Fox News' Carlson falsely claimed "Social Security [is] already bankrupt"
Research ››› ››› ANDREW WALZER
Gretchen Carlson falsely claimed that "Social Security [is] already bankrupt." In fact, Social Security will be able to pay full benefits until 2041, after which it will be able to cover 78 percent of scheduled benefits, according to the 2008 Social Security trustees' report.
During the April 8 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson falsely claimed that "Social Security [is] already bankrupt." In fact, the Social Security and Medicare Boards of 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 repeatedly 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.
From the April 8 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
CARLSON: Is the secret out? Is President Obama, when he comes back to the U.S. -- he's back now on our soil -- is he going to have to raise taxes to pay for all of his programs? John.
JOHN PODHORETZ (Commentary magazine editor): Well, he's always said that he is going to raise taxes on high earners. The question has always been whether -- given the astoundingly large nature of the deficits that he is going to create -- whether he will be very much tempted to violate his campaign pledge and raise taxes on people who earn less than $250,000 a year.
He will have to. He will have no choice but to do so because he wants to spend -- create a deficit that this year is going to be $2 trillion.
CARLSON: I can see you trying to do the math in your head as you're discussing -- but you --
PODHORETZ: No, no. It was 1.75 trillion and then --
CARLSON: I know. The numbers are hard.
PODHORETZ: -- the Congressional Budget Office just announced --
CARLSON: It's hard for the average American to get to the trillion mode. I know.
PODHORETZ: -- $2 trillion.
CARLSON: All right, Judith, you're shaking your head, why?
JUDITH MILLER (Manhattan Institute senior fellow): No, because, right now, he has a situation in which we still have eight-and-a-half percent unemployment, and it's still rising. The numbers are still going up. Obama is looking for stimulus, and that does not mean more taxes. That means actually fewer taxes right now.
You know, he's going to worry about raising taxes, John, in his second term in office.
CARLSON: Well, right. That's what this article this morning is saying -- is that this is a long-range plan, because we're going to have all the baby boomers retiring at that point. Social Security -- already bankrupt. Your thoughts, Michael?
MICHAEL GOODWIN (New York Daily News columnist): Well, Social Security, obviously, at some point, he's going to have to, you know, raise the limits of income by -- under which you pay taxes. Maybe you raise the rate. He talked about that during the campaign.