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What is Equal Time?

Contrary to the headlines and soundbites coming from America’s newsrooms,  Social Security and Medicare aren’t to blame for our nation’s fiscal woes or our deficit.  In fact, without these vital programs our economy would be in even worse shape and millions more American families would be threatened with economic insecurity. Why do so many journalists and news/talk-show hosts ignore the facts in favor of one-sided propaganda? Why won’t they allow all sides to weigh on these important issues?  Whatever the reasons, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare believes the public deserves more balanced research and discussion.  The truth about our nation’s most successful and revered programs deserves EQUAL TIME. 

Our new project, EQUAL TIME, will bust through the myths and misleading statements in the news about Social Security and Medicare. We will find and correct the factual errors and politically charged perspectives. We’ll use social media like Facebook and Twitter to inform the reporters, pundits and anchors when they’ve been the subject of an EQUAL TIME correction. In this way, we hope to influence the mainstream media to use facts, not fiction, in their coverage of these important programs.   

Have you seen a story in which media got it wrong?  If so, let us know and we’ll track it down and provide the truth about Social Security and Medicare.

McArdle’s disdain for Social Security is sprinkled throughout her error-laden story.  Here are just a few samples (emphasis is ours):

“no one, left or right, really wants to take on our vast army of retirees...”

 

“progressives who are ideologically opposed to shrinking the welfare state...”

“It is supremely irrelevant whether that money flows through the "trust fund" or Uncle Sam holds an annual ceremony in which the trustees are handed one of those giant checks they present to lottery winners...”

“Social Security's great political strength is the perception that beneficiaries have earned their benefits...”

“The only reason that the system isn't in the red already is the net interest the government is paying itself on the bonds in the trust fund.” 

Source: The Left Gets It Wrong About Social Security

Columnist: Megan McArdle

 

Correction:

As a columnist, McArdle is paid to express her opinions.  However, as an employee of a “news organization” she should be expected to at least build her case based on facts.  As the Los Angeles Times correctly assessed, “It's rare to find so much sophistry, misunderstanding and misinformation about Social Security in one place.”  So much so, we can’t even begin to fact-check all of it; however, we’ll address the first four quotes listed above as classic examples of how conservatives consistently choose language describing Social Security as if it’s a “welfare state” where “vast army of retirees” are lucky enough to be “handed...giant checks” like lottery winners.  After all, it’s only a “perception that beneficiaries have earned their benefits.” Of course, the truth for millions of Americans who have actually worked and paid into Social Security for a lifetime (not just “perceived” that they did) does not resemble the political and verbal mythology created by conservatives like McArdle in any way. 

 

The claim that Social Security’s financing is actually worse than it appears because of some sort of accounting gimmick by which “the government is paying itself” shows either complete  ignorance of how the Trust Fund works or willful misrepresentation of the facts.  Simply put, the federal government pays interest on the money it borrows from American workers’ payroll tax contributions to Social Security.  That’s not the same as “paying itself.”  It’s a legal obligation we owe to all bond holders.  We also do this for the bonds in Warren Buffett and Pete Peterson’s portfolios, so why do conservatives never treat that as somehow suspect?  While defaulting on our debt to Pete Peterson or China would never be allowed (nor should it)...refusing to pay back America’s retirees is not only acceptable to conservatives but exactly the solution alleged “fiscal hawks” want Congress to adopt.  

More Fact Checks
     Report: On Obama budget, Florida Republicans critical of lack of reforms to Social Security

Reporter: Jeremy Wallace


     
    Report: NPR’s “Here & Now”

Senior Business Editor: Marilyn Geewax


 
     
    Report: Millenials Face Big Problems

Reporter: Abby Huntsman


 
     

  Report: Reining In Health Care Costs Key To Trimming Deficit

Reporter: Thomas Friedman


     
    Report: Sorry Kids, We Ate it All

Reporter: Thomas Friedman


     

 

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