People have been wondering why the “progressive” Earl Blumenauer would willingly participate in Matt Bai’s hatchet piece on Social Security in the New York Times. Bai says that Blumenauer “sides with the White House” in the belief that “Democrats need to do something now about the federal debt,” starting with “cherished entitlement programs.”
Blumenauer says that Social Security “can’t exist on make-believe money” and therefore “Democrats should remain open to changes in the benefit structure.”
Dean Baker responded to Blumenauer’s ridiculous claims, noting that “The ‘make-believe’ money is United States government bonds that were purchased with workers’ Social Security taxes. Unless Mr. Blumenauer expects a default on the government’s debt, there is nothing make believe about this asset.”
But thought I’d add some perspective on the man himself. Bottom line: I’ve had pieces of toilet paper dragging from my shoe that were more principled than Earl Blumenauer.
July 2007: Earl Blumenauer signs a letter saying he won’t vote for any more war funding that doesn’t have troop withdrawal provisions.
June 2009: Earl Blumenauer votes for war supplemental without troop withdrawal provisions — when his votes actually counts. 39 Democrats could have stopped it; only 32 voted “nay.”
July 2009: Earl Blumenauer is one of 60 members of Congress who sign a letter pledging to vote against any health care bill without a public option:
September 2009: Online public option supporters raise $433,000 for those members of Congress. Blumenauer received $3200 of that money.
October 31, 2009: Blumenauer steps forward and gratuitously smacks Alan Grayson when he said the GOP health care plan is to “die quickly.” Here he is concern trolling in the New York Times:
“You cringe,” said Representative Earl Blumenauer, Democrat of Oregon and an unabashed liberal but also a buttoned-down gentleman. “We’re at risk of having a self-reinforcing corrosive process that drives reasonable people away.” He added: “It breaks my heart.”
January 2010: People who gave money to Blumenauer start calling his office and asking him if he’ll keep his word and vote against a bill without a public option. His office responds by asking them “if Jane Hamsher is taking money from Scott Brown.”
March 2010: People who gave Blumenauer money because of his public option pledge start calling and asking for him to give it back (in a poll, 90% of our readers thought he should do so, or at least donate it to Haitian relief). Blumenauer derides anyone who would even think of keeping the pledge he made, saying “People need to use their ‘inner wonk,’ not outsource analysis to idiot ‘shouting heads.’ Facts are clear.” He keeps all the money.
Basically, Earl Blumenauer is Lanny Davis in a bow tie. He’s an unprincipled hack who hides behind schtick, wagging his finger in exhortations to “civility” while shamelessly betraying every promise he makes.
This is not a departure for him.
Write Oregon media and let them know about Earl Blumenauer’s position on Social Security.
Update: According to Alex Lawson of Social Security Works, Blumenauer has been contacted and “he stands behind his statements in the story about ‘progressive price indexing.’ He believes that Social Security is going to be modified and refuses to take these stealth benefit cuts off the table. He thinks they’re important for negotiating a compromise, even though he acknowledges that conservatives are not negotiating in good faith.”