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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of Sept. 6-12

This week, readers sent us comments about our fact-checks of the Reagan presidential debate and ads in a New York special election.

In the FactCheck Mailbag, we feature some of the e-mail we receive. Readers can send comments to editor@factcheck.org. Letters may be edited for length.

Reagan Debate Responses

You said in ["FactChecking the Reagan Debate," Sept. 8]:

Perry exaggerated when he called Social Security a "Ponzi scheme" that won't be there for "kids that are 25 or 30 years old today." Social Security's finances — while troubled — are an open book, not an investment scam, and the program could still support 74 percent of promised benefits in 2085.

Your comment reflects that you truly didn’t understand what Rick Perry was saying.

I don’t believe that Rick is saying that Social Security is a technical Ponzi scheme, but it certainly relies on younger people to pay in so the old folks can get their Social Security benefits. No young people, no money. The young pay for the old, they don’t pay in for themselves. The money they pay in is long gone by the time they are ready to retire unless there are some substantial changes to Social Security.

What Rick Perry said below is VERY true, and to say otherwise is really a lie about reality! 

Perry: It is a Ponzi scheme to tell our kids that are 25 or 30 years old today, you're paying into a program that's going to be there. Anybody that's for the status quo with Social Security today is involved with a monstrous lie to our kids, and it's not right.

I think you need to reevaluate carefully what you consider the truth versus a lie.

Karen Evans,
Maple Valley, Wash.


I was a little disappointed in your story about gasoline prices and Bachmann's claim. You stated that the price was around $4 a few months before Obama took office. It dropped radically to under $2 per gallon just before Obama took office.

You erred by omission when you failed to state why — due to immediately surrounding events. The price of gasoline dropped radically and temporarily in late 2008 due to the crash in our economy.

That was not a good thing and was not a credit to the previous administration. The return to about $4 was the norm at that time and was not due to any Obama policy, as Bachmann implied.

Harry Thorn
Philadelphia, Pa.


Medicare Cuts

Factcheck and Bob Turner can't have it both ways [" 'Panicked' Dems Run False Ad in NYC," Sept. 10]. If the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed, then that will cancel some of the added Medicare benefits included in that law.

Turner says he won't do anything to "impact the benefits of current seniors," but if the ACA is repealed, then that will cancel the increased "donut hole" coverage in Medicare Part D, and also added preventive care benefits like an annual no-cost wellness exam and other no-cost screening exams that have already benefited many current seniors. 

The ad is correct in saying that Turner will cut Medicare benefits for current seniors.

James Godwin
Pittsboro, N.C.

FactCheck.org Responds: We said the ad was false regarding Social Security, but not Medicare. Regarding Medicare, we said (in the second paragraph) that Turner favored "repeal of the new health care law which, among other things, improved Medicare's coverage of prescription drugs." The item also noted: "Despite Turner's promise to preserve Medicare as is for current beneficiaries, he also favors repeal of the new health care law, which among other things phases out a gap in coverage for Part D, which covers prescription drugs."