Monday, January 31, 2011

The AP's Mendacious Jihad Against Social Security Continues

Following last week's wildly dishonest editorial-passing-as-a-news-story from the Associated Press, we get this, courtesy of Dean Baker:
A headline of an AP article (featured on Yahoo's website) told readers that: "Social Security posting $600B deficit over 10 years." Actually, the Social Security program is projected to run a surplus in every year of the next decade, adding more than $1.3 trillion to its trust fund, as people with access to the Social Security Trustees Report know.
The story was written by Stephen Olhemacher, who penned last week's op-ed. He's also a repeat offender when it comes to carrying water for the Corporate Right, as I noted over the weekend.

This is simple: the "deficit" described by the AP represents the difference between the tax revenues that will be collected over the next decade and the dollars that will be paid out in benefits over that period.

What they're not including is the interest that will be earned on $2.5 trillion in T-Bills sitting in the Social Security Trust Fund (which came in at 5.1 percent in 2008, and 4.8 percent in 2009). That interest means that the fund will continue to grow for years after current benefit payments exceed current tax receipts -- it's projected to reach $4.2 trillion in a decade.

You've got to be pretty dishonest to omit (or underplay) that in your reporting, but that now appears to be a pattern with Ohlemacher and the AP.