Jul 8, 2014

The Assault On The Colvin Nomination Has Begun In Earnest

    From the National Review:
Widespread abuses within the Social Security Administration’s disability system are becoming a point of contention as the Senate weighs the nomination of Carolyn Watts Colvin as the agency’s commissioner.
Some congressional Democrats have already taken issue with Colvin, who has served as the acting commissioner since February 2013, because she presided over staffing cuts and field-office closures. And earlier this week, Republican members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform wrote a letter harshly criticizing Colvin. “We’d expect that [Colvin] will be pressed on her track record, including the agency’s allowance of hundreds of [administrative-law judges] to rubber-stamp claimants onto disability over the past decade,” says Becca Glover Watkins, the communications director for the committee.
     I think we can now say that the right wing assault on Colvin's nomination has begun in earnest. There will be two major lines of attack. First, service at Social Security is terrible. Field offices are closing It must be Colvin's fault. The real problem is Social Security's operating budget, set by Congress but Colvin has already made the mistake of failing to really call out Congress on this, setting herself up to take the blame. Second, Social Security disability is full of fraud. It must be Colvin's fault. The attacks on Social Security disability are ridiculous but if you keep throwing mud at it, some of it sticks.


Anonymous said...

Speaking as a black man,i suspect that old black woman is NOT surprised by the senate or house republicans.

The optics or visuals never look good when the senate or house republicans are against a minority and/or women. Optics are
sometimes eveything. For example,california immigration protest. Groups of angry white citizens against groups of illegal latinos. It looks racist although with a little merit.

The facts are she and obama are administratively in control during a sluggish economy which began economic erosion during the bush administration.

Anonymous said...

What a great opportunity for a democrat on that committee to stand up to protect Social Security! It would be easy to show that a lot of the decline in service at SSA is directly relatable to the Republican House cutting the budgets that Colvin and Obama proposed for the agency, creating deep staff cuts. It would be equally easy to show that much of the hype about out of control fraud is false rhetoric manufactured by people who want to cut Social Security. Do any dems on that Committee have the guts to stand up and defend Social Security against people who want to cut it and cast the blame for their own actions on someone else? We'll see.

Anonymous said...

While I agree with the overall idea that this assault on the disability system is completely unwarranted, I do have significant misgivings as to Colvin's ability to lead. When the most watched news program in the country (60 Minutes) does a major story alleging major problems with the disability program and you testify to Congress you have never watched the piece that strikes me as a major red flag and sign of bureaucratic tunnel vision. The idea that anything happening out in the "real world" doesn't matter and that the agency can just go along as business as usual is just not true in the current environment.

Anonymous said...

60 minutes is the most watched news program in this country? Even after the SSA and Benghazi hack jobs?

Man, America is in decline.

Anonymous said...

RE 11:21 and race and "optics".

Because she's an "old black woman" issues of competence, strength and leadership should be off the table during the confirmation hearings because the optics would be bad? Why is she not accountable for actions (or inactions) that occurred during her tenure? Somebody explain please.

The agency has weathered tougher times before and survived. That's what leadership is all about. But this current crop of SSA leaders is quick to throw in the towel or blame somebody else for their own mistakes. It's beyond pathetic.

Anonymous said...

I wrote the first comment.

"competence,strength and leadership ".

If not mistaken i have read a similar argument before on this blog.

In relation to "competence, strength and leadership",such conclusions must be relevant to the current and future economic climate. Lets be honest the country will never have a strong
manufacturing base again. And large greedy corporations will keep wages stagnant and/or low.

From my view her decisions,although not desirable,are reasonable.

So visually,the senate and/or house republicans may look predjudiced(another word for racist or Misogynistic"if they lean too hard on ms/mrs colvin.

Of course that may also be applied to mr obama. Optics or perception can win/lose elections.

Anonymous said...

Colvin inherited a mess when she took over from Astrue and she has not really done much to fix it, leaving in place some of the people (Sklar, Bice, etc.) that caused or ignored some of the issues that are coming back to bite Colvin.

Given a clean slate and a free choice on her underlings, she might be able to do a good job. However, you have to play the hand you are dealt and she has not played it well.

The problems with SSA cannot be laid at the feet of the budget, as SSA has misspent/wasted more money than all of us will see in our lives combined on ill-thought-out projects and poor allocation decisions.

Anonymous said...

The new normal--"the person who had the job ahead of me was so bad that I cannot be expected to fix anything, so nothing is my fault".

Anonymous said...

Colvin is a hack and this site seems to delusionally ignore that the country is broke...

Anonymous said...

Colvin has painstakingly informed congress exactly what the effect of underfunding SSA would be in terms of service problems. See one of many such warnings at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/budget/FY13Files/2013COPCombined.pdf

Despite that, congress funded SSA at about a billion dollars under its documented needs and requests, at a time when it was clear due to demographics that demand for SSA services would rise sharply. Dislike Colvin if you must, but she made the right call in identifying the problem and asking congress for the funding to address it. Congress dropped the ball, and deserves the blame for not realizing the public would be angry when important services declined due to their refusal to provide SSA adequate funding.

It's simple common sense. You can't lose thousands of workers and then tackle a substantially increased workload without the funding to hire and train more workers. Any prudent business facing increased demand for services will strive to increase its work force and capacity to meet that demand. Colvin recognized that need and asked for the funding to handle it, but a conservative House of Reps eager to cut government spending refused the request. It's remarkably hypocritical that the same group responsible for creating the problem now wants to blame Colvin for it. They have no shame, and seem not to care that many of their own constituents are harmed by their failures.

Anonymous said...

I just have to step in and say in response to 5:04

The US is the second largest manufacturer in the world. Was first until 2010 when China overtook it. Not bad considering the US has around a quarter of China's population...

Anonymous said...

I wrote 5:04 PM, July 08, 2014

"The US is the second largest manufacturer in the world"

WOW,i did not know that.

Funny,almost everything i have bought over the last twenty years has"made in china"written into the product.