On the February 6 edition of the syndicated Chris Matthews Show, author, Weekly Standard online columnist and nationally syndicated radio host Hugh Hewitt falsely claimed that President Bush's plan to partially privatize Social Security "appeals to people who are 30 and under. ... [b]ecause they know they'll get no money if they stick with the current plan."
In fact, according to the Social Security trust fund's 2004 report, the current system could pay out full benefits until 2042, 73 percent of currently scheduled benefits immediately thereafter, and 68 percent of benefits in 2078; and according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office's 2004 projections, the current system could pay out full benefits until 2052, 81 percent of currently scheduled benefits in 2053, and 71 percent in 2100. Moreover, recent polling indicates that support for private accounts among young people drops significantly when the potential realities of such a system -- decreased guaranteed benefits and $2 trillion in transition costs -- are included in the poll questions.
From the February 6 edition of The Chris Matthews Show:
HEWITT: This [Bush] plan appeals to people who are 30 and under. It revitalized the [Republican] party in terms of innovation and being --
MATTHEWS: Why would a young person like the plan for privatization?
HEWITT: Because they know they'll get no money if they stick with the current plan. They know it's not there -- after 2042 it's, what, $600 billion a year in a shortfall. So they know they're going to get shortchanged paying for my retirement, paying for yours.
Hewitt's radio show, syndicated by Salem Radio Network, airs on more than 75 stations nationwide. His books include If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat: Crushing the Democrats In Every Election and Why Your Life Depends On It (Nelson Books, July 2004) and In, But Not Of: A Guide to Christian Ambition (Nelson Books, 2003).