AP falsely reported Obama called Social Security "the single most pressing fiscal challenge we face by far"

››› ››› ANDREW WALZER

AP's Liz Sidoti falsely reported that at his fiscal responsibility summit, President Obama "called the long-term solvency of Social Security 'the single most pressing fiscal challenge we face by far.' " In fact, Obama made that comment in reference to "the rising cost of health care."

In a February 23 Associated Press article, Liz Sidoti falsely reported that at his fiscal responsibility summit, President Obama "called the long-term solvency of Social Security 'the single most pressing fiscal challenge we face by far.' " In fact, as blogger Kovie at OpenLeft.com has noted, Obama did not call the long-term solvency of Social Security "the single most pressing fiscal challenge we face by far"; rather, in delivering the summit's opening remarks, Obama made that comment in reference to "the rising cost of health care":

OBAMA: Now, I want to be very clear: While we are making important progress towards fiscal responsibility this year in this budget, this is just the beginning. In the coming years, we'll be forced to make more tough choices and do much more to address our long-term challenges, from the rising cost of health care that Peter [Orszag, Office of Management and Budget director] described, which is the single most pressing fiscal challenge we face by far, to the long-term solvency of Social Security.

As Media Matters for America has repeatedly noted, the 2008 Social Security trustees' report forecasts that, in the absence of a change in the law, Social Security will be able to pay full benefits until 2041, after which it will be able to cover 78 percent of currently scheduled benefits, going down to 75 percent through the end of the 75-year period the report's long-range projection covered.

From Sidoti's February 23 AP article:

Urging strict future restraint even as current spending soars, President Barack Obama pledged on Monday to dramatically slash the skyrocketing annual budget deficit as he started to dole out the record $787 billion economic stimulus package he signed last week.

"If we confront this crisis without also confronting the deficits that helped cause it, we risk sinking into another crisis down the road," the president warned, promising to cut the yearly deficit in half by the end of his four-year term. "We cannot simply spend as we please and defer the consequences."

He said he would reinstitute a pay-as-you-go rule that calls for spending reductions to match increases and would shun what he said were the past few years' "casual dishonesty of hiding irresponsible spending with clever accounting tricks." He called the long-term solvency of Social Security "the single most pressing fiscal challenge we face by far" and said reforming health care, including burgeoning entitlement programs, was a huge priority.

Posted In
Economy, Social Security
Network/Outlet
Associated Press
Person
Liz Sidoti
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