Cable news features a kind of combat journalism that tends to reward aggression and certitude more than the calm recitation of facts. Which may be why a spirited exchange last week between MSNBC host
and Republican Rep.
of Florida lit up social media.
Mr. Donalds told Ms. Reid that House Republicans plan to use their new majority to take a hard look at entitlement spending, noting that without action, “Social Security is going to be insolvent in 2035.” Ms. Reid, who is often wrong but seldom in doubt, shot back, “That’s not true!” When Mr. Donalds attempted to explain the math, Ms. Reid shook her head and repeatedly shouted over him, “That’s actually not true!”
Except it is true. A Congressional Research Service report from last year projected that “the combined Social Security trust funds will become depleted in 2035.” A separate Congressional Budget Office assessment released last month was even more dire. “In CBO’s projections, spending on Social Security exceeds revenues to the program in 2022 and increases relative to GDP over the next 75 years, while revenues remain stable. If combined, the program’s trust funds would be exhausted in 2033.”
To his credit, Mr. Donalds stood his ground. “Those are the facts. Should we not prepare for that?” he asked. Ms. Reid’s response was to accuse her guest of wanting to privatize Social Security and subject it to the “whims of the market.” Mr. Donalds said that he opposed Social Security privatization but added that if the entitlement had been subjected to market trends, it would be in much better shape: “If you look at the returns of the S&P 500 since 2006 until today, the growth rate of the S&P 500 would have more than taken care of Social Security, way more than the federal government has.”
Again the lawmaker had the facts on his side. The Washington Examiner reports that “the S&P 500…