In what may be a bit of a harbinger of the Trib's leanings for its coming endorsement in Illinois's 10th Congressional District, the Tribune editorial board took a bit of a one-two whack at third-time candidate Democrat Dan Seals for misrepresenting his opponent, Republican Bob Dold's position on social security reform, and also dissed Seals' class-warfare approach to the issue.
First, the Trib called out Seals for using it as a source to claim that Dold wants to "privatize" social security, which is not accurate:
Seals is out with a new attack ad in their race for the 10th Congressional District. In the ad, the announcer gravely intones that Dold wants to "privatize Social Security."
Not so, says Dold campaign spokesman Kelly Klopp. "They're trying to make this into a really scary concept to claim that Bob wants to end Social Security as we know it," Klopp told us.
So where'd Seals get his information? The ad credits … the Tribune. [snip]
Dold answered [in his Tribune candidate questionnaire] that beneficiaries younger than 55 should have a different Social Security plan. As part of that plan, he wrote, "I would propose allowing a portion of Social Security payments (not more that 25 percent) to be put into Government authorized individual retirement accounts that would be able to be passed to heirs if not used."
No, Dold didn't use the word "privatization," as Seals' ad says. It's unfortunate that talk about letting people direct the investment of part of their Social Security contributions often gets tarred as "privatization." Unfortunate, but common.
As to the candidates' plans themselves, the Tribune said:
On the campaign trail and in a subsequent Tribune questionnaire, Dold has elaborated on his position. He said that he envisions such private accounts would be run by the government and invested in government securities, such as Treasury bonds.
That's not scary … or particularly new.
So what is Seals' solution? In his response to our questionnaire, Seals said he wants to reduce benefits for wealthier seniors in the future. "Wealthier individuals simply don't need the money as much as poorer individuals, and Social Security payments should reflect that." That's a fairly gutsy position for someone running in the North Shore congressional district. [snip]
Dold's proposal, though, sounds much safer and conservative in approach. He's not talking about dabbling in the stock market with your Social Security funds. [my emphasis, both times]
You will recall that the Trib endorsed Bob Dold but not Dan Seals in their respective primaries last February. The Trib had this to say about Seals at the time:
Wilmette business consultant Dan Seals is making his third run for the seat. We endorsed Seals in his two previous primary campaigns (but supported Kirk in the general elections). We like Seals, but we also hear 10th District residents asking why he hasn't been more involved in community efforts in the district. His primary focus seems to have been on asking for their votes. Our endorsement goes to state Rep. Julie Hamos of Wilmette. She has a fine record on ethics reform, domestic violence laws and early childhood education. She patiently and quite skillfully engineered new law that shored up the finances and instituted critical pension reforms for Chicago-area mass transit. [my emphasis]
So far this race, Seals hasn't come up with much more than traditional Democratic talking points and "soak the rich" schemes to commend him to voters; that is, when he's not busy emulating his opponent, Bob Dold, on issues such as extending the Bush-era tax cuts for everyone regardless of income level.
It's not hard to predict where the Tribune is headed on this race, and hopefully the voters of the 10th District will take notice, and send Seals packing to his home in Jan Schakowsky's 9th District for good.