NY Times uncritically quoted McCain's false assertion that young people won't receive Social Security

››› ››› CHRISTINE SCHWEN

On the New York Times political blog The Caucus, reporter Michael Cooper uncritically quoted Sen. John McCain saying: "But we have to work together to save Social Security. This young man standing right in front of me -- Social Security benefits won't be there for him when he retires." In fact, according to the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees, if no legislative changes are made, "Tax income would cover 75 percent of scheduled benefits in the final year (2082) of the 75-year projection period."

In a July 30 post on the New York Times political blog The Caucus, reporter Michael Cooper uncritically quoted Sen. John McCain's false assertion that young people will not receive Social Security benefits when they retire. According to Cooper, during a July 30 appearance in Colorado, McCain said: "But we have to work together to save Social Security. This young man standing right in front of me -- Social Security benefits won't be there for him when he retires. Is this right for us to lay on to the next generation of Americans the burden that we've imposed on them? No.''

In fact, as Media Matters for America has documented, according to the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees, if no legislative changes are made, "Tax income would cover 75 percent of scheduled benefits in the final year (2082) of the 75-year projection period."

From the Summary of the 2008 Annual Social Security and Medicare Trust Fund Reports by the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees:

For OASDI [the combined Old-Age and Survivors' Insurance and Disability Insurance trust funds], interest income will first be needed to pay a portion of benefits in 2017, although the trust funds will continue to accumulate assets. In 2027, trust fund assets will begin to be depleted and are projected to be exhausted in 2041, after which continuing tax income would be sufficient to cover 78 percent of scheduled benefits. Tax income would cover 75 percent of scheduled benefits in the final year (2082) of the 75-year projection period. Although the projected exhaustion date for the DI Trust Fund is 2025, the value of the OASI Trust Fund would be sufficient at that point to make assets available to pay full DI benefits, but only with authorizing legislation.

From Cooper's post, titled "Once More, With (a Little Less) Feeling":

Senator John McCain waded once more Wednesday evening into the fraught question of whether he would consider raising payroll taxes to shore up Social Security.

Mr. McCain told donors at a fund-raiser here that "in any negotiation that I might have, when I go in my position will be that I am opposed to raising taxes.''

It was far less absolute than his insistence earlier in the day at a stop in Colorado that: "I want to look you in the eye: I will not raise your taxes nor support a tax increase.''

At the fund-raiser, Mr. McCain said: "I am opposed to raising taxes -- I am opposed to raising taxes. Senator Obama wants to raise your taxes. He wants to raise your taxes. And in any negotiation that I might have, when I go in my position will be that I am opposed to raising taxes. But we have to work together to save Social Security. This young man standing right in front of me -- Social Security benefits won't be there for him when he retires. Is this right for us to lay on to the next generation of Americans the burden that we've imposed on them? No.''

Posted In
Economy, Social Security
Network/Outlet
The New York Times
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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