Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Short News Takes

Social Security Meltdown For McCain

Sen. John McCain doesn’t seem to know just how Social Security works, shocking those who assumed a presidential candidate might have a better grasp of the issue. Ya think the press will be just as outraged.

AP writes, “Asked by a young woman if she is likely to receive Social Security benefits someday, McCain said it was unlikely "unless we fix it." "Americans have got to understand that we are paying present-day retirees with the taxes paid by young workers in America today," he said. "And that's a disgrace. It's an absolute disgrace, and it's got to be fixed."

Some Democrats criticized the remarks because McCain basically was describing how Social Security has always worked. Current retiree benefits are supplied by payroll taxes from current workers. Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said Social Security has "always been pay as you go, with today's workers paying for today's retirees. What's a disgrace is that this is news to John McCain."

Iraq Wants Timetable, Bush Doesn’t

AP’s headline, "Electoral pressure seen driving Iraq pullout timetable demands," may indicate that those who wanted to put pressure on Iraq by withdrawing soon, had the right idea all along.

Insistent demands from the Iraqi government for a firm timetable for the pullout of foreign troops reflect huge pressure from its Shiite majority constituency in the runup to key provincial elections. The calls have been given strong backing by the Shiite spiritual hierarchy which the mainly religious parties that lead the governing coalition have found almost impossible to ignore. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told Arab ambassadors that Iraq was demanding a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign forces as it negotiates a deal with Washington for a military presence beyond 2008. National Security Adviser Muwaffaq al-Rubaie announced that Iraq would reject any deal that does not contain a timetable for a troop withdrawal.

It looks like the Bush administration got caught off guard and may have tipped it’s hand that it has no intention of leaving. “Washington continues to refuse to set a firm date for the withdrawal of foreign forces, saying any drawdown will be based on conditions on the ground. "The US government and the government of Iraq are in agreement that we, the US government, we want to withdraw, we will withdraw. However, that decision will be conditions-based," State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said. "We're looking at conditions, not calendars here."

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