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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

President George W. Bush is on TV tonight, holding a press conference, talking at every opportunity about how Social Security must be saved.

He just used some statistics that he uses repeatedly on his roadshow. The latest transcript won't be available until at least the end of the show, but this is from a radio stop in Iowa on March 30:
Congress has got the will necessary to fix this problem, because if we don't, the system starts going into the red, negative, in 2017.

Do you realize, in 2027, the cost just to make good on the promises is going to be over $200 billion a year? It gets worse every year from 2017 to 2041. And so there's a huge hole that can only be filled by dramatic benefit reductions and/or payroll increases. It's estimated that in order to fix the problem if we wait, it will -- payroll taxes will have to get up to 18 percent.
Read those numbers carefully.

The President is talking about red ink starting in 2017.

The gap between revenues and payouts exceeds $200 billion in 2027.

In 2001, Bush inherited a $128 billion government budget surplus. In less than five years, thanks to tax cuts tilted overwhelmingly to the wealthy and to new defense and other spending his administration backed, the 2004 deficit exceeded $400 billion.

How can the guy be worried about $200 billion deficits 22 years from now when his own policies have caused more than twice that amount of annual debt? NOW.

He has no shame.

By his logic, the current defense budget is in jeopardy.

Oh, and those future payroll taxes to head off bankruptcy in 2041?

Why? It's complete BS. Government could raise the threshold for taxes and only the wealthiest Americans would pay any Social Security spending gaps. Average Joes wouldn't have to pay more.

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