Apparently, this Julia is a pretty divisive figure. The campaign infographic has been getting a lot of criticism from Republicans—Rush Limbaugh attacked it as more “liberal cradle-to-grave care for every citizen”—as was to be expected.
But it was recently dealt three Pinocchios from the Washington Posts’ Fact Checker, which at least claims to get to “The Truth Behind the Rhetoric.” The Fact Checker says that the Social Security slide is misleading. He writes,
Note how carefully the Obama campaign’s statement is worded. It says that, under Obama, Julia “receives monthly benefits that help her retire comfortably.” It does not promise that projected benefits will not be cut, but it certainly implies that.
The Fact Checker says that this is misleading because in the almost-completed Grand Bargain, benefits would have been cut. That is true—he did do that! Unfortunately, the Fact Checker reinforces the same narrative driving those talks: that no matter what happens, benefits will have to be cut to insure solvency.
This frame of the “Life of Julia” series is fairly misleading. If Obama actually does something to improve the solvency of Social Security, benefits are likely to be cut in some fashion. If Obama — and future presidents — do nothing, benefits will also be cut.
Obama, and Congress, can still do something to improve the solvency of Social Security without cutting benefits. Failure to address that makes this article misleading. The WaPo’s Fact Checker lapses into the very rhetoric he is paid to reveal.
photo credit: Justin Ennis, via Creative Commons