“Where’s the president?” he asked. NPR reported that, at his last press conference, Obama “did seem close to talking about Social Security.” Did NPR assume that the president was thinking about Social Security when he said that after tackling defense spending, tax expenditures, and tax loopholes, we would tackle “entitlements?” Perhaps he was talking about Medicare, which is heading for financial trouble—much more trouble than Social Security is in.
NPR then gave the Democrats their turn, reporting that “Democrats on Capitol Hill seem even less inclined than the president to touch the Social Security third rail.” Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, stuck up for the little guy, nothing that Social Security is about the only thing many Americans think they can count on during these hard times.
South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, also a Republican deficit hawk, got in his two cents. He conceded it was politically dangerous to press for Social Security reforms now, but noted that the mood of the country is different: “They expect us to do things to stop the bankrupting of the country.”
NPR did offer the thoughts of one other Democrat and one independent. Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski believes the GOP wants to privatize Social Security.” Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, says: “This country faces a lot of very serious crises which should be dealt with yesterday. Social Security happens not to be one of them.” Then the kicker: “Not for Democrats anyway,” said NPR. What’s the public supposed to make of that?
There you have it—five Republicans vs. two Democrats and an independent. I suppose that’s one way to measure bias. Another way is to think about what NPR left out.
For more from Trudy Lieberman on Social Security and entitlement reform, click here.