Traverse City Record-Eagle

October 29, 2010

Analysis: Benishek ad misleading

By the Center for Michigan

---- — • Who: Dan Benishek

• Featured Campaign Material: Dan Benishek — Enough is Enough TV Ad

• Truth Squad Call: Technical Foul


"The truth is, I'm fighting to protect Social Security. I'd never do anything to jeopardize anyone's retirement."

This statement is in response to repeated claims by Benishek's opponent, Gary McDowell, and the Democratic Congressional Committee, that Benishek wants to privatize Social Security.

At a candidates' forum during the primary election, Benishek said he was in favor of a gradual phasing out of Social Security and creating personal savings accounts.

On his website, Benishek said he supports keeping the current system for those now drawing benefits, but says Social Security needs to be overhauled for younger workers. He stated:

"These reforms should include providing younger workers with the option of investing a portion of their current Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts, similar to the retirement plan already available to federal employees. The program should also include a property right so workers can pass on these assets to their heirs."

"What should really scare us is Obama's and Pelosi's devastating cuts to Medicare."

Benishek has said that Medicare should be phased out in favor of health savings accounts. But in his ad, he's accusing President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of eroding Medicare by cutting $500 billion from the program to pay for the new federal health care law, known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.

Benishek's ad says the health care law would cut $500 billion from Medicare. This is a scare tactic Republicans are using in ads attacking numerous Democratic candidates for Congress.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, regarded as a non-partisan national expert in health care, issued a report in August that says Medicaid spending would increase under the federal health care reform from $519 billion in 2010 to $929 billion in 2020 — a slower rate than under previous law, but still a substantial increase.

TRUTH SQUAD CALL: Technical Foul.

Technical foul for suggesting the new health care law will make "devastating cuts" to Medicare when the law actually attempts to slow spending increases — and he would eliminate the program completely.

The Center for Michigan is a centerist think-and-do tank founded by former newspaper publisher and University of Michigan Regent Phil Power.