Society Magazine

As True Astrue Can Be!

Posted on the 22 February 2013 by Davidduff

Sorry for the confusing pun in the title but Mr. Astrue, himself, used it in one of his sonnets and you all know how adept I am at nicking other people's jokes!  Who be Mr. Astrue? you ask, well, he's sort of a nonentity, I suppose, as only a Commissioner for Social Security in America can be.  Off the top of my head I cannot think of a more tedious reply to offer to a polite enquiry at a cocktail party as to how I earned my living and to answer, "I am the Commissioner for Social Security"!  You would instantly spot your interlocuter's eyes searching desperately over your shoulder for someone - anyone! - more interesting to talk to.  However, in Mr. Astrue's case you would be deeply mistaken.  He is a very interesting fellow, indeed, as I informed you all back in May 2010 when I quoted some of his superb poetry including one written in strict Shakespearean sonnet form.  Anyone who can do that with style is exceedingly interesting in my book!

Thus, I was very irritated the other day to catch just a glimpse of his picture on Fox News and hear the tail-end of a report to the effect that as outgoing - they are only appointed for six years - Commissioner for Social Security he had made a speech critical of both Congress and the White House, and I had missed it.  In effect, he told them that the entire American political establishment were refusing to face up to the fact that by 2033 the system would be broke and paying only 75 cents in the dollar!  The Business Insider site reported it thus:

Instead of making the hard choices to fix Social Security's financial  problems, policymakers "use it as a tool of political rhetoric," Astrue  said.

Astrue, 56, has headed the federal government's largest program since 2007 —  he was nominated by former President George W. Bush. By law, Social Security  commissioners serve six-year terms, so President Barack Obama will now have the  opportunity to choose his own nominee, who must be approved by the Senate.  Astrue's last day on the job was Wednesday.

The trustees who oversee Social Security say the program's trust funds will  run dry in 2033, leaving Social Security with only enough revenue to pay about  75 percent of benefits. Already the program is paying out more in benefits than  it collects in payroll taxes.

Instead of making the hard choices to fix Social Security's financial  problems, policymakers "use it as a tool of political rhetoric," Astrue  said.

Astrue, 56, has headed the federal government's largest program since 2007 —  he was nominated by former President George W. Bush. By law, Social Security  commissioners serve six-year terms, so President Barack Obama will now have the  opportunity to choose his own nominee, who must be approved by the Senate.  Astrue's last day on the job was Wednesday.

Of course, being a Bush appointee, and telling the President he was not doing his 'jarb', is not the way to have your appointment extended.  But I expect the highly intelligent Mr. Astrue knew that perfectly well and is probably very happy to get back to really important things like composing Shakespearean sonnets!

 


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