WASHINGTON – President Bush's State of the Union address Wednesday left some Iowans wondering if the goals he set forth were a little ambitious.
Bush said Social Security reform is a high priority for his administration,but President of the ISU College Republicans Louis Kishkunas,junior in political science,said Bush's agenda of creating private investment accounts for younger people will be a “tough sell.”
“He may not be able to fund another transitional program,” Kishkunas said. “But where President Bush is right is there is a problem in the program. Democrats are kind of taking a blind eye. This is something that is a real big issue to college students.”
Rep. Tom Latham,R-Iowa,said he agrees something needs to be done about Social Security,and President Bush highlighted only one option for its future.
“I think we certainly have to agree Social Security is in long-term jeopardy,” he said in a telephone interview Thursday. “What they are talking about is personal accounts they can put money into. Ownership is a critical issue. It is very important we keep the promises we have made to folks in Social Security and those nearing Social Security. But this is important to all Iowans.”
President Bush's claim that Social Security will be bankrupt by 2042 drew cries of “no” from the Democratic side of the House chamber Wednesday night,and that opposition was felt in Iowa as well. President of the ISU College Democrats Gabe Whitaker,junior in public service and administration in agriculture,said Democrats recognize the need for reform,but not what Bush has been proposing.
“I am completely against privatizing Social Security” Whitaker said. “That is supposed to just be supplemental to a retirement account,not the entire thing.”
With the speech following Iraq's elections by three days,Bush and his supporters reiterated his plan to spread freedom globally.
“Sunday's election in Iraq marked an important milestone,” said Sen. Charles Grassley,R-Iowa,in a statement. “Following the elections,the Iraqi people will now develop a constitution that will be the foundation for a truly democratic Iraq. It's important that the president made clear that the United States is committed to helping build an Iraqi security force to protect their infant democracy.”
Whitaker said Bush's campaign strategy in 2000 for Iraq differs from the goal he has now set for the country.
“When he wanted to go into Iraq,it was for the weapons of mass destruction,not to spread democracy” he said. “When we went in,there were no weapons of mass destruction. So,what we did was good,but we went in for the wrong reasons.”
Kishkunas said Bush's plan for Iraqis is another step closer to an ongoing goal,which isn't a partisan issue.
“The ultimate goal is to end tyranny in the world,” he said. “It's a generational goal.”