Permanently Fixing the Facts

The most recent post from takes issue with the AARP’s newspaper advertisement opposing President Bush’s Social Security privatization scheme. Specifically, it seeks to cast doubt on the claim — which it attributes to the AARP — that “the current Social Security system” can “be fixed with only ‘a few moderate changes.’

FactCheck then goes through some reform plans that don’t include privatization and notes that “some proposals turn out to be only temporary fixes” that merely “put the system in balance for a 75-year period immediately following enactment.” FactCheck cautions that making the system solvent in perpetuity “requires bigger changes.”

What’s puzzling about this is that the AARP’s ad never claims moderate changes could “permanently fix” the system. As FactCheck acknowledges, the ad simply says, “Yes, the program is in need of reform, which can be done with a few moderate changes.” FactCheck’s own analysis states there are several moderate changes that could make the system rock solid for 75 years.