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It was more than a little disappointing to see the U.S. Senate come within one vote of adopting a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution. It was much more disappointing, however, to see Democrats claim that a balanced-budget amendment would somehow jeopardize Social Security.

As Ronald Reagan said, "There you go again."

Why is that whenever the Democratic leadership can't offer logical arguments to support their positions, they turn to demagoguery designed to scare the wits out of Americans?

Remember the previous efforts to balance the budget? Republicans offered a plan -- without a constitutional amendment -- that would bring federal spending in line with anticipated revenue by the year 2002. But Democrats countered the GOP plan would work only through massive "cuts" in Medicare and Social Security. Never mind that the Republican plan forecast annual increases in Medicare benefits, albeit smaller increases than the Democrats favored.

There you have it. If you want to turn public sentiment against an otherwise good proposal, just tell hard-working taxpayers that they will lost their Medicare benefits or stop getting Social Security checks.

And, in spite of the low credibility ratings among politicians, many Americans believe these rantings.

So when Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle said -- with a straight face -- that the balanced-budget amendment proposal "shouldn't force us to break that historic contract" that Americans have regarding their dependence on Social Security, millions of Americans said to themselves, "Gosh, we don't want a balanced-budget amendment that takes away Social Security."

But wait a minute. Just because Tom Daschle says that is what would happen doesn't make it so. In fact, Daschle's bold claim underscores the reality of a systems Democrats have long supported: borrowing from Social Security to keep the federal government afloat. Currently, the nation owes the Social Security trust fund some $600 billion -- 11 percent of the total debt.

Bottom line: Daschle and his cohorts apparently believe the only way to balance the budget is to continue borrowing from Social Security rather than restricting government spending to tax revenue.

It is a sad state of affairs when Democrats can hold off a sensible and logical plan to balance the budget on an argument that isn't even based on facts.