Fox News has been waging a media war on poor Americans for some time now, in support of their Republican friends’ political agenda. Recently, that war has expanded, and now the network is also going after Social Security, which to Fox personalities, like many Republican politicians, is what they like to call an “entitlement.”
To the GOP and Fox News, “entitlement” implies that people expect to be given things just because they think they deserve them. To Fox personalities like Eric Bolling, the words “entitlement” and “handout” are synonymous. But the dictionary defines entitlement as “the amount to which a person has a right.” Guess what? People have a right to Social Security, because they have earned it.
On the Fox show The Five, Social Security came up during a discussion about Bernie Sanders and “socialism.” It wasn’t enough to attack Sanders, who is called a “communist” and other words that Fox News knows are not viewed favorably by most Americans. They had to try and tie Social Security in with socialism.
Bolling wants to know why we don’t just get rid of the whole Social Security system. Former George W. Bush mouthpiece Dana Perino agrees. Then Bolling says,
God forbid you go back to you earn your money, you save your money, you keep your money, you spend your money and then you retire.
Next comes Kimberly Guilfoyle, who adds,
I mean, I don’t understand why we have to act like this country is so crippled and everybody has to take a knee and get a handout. Come on, grow up!
There are several problems with Bolling’s suggestion about saving your money. First, it assumes that everyone would have the discipline to do so. And what happens to those who don’t? They would eventually wind up on some sort of government assistance, or if people like Bolling had their way, they would simply starve.
Bolling might assume that eliminating the FICA tax burden on employers might lead to higher wages. But there’s no guarantee of that, which means that workers could be left much worse off than they are now — the loss of a guaranteed retirement plan, and wages that remain stagnant.
Workers who invest in mutual funds and stocks for retirement would be subject to market fluctuations. Remember Bush’s brilliant idea about privatizing Social Security? The one he was pushing before the stock market collapsed? Social Security is one of the last of a dying breed: the defined benefit pension. No matter what happens with the stock market or interest rates, Social Security recipients know exactly what they will get each month.
Here are a few facts about Social Security that Fox and Republicans won’t tell you:
- Most people no longer collect as much in benefits as they pay into the system.
- Many who work at jobs requiring physical labor can’t make it to the current retirement age. Raising the retirement age would make that situation worse.
- People are not “living a lot longer than they used to.” Life expectancy at age 65 has increased very little over the past 75 years.
- Thanks to Social Security, the poverty rate among the elderly declined dramatically through the last half of the 20th century.
So no, Eric Bolling, Kimberly Guilfoyle and Fox News, Social Security isn’t a “handout.” We earned every penny of it!
Here’s the video, via MediaMatters:
Featured image via Fox News/Media Matters screen capture