Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Looting Social Security: Fact checking His narrow ass 

Thank God Froomkin's back:

In addition to making deceptive claims about the system going broke, Bush continued to perpetuate a myth about life expectancy so misleading that the Social Security Administration's own Web site goes to great pains to explain how wrong it is.

Said Bush: "The problem is, is that times have changed since 1935. Then most women did not work outside the house, and the average life expectancy was about 60 years old, which for a guy 58 years old must have been a little discouraging. (LAUGHTER)

"Today, Americans, fortunately, are living longer and longer. I mean, we're living way beyond 60 years old and most women are working outside the house."

In fact, as the Social Security Web site states: "If we look at life expectancy statistics from the 1930s we might naturally come to the conclusion that the Social Security program was designed in such a way that people would work for many years paying in taxes, but would not live long enough to collect benefits. Life expectancy at birth in 1930 was indeed only 58 for men and 62 for women. But life expectancy at birth in the early decades of the 20th century was low due to high infant mortality, and someone who died as a child would never have worked and paid into Social Security. A more appropriate measure is probably life expectancy after attainment of adulthood."

By that standard, average life expectancy has still grown, but not as much as Bush implied.
(via WaPo)

The amazing thing to me—I can't believe I'm still capable of being amazed—is that in seeking to abolish Social Security, the Republicans are well to the right of Otto von Bismarck, who started the first Social Security program in Germany. Yep, Otto von Bismarck, what an extreme liberal...

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