Chicken Little and Social Security

Last week I polled my mostly-undergraduate policy design class at Berkeley as follows:

A. Social Security is in very serious financial trouble and probably won’t be there for my parents

B. Social Security is in financial trouble and probably won’t be there for me

C. Social Security is basically OK and just needs some minor adjustments.

The results were 66 percent B, 16 percent each A and C. This is a level of misinformation in an educated population that puts the capacity of democratic governance in doubt, and raises serious questions about whether mainline media are playing straight with us. Articles like the Washington Post piece dissected and hung out to dry by Dean Baker demand we resurrect language like “kept press” from back in the thirties.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]

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Michael O’Hare

Michael O'Hare is a Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.