CBS News again carried water for Bush Social Security plan


CBS Early Show anchor René Syler echoed the crisis rhetoric the Bush administration has adopted in its attempt sell the public on partially privatized Social Security. On January 5, Syler reported:

New details today about how President Bush plans to save Social Security. He's reportedly leaning toward allowing younger workers to invest $1,300 a year into private accounts. The rest would go into the current system.

President Bush's biography on the White House website indicates that he "is working to save" Social Security, and in recent presidential radio addresses (on December 11 and December 18) the president said Americans must "act to save it [Social Security]."

In adopting Bush's assertion that the program needs to be "saved," Syler ignored the overwhelming consensus that Social Security is not in "crisis," as the Bush administration claims. The Social Security Board of Trustees (of which four of six are Bush appointees) estimated in its 2004 Report of the Board of Trustees of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds (OASDI) that Social Security "assets are projected to be exhausted in 2042," at which point, if left unchanged, "tax income would cover 73 percent of costs"; the report states that the system could still pay out 68 percent by 2078, as Media Matters for America has noted. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected in June 2004 that Social Security "outlays are projected to begin exceeding revenues in 2019" but that "[t]he expected trust fund exhaustion date -- the year in which the trust fund balance (and thus the trust fund ratio) falls to zero -- is 2052 in CBO's projection."

On December 15, CBS Evening News inaccurately asserted that Social Security's projected insolvency in 2042 would result in "0 benefits."

Posted In
Economy, Social Security
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