02 Aug 2009

Does That Word Mean What I Think It Means?

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This Media Matters smackdown on a Fox lady (I’m not saying a foxy lady. mind you) is upset because she said “Social Security: already bankrupt.”

But it’s not so much that what she said was false, rather it was nonsensical. You’re either bankrupt or not, right? If GAAP says I will be bankrupt in three years, then I’m bankrupt right now, right?

So I think MM is right to be alarmed, because viewers probably took away something more concrete from the statement than what the facts warranted. It’s just ironic because they defend the solvency of SS by saying:

In fact, the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees have projected that in the absence of a change in the law, Social Security will be able to pay full benefits until 2041, after which it will be able to cover between 78 and 75 percent of scheduled benefits through the end of the 75-year period covered by their 2008 long-range projection.

Right, that’s why it’s bankrupt, right now. That’s what it means to be bankrupt, you aren’t expected to be able to pay what you owe to your creditors.

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