Hurt owes better explanation on Social Security position

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    ( – promoted by lowkell)

    Robert Hurt owes citizens of the Fifth District a better explanation of where he stands on eliminating and/or privatizing Social Security, if only to demonstrate that he knows what the Hell he is talking about.

    I’m not holding my breath. This guy’s strategy, like that of Repubs around the country, is to say as little as possible, and hope that popular anger stoked by a dismal economy (mostly the fault of GOP policies) will catapult them into the office in November.

    Sadly, current polls say their plan might work – I admit that. But it does not excuse Hurt and his fellow Republicans from demonstrating that they at least understand the issues facing Americans today, rather than showing that they are simply adept at tapping into people’s fears and repeating talking points.

    And Social Security provides a clear example of this, because the current evidence clearly shows that Hurt either does not appear to understand this critical issue, or is purposefully lying to people about where he stands.

    Hurt has been accused of supporting the privatization of Social Security based on his support for Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposed plan to balance the budget. That is a reasonable accusation, because Ryan’s plan, among other things, calls not only for the privatization of Social Security, but also for the end of Medicare, and if that is Hurt’s blueprint for balancing the budget, voters have a right to know.

    It’s worth noting that while there are plenty of Repubs on the talk show circuit who will cite Ryan’s plan when asked about how they would balance the budget, his plan actually has little support among serious policy makers, or even within the GOP caucus, mainly because privatization of Social Security and terminating Medicare are simply not politically serious alternatives.

    Here is the heart of Hurt’s problem. Answering the accusation, Hurt quickly denied he favored privatization. “I am not in favor of privatizing Social Security,” Hurt said in a June interview in the Register & Bee. “That is a promise that has been made, it has been earned, and it’s something that must be kept. End of story.”

    (more after the jump)

    Well, maybe that was the end of the story, but unfortunately for Hurt, that was not the end of his remarks, and so the GOP candidate for Congress in the Fifth District demonstrated he was, actually, ignorant about the issue. “I think it is a crime that the money that has been set aside for Social Security over the years is totally gone, I think that it is reckless beyond words.”

    What on Earth is he talking about? The money set aside is totally gone? The only thing totally gone here is Hurt’s credibility as a serious policy maker.

    First, you can’t both oppose privatization of Social Security and point to Ryan’s plan as a way to bring down federal spending. It is not as if privatization of Social Security is a minor matter in Ryan’s plan – it is at the core of it. If there is no privatization, Ryan’s plan simply does not add up (it is questionable, of course, that his plan even adds up with privatization, but that’s another post).

    Now, I seriously doubt whether the average voter in the 5th CD is steeped in this minutia to understand how Hurt is lying to them. But, hopefully, the media will be able to cut through this and press Hurt on what he is really for, so voters can gain an understanding of how he might represent them in Washington on this critical issue.

    But of greater import in the immediate term is whether Hurt even understands how Social Security works, because without that, how can he possibly come to a reasoned and intelligent position on the issue.

    Hurt needs to explain why he thinks the money “that has been set aside for Social Security over the years is totally gone.” I can’t even come up with a speculative explanation of what this might mean.

    Possibly, he is talking here about the Social Security Trust Fund, but this fund is not “totally gone.” Heck, it’s not even partially gone. It is, by law, invested in U.S. Government debt. The Social Security Trust Fund is complete, and it is secure – unless you don’t believe in the good credit of the United State of America.

    I mean, seriously, this is basic stuff.

    Does Hurt not know this? Or worse, does Hurt know this, but is he saying here that an investment in U.S. debt is an investment that is “totally gone?”

    I wish someone would ask him, because Lord knows that Hurt will likely not answer the question of a lowly liberal blogger.

    But Hurt owes it to the people in this district that he knows what he is talking about, and not just mindlessly repeating talking points he think will tap into voter anger and get him elected.

    And our media, whom Hurt must answer to, owe it to the people to ask these questions and demand coherent answers.