(Obama supporters please read the last paragraph of this post.)
For decades the right has been trying to kill Social Security. They have spread the lie that it is a "ponzi scheme" that depends on workers paying in today to pay for current benefits. Barack Obama is running a new ad that reinforces that lie.
Here is the fact: For decades Social Security has been collecting MUCH MORE $$ than it has been paying out. This money is saved in a "trust fund." This trust fund is large enough to cover any "shortfall" that occurs when the baby boomers retire.
But starting with Reagan, and especially under Bush, this trust fund was used to pay for the Republican tax cuts for the rich. (This is what Gore was talking about when he said this money should go in a "lockbox.")
Now that the baby boomers are starting to retire Social Security will need to tap into this trust fund to pay their retirement. It's their money but the money is not there -- taken by the Republicans to pay for their tax cuts.
So what is fair? Cutting old people's benefits to cover they money that was taken by the Republicans to give to the rich? Taking more from working people's paychecks to ocver what the Republicans took? Or taxing the rich to cover the money that was given to the rich? Which is fair?
And, most of all, how is this Social Security's problem? How is it Social Security's problem that the conservatives owe Social Security all that money?
With that in mind, watch Obama's commercial, in which he is talking about Social Security's problem entirely in right-wing terms:
Obama is running ads reinforcing the right's bamboozlement that Social Security is running out of money! The language in this ad implies that Social Security's retirement payments are responsible for the shortfall, and does not say that the trust fund was taken to pay for Reagan and Bush's tax cuts.
This language in this ad, if seen and heard by millions of people, could make it so much harder to fight back the next time the right tries to kill off the program by claiming it is insolvent.
I know that Senator Obama's heart is in the right place and he has no intention of harming Social Security. But this ad is a mistake that could backfire. Please stop running this ad and please change the language. Instead of reinforcing the right's lie that Social Security has a problem, let people know that the conservatives took their money from Social Security and gave it out as tax cuts to the rich and THAT is the problem!