David Gregory’s Social Security Challenge

From his Meetthe Press interview withHouse Speaker John Boehner (2/13/11):

On entitlements, like Social Security, you said the retirement age should be raised, but you said you don’t want to get into negotiating how that happens just now until the problem is better defined. Again, when it comes to leadership, when it comes to the need to, you know, have no limit on cutting, don’t you think Americans understand what the problem with Social Security is? What will it take for you to join with the White House to make real reform to deal with this piece of the budget?

When interviewers like Gregory demand more “leadership” on a given issue, it’s not hard to figure out what they mean. A question like this implies that Social Security is a big, big problem in need of a big, big solution–and that raising the retirement age (which is, remember, abenefit cut) isn’t enough to deal with the problem.

Just a few months ago (FAIR Blog, 11/15/10), Gregory’s NBC program featured a discussion of the White House’s right-leaning deficit commission involving right-wingers Alan Greenspan and Newt Gingrich, with right-wing Democrat Harold Ford in the mix too. Gregory’s point then was much the same:

I don’t see why, for instance, some of these suggestions, Harold, on Social Security are going to be demagogued to death. Why, in 50 years, people can’t look at raising the retirement age and have that be a serious discussion point?

As we noted back in that November post, the retirement age is already rising, which amounts to a benefit cut for the poor, and raising the cap on taxable income–which would be a tax hike on the wealthy–would take care of all the supposed long-term problems with Social Security’s finances. But something tells me that you’re not likely to see David Gregory demanding that any political leaders declare their support for this simple fix.

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.