I Defend John McCain for the First and Hopefully Last Time

(UPDATE: I was completely wrong about this; see here for proof McCain literally has no idea how Social Security works. Thanks to Jason Lefkowitz for pointing this out.)

Here’s John McCain yesterday, rambling on about Social Security:

MCCAIN: Americans have got to understand that we are paying present-day retirees with the taxes paid by young workers in America today. And that’s a disgrace. It’s an absolute disgrace, and it’s got to be fixed.

Of course, Social Security has always worked by “paying present-day retirees with the taxes paid by young workers.” Thus, many people—including Dean Baker, Bob Somerby and Matthew Yglesias—are saying McCain was calling Social Security itself “a disgrace.”

However, if you read the quote in context, it’s clear McCain meant the disgrace isn’t the basic mechanism of Social Security, but that today’s young workers are paying taxes for which they may not get their promised benefits.

The rest of McCain’s Social Security bloviations are an incredible farrago of deceit you could spend the next 100 years unraveling. But on this minor point, he actually is being treated unfairly by people who’ve let the situation get the best of them, cognitively-speaking.

ALSO: I guarantee conservatives will obsess about McCain being horribly mistreated by liberals here, and it will become yet another example of how monsters perceive themselves as martyrs.

AND: This type of behavior on my part is how I keep winning.