Social Security is as close to insolvency as you can get and not be belly up. Government watchdogs warn that Social Security will see a $7 trillion shortfall by 2086. But the Associated Press says, don't worry about all that, America. Why, the Social Security system isn't as bad as Europe's public pension mess, so everything's just fine. Move along. Nothing to see here.
In the article, AP sets about comparing Europe's public pension systems to Social Security. In so doing AP is apparently trying to quell fears that Social Security is in crisis. Why, Europe's is in worse shape, so Social Security is "downright frugal," The AP says.
Not only is the AP apparently trying to make Americans forget all about the mess that our entitlements are in, but the venerable wire service goes on to note that Europe's benefits are far more generous than our miserly Social Security.
AP points out that those lucky Europeans can retire earlier than Americans and also informs readers that this Nirvana was created by high taxes. See, Europe is better.
If you are wondering why the AP has suddenly gotten all starry-eyed over Europe's fantabulous retirement systems, let me give you two words: Paul Ryan.
You see, Mitt Romney's pick of Paul Ryan for his vice presidential running mate has changed the focus of the national debate. It has gone from the lies that Obama was spreading in his cynical campaign ads and distractions like tax returns to "the economy, stupid."
Paul Ryan is also known as an entitlement reformer. That being the case, the AP has rushed out the weekend of Mitt Romney's announcement of Ryan's pick to note that all this worrying over Social Security is just craziness. Why, AP tells us, Europe is doing great and they have extremely high taxes, and dreamily generous government-sponsored retirement benefits and even if they are in trouble, our system is not in nearly as deep.
So, what is APs message to America? It appears to be that the AP is telling readers that Europe is worse off so our situation is nothing to worry about. As if the AP is saying, that Paul Ryan sure is an overreacting nut that wants to throw grandma off a cliff, isn't he?