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May 13th, 2009
05:59 AM ET

What’s on Tap – Wednesday May 13th, 2009

A troubling picture emerging this morning of the commuter plane that crashed near Buffalo, New York back in February.  Transcripts of the cockpit voice recorder are raising questions about the flight crew's competency and training.  Hear what the crew was talking about just minutes before the plane literally fell from the sky, killing all 49 on board and one on the ground.

We're learning more about the deadliest incidence of soldier-on-soldier violence in the six-year Iraq war.  An Army Sergeant is facing five counts of murder, accused of shooting five fellow servicemen at a military stress clinic in Baghdad.  This morning we're hearing from the victims' families and the father of the alleged shooter, who says the army's to blame for pushing his son over the edge.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney sparking a new flood of calls on our AMFIX hotline.  His criticism of Democrats and the Obama Administration angered people yesterday, but this morning the other side is making sure its voice is being heard.

A safety net that may not be there when you need it.  There’s growing concern that Social Security and Medicare may run out even sooner than expected because of this recession.  Will the president touch this political poison ivy?


Filed under: What's On Tap
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Robert Weiner

    Here is more detail concerning my comments during my interview this morning (May 13) with John Roberts that the media reports of "scary" Social Security scenarios are "misplaced" and "miss the story of the long-term solvency of the program."
    Regards, Bob Weiner, former Chief of Staff, U.S. House Aging Committee (now president, Robert Weiner associates Public Affairs and Issue Strategies)

    Contact: Bob Weiner/Rebecca Vander Linde 301-283-0821/202-329-1700

    SOCIAL SECURITY “PROBLEMS” ARE “MISPLACED SCARE TACTICS”AND MEDIA MISSING STORY OF SOLVENCY, SAYS FORMER CONGRESSIONAL AGING COMMITTEE CHIEF OF STAFF BOB WEINER

    (Washington, DC) – The reports on the supposed problems of Social Security based on the Social Security Administration’s report yesterday are “totally misplaced”, asserts former U.S. House Aging Committee Director Bob Weiner.

    Weiner, who was Chief of Staff of the House Aging Committee under Rep. Claude Pepper and later worked for Reps. Charles Rangel, John Conyers, and the Clinton White House, said, “Everyone forgets that Social Security has already absorbed eleven ‘deficit’ years since 1960. The fact that there may be slight deficits beginning in 2016, which the full trust funds easily absorb for some thirty years, is nothing new. That is exactly what beneficiaries paid into the system to accomplish, since the format is an insurance program. Do we reimburse private insurance when they have to pay out? Moreover, the fact that the system goes into slight composite deficit four years earlier than predicted, now 2037, is no surprise given the currently crashed economy – and that year has always fluctuated based on the economy and could actually never happen if the economy approves.”

    “Even the very wise Wolf Blitzer stated that ‘these numbers are far worse than experts had predicted’—but that is not true,” Weiner contends. “Social Security is solvent for almost thirty years and even then, and even if the economic situation is stagnant (unlikely), the program still can pay 75% of current benefits and can make up the difference if necessary by temporary infusion of 1/3 the annual cost of the Iraq War or 1/3 of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.” Weiner adds, “Even that ‘fix’ will be negated in the following generation because the baby boomers had the fewest babies themselves in our history (2.1 per family vs. 2.9 now), so the system will have to pay benefits to fewer people.”

    “It’s easy to throw out scare tactics to make news about Social Security—but they are badly inaccurate. The system is sound. The real problem is Medicare, which will have problems shortly—and it’s time for Congress to allow Medicare price negotiations like the VA, imports of safe drugs for price competition, and ultimately, national health insurance as quickly as possible,” Weiner concluded.

    Weiner has written several recent opeds on Social Security in major papers and regularly discussed the issue in media forums:

    * August 3, 2008 - "Don’t Reform Social Security - Fix Medicare" - in The Palm Beach (FL) Post - by Robert Weiner and John Larmett of RWA http://www.weinerpublic.com/20080802.doc

    * February 25, 2005 - "White House Social Security 'fact sheet' is anything but" - in The Tallahassee Democrat and Senior Journal - by Robert Weiner of RWA http://www.weinerpublic.com/20050225.html

    * November 1, 2003 - "Social Security: We need Pepper's courage now" - in The Miami Herald - by Robert Weiner of RWA http://www.weinerpublic.com/page136.html

    Source: Robert Weiner Associates 301-283-0821/202-329-1700

    May 13, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  2. LILLIAN GORDON

    Watching your program each a.m. when having coffee and reading paper I am sick and tired of the talk about our HEALTH CARE.
    Never have I had to wait for treatment, my husband having trouble with
    his heart Xmas Eve 2007 entered emerg taken right away saw specialist right away, appt with cardiologist within a week or two
    treated and then in August when they could not control it withmeds
    was operated on.
    So give me a break. Govt. run healthcare is ok.
    l.g.

    May 13, 2009 at 8:46 am |
  3. mary

    I found it disappointing as usual John Roberts interjected his liberal personal opinion into Iraq by making the statement that the (arrested & discredicted) Scott Ritter "had it right" John, did Scott have it right when he said right after the invasion: "The United States is going to leave Iraq with its tail between its legs, defeated. It is a war we can not win... We do not have the military means to take over Baghdad and for this reason I believe the defeat of the United States in this war is inevitable... Every time we confront Iraqi troops we may win some tactical battles, as we did for ten years in Vietnam, but we will not be able to win this war, which in my opinion is already lost."

    May 13, 2009 at 8:41 am |
  4. karen

    This may not seem important, but you guys did not show enough of the CNN staff at the WH corr. dinner. I caught Kiran from the neck up(hair was gorgeous by the way 🙂 but would like to see the dress. Did I miss a lull in one of the shows where they could have shown some of you guys. Would like to see you in formal wear.

    May 13, 2009 at 8:20 am |
  5. michael armstrong sr.

    social security and medicare is just another part of the american foundathion being washed away by the rich stealing from the rich such as the past 40 years of over pricing of american merchandise and the reducthion of american quality to the poor making the life of the product last less then half of the time that it used to taking moneys from any savings that normally could have been put back for the older years of the aging these programs should only be for the poor under class citizens and not for the well inshured rich looking for ways to have extra money to throw away this program was developed to take care of the old and sick not the rich and gready.

    May 13, 2009 at 7:46 am |