On Hannity, Dietl promoted Social Security falsehood

››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

On Hannity, Bo Dietl falsely asserted that "[t]en years from now" there will be only two workers for each Social Security beneficiary. He added, "The problem is there's going to be bankruptcy in Social Security and then the pension system." In fact, the 2008 Social Security trustee's report estimates that the ratio will fall from more than 3 workers for every beneficiary to a 2.2 ratio by 2030, not in "[t]en years." Furthermore, Social Security will be able to pay full benefits until 2041, at which point it will be able to cover 78 percent of benefits if no legislative changes are made.

During the February 23 edition of Hannity, Fox News contributor and private investigator Richard "Bo" Dietl falsely asserted that "[t]en years from now" there will be only two workers for each Social Security beneficiary. Dietl added, "The problem is there's going to be bankruptcy in Social Security and then the pension system." Host Sean Hannity then said, "All right. That raises one last question. That -- the Social Security bankrupt, Medicare bankrupt -- why do people put their hope that government's going to solve this and health care on top of it?" In fact, the 2008 Social Security trustee's report estimates that the current ratio will fall from more than 3 workers for every beneficiary to a 2.2 ratio in 2030, not that the ratio will be "two to one" "[t]en years from now." Furthermore, the Social Security trustees have projected that in the absence of a change in the law, Social Security will be able to pay full benefits until 2041, after which it will be able to cover between 78 and 75 percent of scheduled benefits through the end of the 75-year period covered by their 2008 long-range projection.

As Media Matters for America has noted, the 2008 Social Security trustees' report explained that "[e]ven if a trust fund's assets are exhausted ... tax income will continue to flow into the fund" and Social Security will be able to pay full benefits until 2041, at which point it will be able to cover 78 percent of benefits if no legislative changes are made:

Redemption of trust fund assets will allow continuation of full benefit payments on a timely basis until 2041, when the trust funds are projected to become exhausted. This redemption process will require a flow of cash from the General Fund of the Treasury. Pressures on the Federal Budget will thus emerge well before 2041. Even if a trust fund's assets are exhausted, however, tax income will continue to flow into the fund. Present tax rates are projected to be sufficient to pay 78 percent of scheduled benefits after trust fund exhaustion in 2041 and 75 percent of scheduled benefits in 2082.

As Media Matters has documented, in previous cable news appearances, Dietl has referred to Arabs by such names as "Aba Dabba Doos," "Ali Baba Boo," and "Aba Daba Dah." He has also said law enforcement officials should "[g]o into your 7-Elevens or go into one of these stores that keep rotating young men who are Muslims," and say "identify yourself."

From the February 23 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

ROBERT EHRLICH JR. (former Maryland governor): If they don't buy our debt, Sean, there's only one alternative, two alternatives: Raise taxes big time or print money. And print money -- we know what that leads to. We've seen that in the past.

HANNITY: Well, we got stagflation coming because --

EHRLICH: Absolutely. That's --

HANNITY: -- we're going to have high unemployment, high inflation, stagflation.

DIETL: And your other shoe's dropping very fast. You know what your big shoe's going to be? Your public pension funds. All your pension funds all are out there, and then the Social Security that we have in this country --

HANNITY: Bankrupt.

DIETL: Social Security was formulated after the Great Depression. It wasn't supposed to be pension. There were 15 people working to every one retired; now, it's three to one --

HANNITY: That's true.

DIETL: Ten years from now it's going to be two to one. The problem is there's going to be bankruptcy in Social Security and then the pension system.

HANNITY: All right. That raises one last question. That -- the Social Security bankrupt, Medicare bankrupt -- why do people put their hope that government's going to solve this and health care on top of it, Alicia?

ALICIA MENENDEZ (Democratic strategist): Because some of us are true believers. And we believe that if we actually stayed on one course, pursued one objective, we'd actually be able to get something done --

HANNITY: True believers.

MENENDEZ: -- instead of all the partisan bickering that we do.

HANNITY: All right. Repeat after me. Yes, we can. Change, change, change.

Posted In
Economy, Social Security
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Sean Hannity, Bo Dietl
Show/Publication
Hannity
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