNELL: Well, why don’t we talk about all of it? Blah, blah, blah.

….MR. RUSSERT: What does private personal accounts do to fix the solvency problem? I don’t understand that.

SEN. McCONNELL: What personal accounts are is an extraordinarily good investment, blah, blah, blah.

MR. RUSSERT: But how does that help the solvency problem?

SEN. McCONNELL: But why not discuss it? Blah, blah, blah.

MR. RUSSERT: Private accounts don’t seem to deal with the solvency problem alone. And the White House acknowledges that.

SEN. McCONNELL: What we want to do is blah, blah, blah.

Lotsa laughs there. I think we can take this as a tacit acknowledgment that private accounts don’t, in fact, do anything to improve Social Security’s solvency.

And as long as we’re in the laughs department, note also Russert’s use of “personal private accounts,” “private personal accounts,” and (elsewhere in the interview) “private and personal accounts.” Now that’s evenhanded!