One of my little slogans that I've always wanted to pound into the heads of Democratic politicians is this: "All numbers that end in 'illion' sound the same." When a Republican says "Senator S0-and-so voted to increase taxes by fourteen million dollars," or "Social Security is $4 billion in debt," the fact that back on Capitol Hill, they would call those numbers "asterisks" really doesn't matter.
So I enjoyed this sentence from the Republican battle book on Social Security:
"Your audience doesn't know how trillions and billions differ. They know these numbers are large but not how many billions make a trillion."
(This is probably not because they are confused by the British system, in which one trillion is a million billion, which I didn't really understand until I tried to understand why the Financial Times always writes large numbers as "$4,000 billion.")
On the whole, though, if I were a Republican member of Congress, I don't think I'd feel too comfortable that this book would serve as the magical shield of virtue and sword of truth that would protect me from the political wrath of my constituents. I would be particularly worried by this paragraph:
"Your audience is skeptical of things that sound too perfect or too pat. They will dismiss the notion that the government can help them accumulate a million dollars in a personal account. They do not find it credible that the accounts will be easy to manage."
The playbook, as well packaged as it is, doesn't give that member of Congress much of anything to rebut these rather reasonable skepticisms. (Even under the Cato Institute's Social Security calculator, even a 35-year-old earning $70,000 would only accumulate about $600,000, so I don't know who's going to accumulate millions.)