Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: What did last week's election tell about the future?

Published: Sunday, Nov. 13 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

Pignanelli: Most Americans doubt the collective intelligence of the U.S. Congress. The real test of brains for the current crop of federal legislators will occur this month. If a meaningful proposal is not produced, or the deadline is not extended, Congress will signal that they remain beholden to irrational right-wing tea party activists or bigger government promoters from the left. Americans will not tolerate another face-off that threatens the economy, the stock market and their 401(k)s. "Throw out the bums" will be the bipartisan mantra against incumbents in 2012.

Jason Chaffetz has proposed substantive Social Security reform. Any chance of passage?

Pignanelli: Because I am younger than LaVarr, I commend Chafftez's mention of Social Security with more than just flowery statements. But real — and needed — reform is years away.

Webb: As I descend into geezer-hood and begin to slobber, I'm satisfied that my Social Security benefits are secure. But I have little confidence my children and grandchildren will be so fortunate. And that's the beauty of the Chaffetz proposal. It is solid. It is substantive. It is honest and real, and it preserves Social Security for future generations. Chaffetz deserves praise for showing that a member of Congress can propose meaningful entitlement reform and not play political games. He demonstrates that the GOP isn't just the party of NO! Too bad Obama won't make such grown-up proposals.

Republican LaVarr Webb is a political consultant and lobbyist. Previously he was policy deputy to Gov. Mike Leavitt and Deseret News managing editor. Email: lwebb@exoro.com. Democrat Frank Pignanelli is a Salt Lake attorney, lobbyist and political adviser. Pignanelli served 10 years in the Utah House of Representatives, six years as minority leader. His spouse, D'Arcy Dixon Pignanelli, is a state tax commissioner. Email: frankp@xmission.com.

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