“ ‘President Obama’s plan provides no hope of balancing the budget, no plan to save Social Security or Medicare, and no realistic ideas to grow the private economy or create jobs,’ U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio”
“’He ignores Social Security and Medicare, but we need real reform or these programs won’t exist for future generations of Americans,” (Rep. Tom) Rooney said’.”
Reporters have a responsibility to hold their sources, even Members of Congress, accountable to the truth. Unfortunately, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune did none of that in its coverage of the President’s budget.
It’s certainly no surprise that Congressional Republicans hope to use their new majority to cut benefits to millions of middle-class seniors who depend on Social Security and Medicare. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune, unfortunately, gave its local lawmakers free reign to make up their own facts in support of that agenda.
Rep. Tom Rooney is flat-out wrong when he claimed “these programs won’t exist for future generations” without reform. There isn’t a single actuarial projection that Social Security and Medicare won’t exist for future generations. In fact, the Social Security Trustees report that with $2.76 trillion in the Social Security Trust Fund the program will be able to pay full benefits for decades to come – until 2033. At that point, there will still be enough revenue coming into the program to pay 77 percent of all benefits owed. Won’t exist? Hardly.
In the Herald-Tribune story, Senator Mark Rubio claimed the President’s budget offers “no plan” for Social Security or Medicare. Truth is this budget includes $400 billion in Medicare savings including, unfortunately, increased means-testing, premium hikes and co-pays for seniors. While these cuts apparently aren’t enough for Senator Rubio that doesn’t make them non-existent. This budget also addresses the more immediate Social Security disability shortfall with a simple administrative move, done 11 times before, that the House GOP refuses to consider.
As the old adage goes, “we’re entitled to our opinions but not our own facts.” Journalists owe it to their readers to report those facts not merely parrot one party’s political spin.