There is a level of crazy in the Social Security debate that is simply not healthy for the nation. We have reached the point in this policy debate where the sound of the sound bite is more important than the facts underneath it.
Every candidate is entitled to his own opinion, but today candidates can simply make up facts to fit their sound bite. In the first GOP debate, Governor Christie, in an effort to shutdown Mike Huckabee said, “The lying and stealing has already occurred. The Trust Fund is filled with IOUs.”
Christie isn’t lying. He is just wrong. The problems of Social Security have nothing to do with what is in the Trust Fund, and everything to do with the sums that were never collected by the system. Social Security is financed, and today we are not even collecting enough to cover the financing burden of the system.
The reasoning of Governor Christie reduced the Republican’s debate to a level of childhood fairytales. His statement reflects conspiracy theories that are classified by the Social Administration as urban legend. This once-upon-a-time sound bite ends reasoned discussion, and pulls us into Crazytown, USA.
The problem for America is of course that Crazytown has a lot of voters. Consider that the following quote has drawn 50,000 likes and nearly 500,000 shares.
“Next time a Republican tells you that ‘Social Security is broke,’ remind them that Pres. Bush ‘borrowed’ $1.37 trillion of Social Security surplus revenue to pay for his tax cuts for the rich and his war in Iraq and never paid it back.” ~ Occupy Democrats
PolitiFact considered this quote, and rated it as “Mostly False.” That is of course a polite way to say “Stir Crazy.” Yet, nearly 500,000 people took time out of their day to share this lunacy. We will never resolve the challenges of Social Security with politicians continually trolling Crazytown for votes.
Crazy or mostly false, the myth is pervasive. Every president since Kennedy has been accused of stealing money from Social Security. Some even claim that Ford and Carter stole money from the system, and their budgets actually subsidized the program. There isn’t a shred of evidence to suggest that any program money has been misused.