AP Blows Social Security Headline

The AP just posted a story after Republican Senators met with President Bush at the White House. If you read the AP’s breathless headline: “Bush Backs Soc. Sec. Bill Without Accounts,” you might be tempted to think there was a breakthrough in the Social Security stalemate. You might even think that President Bush was in fact being reasonable and willing to negotiate on his top domestic priority.

But a quick read of the actual story will quickly dispel that notion. The story cites Utah Senator Bob Bennett who is introducing two bills in the Senate — one with private accounts and one without. Not much of a compromise there So, what was Bush’s big endorsement?

According to the AP: “Bennett said when he told Bush of his plans, “He just said, ‘I like your bill.’ Period.”

The White House itself walked the story back, with White House spokesman Trent Duffy telling the AP, “This in no way should be interpreted to mean that the president is backing off of personal accounts. He is not.


This refusal to drop private accounts is old news — it is the line the White House has taken from the beginning — and is the sole reason there has been no movement on addressing Social Security’s solvency issues.

So not much of a story after all, it seems. Apparently not even enough of one for the AP headlines writers to actually take the time to read.

— Jason Miner