Do you ever catch yourself yelling at the television?
Well, that's just what we were doing on debate night
. Since this was the 3rd
in the scheduled Presidential/Vice Presidential debates and there had been no discussion of Social Security and Medicare up to then, our ears really perked up when an audience member finally asked a question about America's retirees. Now, the answers to this question were far from satisfying but then
came Tom Brokaw's
entitlement question...built on a flawed assumption, biased personal assessment and a flat-out incorrect assertion that Social Security is somehow broken....and that as he said "everyone agrees"...
"Since the rules are pretty loose here, I'm going to add my own to this one. Instead of having a discussion, let me ask you as a coda to that. Would you give Congress a date certain to reform Social Security and Medicare within two years after you take office? Because in a bipartisan way, everyone agrees, that's a big ticking time bomb that will eat us up maybe even more than the mortgage crisis."
You can also watch it here:
Say what??!!! That's when our conversation with the television began in earnest. There is also a similar conversation underway now at Angry Bear
Economist Dean Baker
says if Social Security was a private corporation it could sue for such nonsense and the Sojourner
blog reminds everyone of those pesky facts about Social Security. But clearly, we need to say it once again too...Social Security is not Bankrupt
Beneficiaries will receive full benefits at least until 2041. Even then, if absolutely nothing is changed, (and no one believes that will happen) beneficiaries would receive 75% of benefits. Even that unacceptable
cut is better than what retirees would face under a privatized Social Security
Ticking time bombs, tsunamis, greedy geezers...this is the language of partisans opposed
to preserving Social Security and Medicare for future generations. It's certainly not language or the approach we'd expect to hear experienced and independent journalists use in a Presidential debate.