Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sen. McCain Spins Social Security Comment

You know it’s bad when even the “clarification” gets it wrong. Senator McCain’s explanation of his ‘Social Security is a disgrace’ comment shows he either doesn’t understand the system’s long-term financial picture or he’s just picking up where the President’s privatization campaign left off. Here is his clarification from The Trail:

McCain sought to clarify his remarks this afternoon on the Straight Talk Express. Young people, he said, "are paying so much that they are paying into a system that they won't receive benefits from on its present track that its on, that's the point."The Social Security trustees "have clearly stated its going to go bankrupt," he said, adding that this is what he meant when he called the system a disgrace. "I don't think that's right," he said. "I don't think it's fair, and I think it's terrible to ask people to pay in to a system that they won't receive benefits from. That's why we have to fix it."

And yet, the Social Security Trustees report actually shows young people are on track to receive 78% of current benefits, even if not a single thing is done to modify funding in the out years (and no one believes that will happen). Beneficiaries will receive full benefits for another 33 years! Let's not forget that the “Social Security is bankrupt” myth and this intergenerational warfare strategy were also the heart of President Bush’s failed attempt to scare the American people into privatizing Social Security 3 years ago. That campaign failed largely because the American people didn’t Buy the Lie.

Unfortunately, it appears Senator McCain is ready to begin that same privatization debate all over again. The Straight Talk Express is beginning to feel more like a time machine transporting us back to 2005.

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