Thursday, January 09, 2014

Books on Social Security

I'm embarking on a reading program of books about Social Security, and thought you might enjoy this little illustration of the dangers of believing the blurbs on the backs of books.

The book I'm looking at is called The Looting of Social Security, by Allen Smith.

The blurb on the book comes from Publishers Weekly and says:
Smith, a retired ecomomics professor, presents what is at heart a straightforward grievance: for more than a decade, political leaders from both parties have used various accounting tricks to shift the Social Security surplus into the general budget, in violation of federal law, and have lied about the nation's financial status, with the probably (sic) result, Smith says, that they'll run Social Security into the ground by 2018 ...
Checking the Publishers Weekly review, that truly is the first sentence of the review (minus turning probable into an adverb).

But the next two sentences of the review take a slightly different tone:
He propounds every point of that grievance over and over, even quoting the same speeches in separate chapters. The text is further padded by long excerpts from the Congressional Record, an entire AP dispatch about Smith's exploits driving around Florida in a "debtmobile" covered in slogans, even the complete transcript of a CNN appearance to promote his previous book (The Alleged Budget Surplus ).
I haven't started reading yet, but will try to give him a fair hearing. As an antidote, next up is Social Security: the Phony Crisis, by Dean Baker and Mark Weisbrot.

1 comment:

trog69 said...

Good afternoon, Mr. Miller. I was sent here by a link from the WaMo, and I like what I've seen so far. I look forward to your critiques of the reading material.