Mary Katharine Ham

People keep saying Social Security reform is dead. If so, I’m here to poke it with a stick.

Call me crazy, but I see signs of life.

First, the Washington Post conceded that John Roberts will likely be confirmed to the Supreme Court with little problem. There’ll be a bit of drama at the hearings, some snide questions and showmanship from the senators, but it won’t be the filibustering fireworks show many had anticipated.

The Roberts fight was supposed to deliver the Washington press corps and politicos from the August doldrums. Sure, they’ve had Cindy Sheehan, but she’s likely to waltz into Washington just in time to get knocked off the front pages by the Roberts hearings. So, whatever will the folks in the District write and fight about this fall?

Roll Call provided a clue Monday. After a summer of legislative “victories” with the transportation and energy bills, Roll Call says, the Republican Congress feels empowered to move on some of the President’s other priorities, like Social Security reform. Now, that would be something worth moving on, and some progress might appease all the fiscal conservatives (ahem) Bush and his fellow Republicans enraged with their recent big-spending escapades (hey, you can wrap anything in pork, guys, but that doesn’t make it filet mignon). The program’s 70th birthday this week also got people talking about it again.

Of course, reforming Social Security will take many qualities that are in short supply in the Congressional majority these days. Congress will need the discipline not to clutter the plan with expensive, meaningless extras. They’ll need the guts to fight for personal accounts. And they’ll require the responsibility to take care of a problem they could put off until later, as it grows bigger and bigger and bigger (have you seen the NOdometer lately?).

Mary Katharine Ham

Mary Katharine Ham is editor-at-large of, a contributor to Townhall Magazine.

Be the first to read Mary Katharine Ham's column. Sign up today and receive delivered each morning to your inbox.