Other voices could have helped out here. Laced through the segment were comparisons to household budgets, clearly an analogy listeners could relate to. There was a comment from an economist named Diane Lim Rogers, who writes a blog called EconomistMom.com. She said: “countries, like households, are better off when their budget is under control.” Her other credentials, please. Some Social Security experts question the analogy to household finances. Yale political science professor emeritus Theodore Marmor told CJR that “the analogy to personal finances, when addressing Social Security (or government altogether) is a motherlode of nonsense.” It is inappropriate to equate individuals and their own budget problems with the U.S. government, he said, because governments can tax; people can’t. Governments can reduce the level of benefits, or adjust who receives them. Private citizens can’t do that either.

NPR concluded: “So far, lawmakers have shown more fear than faith,” and it will be up to the public to decide whether forestalling a “future debt crunch” is worth the tough choices now. Yes, the public will ultimately decide—but they need good, complete, and factual information to make their decisions. That, as Campaign Desk continues to point out, has been lacking from the media so far.

For more from Trudy Lieberman on Social Security and entitlement reform, click here.

Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.