Who can tell me how many bits of White House bamboozlement have been eaten whole by the author of this paragraph from an article in the Associated Press?
Since the beginning of his second term, Bush has been pushing to allow younger workers to create voluntary personal accounts funded out of their Social Security payroll taxes. Democrats accuse the White House of seeking to privatize the Depression-era program and have been unified in opposition to the idea.
Late Update: More commentary here on the dingbat AP story -- more significantly, how the whole lede is wrong. Also, TPM Reader RS pretty much knocked the question above out of the park. Here's the note he sent us ...
Oh Lord, where to begin on that AP report and its "Come To Jesus" approach to President Bush's version of events:
1. "Since the beginning of his second term..." Bush has been pushing to dismantle SS since before he was elected in 2000. His party has been trying to shut it down since it was implemented back in the 1930s.
2. "...voluntary..." It's voluntary if you ignore the rarely-mentioned but critically important cut in guaranteed benefits that everyone will suffer, even if they don't "opt-in" for these private accounts. If this administration has its way, you'd be a fool NOT to take the voluntary account. You'd likely starve without it, and you very well could starve anyway if the market crashes just before you retire.
3. "...personal accounts..." The bamboozler's favorite euphemism. These are private accounts, as in privatized accounts, as in the end of Social Security.
4. "Democrats accuse..." Democrats aren't accusing him of anything. They are stating fact. Bush wants to privatize Social Security.
5. "...Depression-era program..." A cute attempt to imply that Social Security is some relic from the past, instead of the critical safety net that Americans (especially working class Americans!) need when they retire.
I'm pretty sure I missed some, but five bamboozles in a 50-word graf? That's a 0.10 bamboozle co-efficient, which is almost breathtaking.
He even caught some <$NoAd$> I didn't think of. My picks were "voluntary", "personal accounts" and "Democrats accuse". He's got a t-shirt coming his way.
Even Later Update: Another TPM Reader RS sends in these ...
Here's my quick count:
1. âSince the beginning of his second termâ The writer forgets that Bush has been trying to gut social security as far back as his first failed run for Congress in the 1970âs.
2. âto allow younger workersâ The writer uncritically passes along Bushâs concept of âyoungerâ even though it excludes many fresh faced workers.
3 and 4. âvoluntary personal accountsâ The writer accepts, without informing the reader, Bushâs strained, but politically preferred, use of the words âvoluntaryâ and âpersonal.â
5. âout of their Social Security payroll taxes.â The writer falsely implies that Bushâs plan is funded by current tax receipts and not from borrowed funds.
6. âDemocrats accuse the White House of seeking to privatizeâ The writer misleads the reader by letting objective fact appear to be a partisan attack. A fair wording would be âDemocrats criticize the White House for seeking to privatizeâ¦â
7. âDepression-era progamâ The writer apparently believes Social Security is just a minor legacy program that was mistakenly left untouched after the Works Project Administration closed up shop. Social Securityâs was created in the Depression era, but the program has been modernized over the last six decades and retains broad contemporary popular support.
What the hell ... A shirt for him too!
So Late We're Partying Like It's 1999 Update: Secret AP writer's identity revealed! Nedra Pickler!