FOX News chief Washington correspondent Jim Angle suggested that Rep. Steny Hoyer's (D-MD) recent assertion that President Bush's plans to partially privatize Social Security will include substantial benefit cuts was inaccurate because "the president has not proposed" benefit cuts.
In fact, as Media Matters for America has noted, White House aides and congressional Republicans have said in anonymous statements that Bush will propose reducing benefits (see here and here). Moreover, "Model 2" from Bush's 2001 Commission to Strengthen Social Security, widely expected to form the basis of the reform plan Bush will propose (see here, here, here, and here), reduces benefits by indexing the growth of initial benefit levels to prices rather than wages, as is currently done. A leaked memo about Bush's plans for Social Security from Peter H. Wehner, head of the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives, also endorsed this concept.
From the February 23 edition of FOX News' Special Report with Brit Hume:
ANGLE: Hoyer also repeatedly told the crowd that private accounts would mean huge benefit cuts.
HOYER: Even if you choose not to invest in a private account, your benefits will still be cut 40 percent.
ANGLE: Benefit cuts could be used to fix the solvency problem -- but the president has not proposed that -- and they would not be needed to pay for personal accounts, though borrowing would, as Hoyer later clarified.
Angle similarly suggested on February 9 that Democrats were dishonest for claiming that President Bush plans to cut Social Security benefits.