If you only heard a sound bite or two from President Bush's brief comments after a meeting with the Social Security Trustees yesterday, you really missed the bruising lack of subtlety with which he -- and then his spokesman -- pounded away at this one message.
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"Therefore, the question is, does this country have the will to address the problem. I think it must. I think we have a responsibility to solve problems before they become acute. . . . [W]e must be willing to address this problem. . . . [T]he time is ready for us to solve this problem. . . . I think what's really important in the discussions is to understand the size of the problem. . . . What's important, Steve, is before we begin any discussion is to understand the scope of the problem. And that's why these trustees are vital in helping educate the American people, and Congress, as to the size of the problem. And I will not prejudge any solution. I think it's very important for the first step to be a common understanding of the size of the problem. . . .
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So I guess there's a problem? Not according to Atrios:
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No, it is not "headed towards bankruptcy." At worst, if zero changes are made andpessimistic growth assumptions come true, at some point around 2045 (depending on which estimate), the system is predicted to only be able to pay out 75% of promised benefits. Of course, that 75% of promised benefits is still going to be equal to or higher in real terms than current benefit levels. So, while there would have to be a drop in payouts if no changes at all were made in the system, that drop would still lead to benefit levels roughly equal to or even greater than current benefit levels. And, then, those affordable payouts would continue to grow...
Every Democrat should be on TV tomorrow saying some version of "The president is lying to the American people about this vital program..."
This is the same thing he did during the 2000 campaign, when the Repubs began talking down the economy. Be prepared for a shitstorm of 'problems' with Social Security and that Bush's plan is the only plan. Sorta like Iraq. More lies, more bullshit. Assholes.