Luntz Watch: Social Security Arguments “Lack Factual Discipline”

[Influential conservative strategist Frank Luntz has produced a 160-page playbook to advance the right-wing agenda. Think Progress cuts through the spin and gives you the tools you need to fight back. Check here for updates throughout the week.]

Frank Luntz states the obvious — conservatives aren’t being honest about Social Security:

As it stands now, Republicans lack factual discipline. Figures, dates and even analogies are woefully all over the place.

In the same chapter, he advises this dishonest response to concerns that Bush’s $2 trillion privatization scheme is too expensive:

The perfect response is to show that yes, we know that, and look at how doing nothing is MUCH more expensive (11 trillion dollars).

That statement forcefully implies that private accounts will solve any long range shortfall in the Social Security system. In fact, even the administration has conceded, private accounts will do nothing to improve the financial condition of Social Security. From the LA Times on February 3:

A Bush aide, briefing reporters on the condition of anonymity [said] that the individual accounts would do nothing to solve the system’s long-term financial problems.