Harry Reid defends Social Security to David Gregory

Harry Reid did a great job recently of defending Social Security on Meet the Press. As you watch, note Reid’s argument and tone. But don’t ignore David Gregory — listen to his tone.

So two points. First, our nice president is trying to figure out whether to attack Social Security (in the nice way, of course) during his State of the Union speech. It looks like Reid is sending a message — Don’t.

Why? Because Obama will sink the Democrats in Congress if he does. For Reid, who barely survived his own recent Teabag attack, that’s a decent reason.

(You can make the same case to your own congress-type, by the way; just pick up the phone.)

Second, does David Gregory sound like a questioner, or an eager advocate for the other side? To help you decide, here’s a transcript of the conversation, thanks to Crooks & Liars (my emphasis):

DAVID GREGORY: Social Security– how does it have to change? [Note the assumption.] What they put on the agenda is raising the retirement age, maybe means testing benefits. Is it time for Social Security to fundamentally change if you’re gonna deal with the debt problem?

HARRY REID: One of the things that always troubles me is when we start talking about the debt, the first thing people do is run to Social Security. Social Security is a program that works. And it’s going to be– it’s fully funded for the next forty years. Stop picking on Social Security. There’re a lotta places–

DAVID GREGORY: Senator are you really saying

HARRY REID: –where you can go to save money.

DAVID GREGORY:– the arithmetic on Social Security works?

HARRY REID: I’m saying the arithmetic in Social Security works. I have no doubt it does.

DAVID GREGORY: It’s not in crisis?

HARRY REID: The ne– no, it’s not in crisis. This is– this is– this is something that’s perpetuated by people who don’t like government. Social Security is fine. Are there things we can do to improve Social Security? Of course.

Sounds to me like David Gregory is incredulous, or acting like it. (If so, who’s the target of that incredulity — Reid? Or you?)

Because you would think that a name journalist who is not a retainer would already know for sure that the arithmetic clearly works (pdf; scroll to the Trust Fund info). And he’d be willing to say so.

But hey, I’ve been wrong before.


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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