Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Another good day at the gaggle, lots of good questions regarding Social Security in particular.

But first, Helen Thomas exposes Chimpy’s economic conference for the fraud that it is, and the rest of the press corps has her back.

Q How can the President have an economic conference without having any labor representation? How is that possible?

MR. McCLELLAN: There was a broad cross section of people at this conference from various —

Q Are there any labor leaders there?

MR. McCLELLAN: — from various sectors of the economy. We have worked closely with some groups who are committed to building upon the progress we’ve made to strengthening our economy, and to creating jobs. And the President —

Q Why weren’t any labor leaders invited to this conference?

MR. McCLELLAN: Okay, let me move on because you’re not letting me respond.

Q Do you have an answer for that?

Q It’s a good question.

MR. McCLELLAN: If you want to ask, I’ll respond, because she’s not letting me respond. But I’ll come back to you if you want to let me respond later.

Go ahead.

Q Okay, respond right now.

MR. McCLELLAN: The conference represents a broad cross section of individuals from various sectors of the economy. These individuals put forward a number of good ideas. [Scottie-speak regarding Fearless Leader’s remarkable management of the economy snipped for sanity’s sake.]

Q Do you realize what you’ve said, and that you have not —

MR. McCLELLAN: I’m going to keep moving. I’ll come back to you if I can.

Q You have not touched a major sector of this society in terms of the economy.

MR. McCLELLAN: I’ll come back to you if I have more time. Go ahead. This isn’t a debate.

Now on to Social Security.

First, a couple of teasers relating to the administration’s inability to balance a budget that Little Scottie simply cannot answer.

Q Back on Social Security . You talked about younger workers, and talked about how the President doesn’t want to pass problems on to future generations, but you’ve also said the White House supports borrowing what is likely to be a trillion dollars or more — as you put it up-front financing.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I think I said that’s one of the things you could look at. Some senators have — or some members of Congress have put forward a different mix of options for that up-front transition financing. And I said that’s something you would look at. But we have not endorsed a specific proposal at this point. That’s something we want to work closely with members of Congress on as we move forward.

Q Why isn’t borrowing a trillion dollars passing something on to younger workers in the next generation?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, Terry, first of all, when we’ve talked about the transition financing, you have to keep it at — keep in mind that right now, the cost of doing nothing is more than $10 trillion. That’s the cost of Social Security’s guarantee to America ‘s workers and the cost of permanently fixing it.

So we’ve talked about moving some of the cost forward for the transition financing and significantly bringing it down. That’s what we’re committed to doing, is strengthening Social Security and bringing down the overall cost and making it sustainable for younger workers. No one at or near retirement will see any changes. That’s a commitment of the President. But we need to strengthen it for younger workers. And the way to do that is to also include personal savings accounts as part of the comprehensive solution that the President is pursuing.

Q But shouldn’t those younger workers also know — shouldn’t you tell them honestly that the borrowing is something they’re going to have to pay for and it would be —

Finally, the coup de grce, demonstrating that the press corps really does understand that this is a manufactured crisis.

Q Right now your statement is that Social Security goes insolvent, as you put it, in 38 years.

MR. McCLELLAN: The Social Security trustees state that it goes insolvent in 2042. I think in 2018 is when the cost, the taxes are exceeding — the benefits are not going to be being paid at the full amount that they’re —

Q Ten years ago, the same Social Security trustees said that the system would go insolvent in 35 years. So here we are, 10 years on, and they’ve actually moved it forward three years. Why is the system in crisis?

MR. McCLELLAN: Because I just pointed out the cost of doing nothing. The cost of doing nothing is significant. That’s why we need to solve it now. I think many people look at the system — we’ve continued to do tax increases and that hasn’t fixed the problem. We continue to go back through this. We did it in the ’80s, yet here it comes up again. And that’s why we need to move forward now. But let me correct that, on the “2018” is when the system’s tax revenue will exceed the system’s — I’m sorry — the annual spending on Social Security will exceed the system’s tax revenue in 2018.

Yes it was a nice gaggle, lacking only the comic relief we usually get from my buddy Les.