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Thursday, February 10, 2005

If a lie is repeated often enough, it becomes accepted wisdom.

I have thought in the past that Sojourners Magazine, while a bit left of center, was a fairly reasonable well thought out publication. I have now discovered that not to be the case. In the current issue there is an article about Bush' new plans for reforming Social Security. If someone had sent this article to me without telling me where it was from, I would have guessed one of the usually nutjob kooks like Atrios or DailyKos.

The tagline for the article, "If a lie is repeated often enough, it becomes accepted wisdom", is rather ironic after reading it. I'm still trying to figure out if Mr.(Rev?) Kiely is really that ignorant or purposefully lying. For the sake of assuming the best, I will go with the former. Which begs the question, "Why in the world would a publication of the stature of Sojourners let someone write about an issue that he obviously knows nothing about?"

Let's take a look at a few of the statements in this article:
"Social Security is not only not in jeopardy, it is in fact healthy and robust."

I suppose I shouldn't be concerned that anyone would actually believe such a patently false statement. Up until the past few weeks, I've never heard Democrats deny that Social Security was in big trouble. This was certainly an issue that Clinton talked a lot about in the late '90s. In 1998 Clinton said:

"And all of you know to a greater or lesser degree of specificity, every one of you know that the Social Security system is not sound for the long-term, so that all of these achievements -- the economic achievements, our increasing social coherence and cohesion, our increasing efforts to reduce poverty among our youngest children-- all of them are threatened by the looming fiscal crisis in Social Security."

I haven't had time yet, but I'm sure that a little research into Congressional speeches in the '90s would show many Democrats saying similar things.

"...minor course corrections can be applied and assure the Social Security program for an indefinite period."

I don't expect the average person to be an expert on demographics. However, I am. I worked for five years for the largest private provider of demographics. And I studied demographics in school. The coming demographic shift in America renders this comment sheer nonsense.
"For 20 years, the Wall Street investment industry has been disseminating reports about the imminent shortfall of Social Security when the baby boomers start retiring."

Ah yes, the great conspiracy. Anyone is free to make such ludicrous statements; but you better back it up. I actually remember doing a bit of research on this back in 1995. At the time I had just left a job as a government employee where I had been able to opt out of Social Security. As I recall, the primary information regarding the looming crises of Social Security came from the Social Security Administration itself.
"As it now works, Social Security is a social insurance program that guarantees an annual income for life for retirees and for the disabled."

But not for me. Why should I have to continue paying into a system that will most definitely not provide benefits for me?

While I am in favor of privatizing Social Security payments, I can understand some people's concern. But Kiely (and others) are putting their heads in the sand, pretending as if there isn't a problem and trying to pass off the obvious problem as simply a conspiracy from Wall Street.

Such irresponsible journalism!

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