Tags: julia | obama | ad | social | security

Washington Post: Obama Ad Misleading on Social Security

Monday, 07 May 2012 12:54 PM

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The claim made in President Barack Obama’s “Life of Julia” info graphic that under Mitt Romney the fictional Julia’s Social Security benefits could be cut by 40 percent is misleading, The Washington Post said in a fact check that awarded the spot three Pinocchios.

The Obama campaign’s “Life of Julia” graphic is a step-by-step look at how “President Obama's policies help one woman over her lifetime — and how Mitt Romney would change her story.” The graphic begins when Julia is three and ends with her retired at 67.

The Post, in its fact check, chose to “examine the claim about Social Security because it is a good example of a campaign trick of comparing specifics vs. an unrealistic perfect.”

The Julia graphic says that under Obama, Julia “receives monthly benefits that help her retire comfortably.”

“It does not promise that projected benefits will not be cut, but it certainly implies that,” the Post said. “And how does the Obama campaign figure that Romney, by contrast, has Social Security proposals that ‘could’ cut benefits by 40 percent? Here, the campaign assumes that Romney’s plan is similar to a plan advanced by three Republican senators, who proposed raising the retirement age and reducing benefits for higher wage earners — two proposals embraced by Romney.”

The Post found that while Romney is proposing a cut in benefits for high-wage earners, candidate Obama in 2008 also targeted high wage earners as a way to extend Social Security’s solvency, pushing a payroll tax increase on those making more than $250,000. He opposed an increase in the retirement age.

“This frame of the ‘Life of Julia’ series is fairly misleading,” the Post concluded. “If Obama actually does something to improve the solvency of Social Security, benefits are likely to be cut in some fashion. If Obama — and future presidents — do nothing, benefits will also be cut.

“The Obama campaign could have chosen to fight Romney with real specifics — such as saying that Julia could retire as scheduled, without fear of an increase in her retirement age — but instead it chose to compare a version of Romney’s proposals with a potentially unrealistic outcome.

“Three Pinocchios.”


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