March 16, 2014

Abby Huntsman, shame on you! You have a platform to use responsibly, not to spout talking points that have been debunked over and over again.

Yes, the granddaughter of a billionaire, daughter of millionaire and 2012 presidential candidate Jon Huntsman went on a rant last week about how millennials aren't going to get Social Security. That's an old saw. We baby boomers heard it, too and quite nearly were sold the same bill of BS goods back in the early 80s.

Michael Hiltzik slammed her today in his LA Times column:

Huntsman wants to tell it like it is, but she fails due to lack of information. And if her generation believes what she said, it's going to be in deep trouble.

A lot of her spiel resembles the rants issuing from the mouth of former GOP Sen. Alan Simpson, 82, a veteran font of Social Social Security misinformation--which shows, one supposes, that error and ignorance is no respecter of age. Most of it has been debunked so thoroughly and repeatedly that one is tempted to believe that the misrepresentations are deliberate.

But as a favor to Huntsman and her generation, we'll set her straight. Again.

Gawd, I love Michael Hiltzik. Read the whole thing.

RJ Eskow followed that up with an open letter:

Even more importantly, it was disappointing to see you repeat the phony claim that there is a "generational war" between the young and the old. The real "war" in this country is between the haves and the have-nots, and it's no secret who's winning that one. In fact, this notion of a "generational war" was dreamed up in the think tanks and PR firms of billionaires, so that credulous journalists, politicians, and yes, news anchors, would pick it up and repeat it endlessly.

Mission accomplished: many of them have.


Let's be real here. We know that Social Security cuts aren't likely to affect baby boomers nearly as much as they will the generations that follow -- particularly millennials. So why push the idea that old people are greedy, when all that does is provide ammunition for an argument that will be used to shaft your fellow young people?

Again, we know who's getting all the national wealth, and it's not old people. Let's look at the facts: in 2012, the average Social Security benefit was $13,648, or $1137 a month. And that's the average -- for workers with low earning, or those (primarily women) who take time out of the workforce to perform caregiving work, benefits are often much lower. For two-thirds of beneficiaries, Social Security makes up half their income or more.

We've heard all of Abby's points for decades. Actually, they've been around since Social Security passed and are nothing more than the product of resistance by the 'haves' who don't think they live in a society where the elderly should have a solid safety net under them. She does a disservice to all of us by repeating them, especially under the guise of a doomsday message for her fellow millennials.

Social Security is -- bar none -- the most successful and solvent social program in this country. It will be there for millennials and generations following if they choose not to listen to Abby Huntsman's tired arguments against it.

Now is the time to expand Social Security, not cut it. We should make that expansion for Abby's generation and those who currently benefit, because it's the right and moral thing to do.

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