At WPost, Everyone’s a ‘High Earner’–When It Comes to Benefit Cuts

Rep. Paul Ryan is the Republican leader most often touted as a seriouspolicy wonk.His plan to “fix” Social Security was recently evaluated by the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration. As the Washington Post notes inan article today (10/21/10), Ryan’s plan”would slice initial benefits by about a quarter for middle-income Americans who turn 65 in 2050.”

So why is the Post‘s headline “Republican Rep. Ryan’s Social Security Plan Would Cut Benefits for High Earners”? While it is true that the wealthy would see benefit cuts,it would seem moreimportant to notehow his plan wouldaffect most people.

Economist Dean Baker (Beat the Press, 10/21/10) further points out that by comparing benefits under Ryan’s plan in 2050 with benefits today–rather than with the benefits retirees are currently scheduled to get in 2050, which are 48 percent larger than today’s–the Post is greatly understating the scale of the cuts. And Ryan’s proposal to raise the retirement age to 70 will cut everyone’s benefits, not just “high earners”–however you define them.

According to the Post article, by Lori Montgomery, “With congressional elections less than two weeks away, the Ryan plan has been a frequent target for Democrats accusing the GOP of plotting to gut Social Security.” The Post seems determined to disguise the fact that these accusations have a great deal of truth to them.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.