Fox Business Host Falsely Claims Baby Boomers Will "Bankrupt" Social Security "In A Couple Of Months"


Fox Business host Andrew Napolitano falsely claimed that the retirement rate of baby boomers is "going to bankrupt the [Social Security] system in a couple of months." In fact, the level of Social Security revenues and benefits were specifically modified in 1983 to account for baby boomers' retirements, and the program is projected to remain completely solvent and pay full benefits until 2037.

Napolitano: Boomer Retirements Will "Bankrupt" Social Security

REP. JEFF FLAKE (R-AZ): I think people understand that, you know, in 1950, there were about 16.5 workers for every retiree. Now there are just less than three. And you can't continue to provide entitlement programs like that.

NAPOLITANO: And 10,000 baby boomers retire and join Social Security every day of the week. I mean, that's going to bankrupt the system in a couple of months at that rate.

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R-UT): Well, we need to live up to the obligations for older Americans. But for younger generations, we need to change the equation based on a longevity index and those types of things. You can do that. [Fox Business, Freedom Watch, 5/10/11]

Social Security Is Projected To Be Fully Funded Until 2037

Strengthen Social Security: "Social Security Can Pay 100% Of Promised Benefits For The Next 25 Years." From "Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security," by Strengthen Social Security:

Is Social Security going bankrupt?

Social Security will never go bankrupt. Its major source of income comes from the contributions of workers and employers; as long as there are workers, Social Security will have income. Even if Congress took no action, Social Security can pay 100% of promised benefits for the next 25 years and more than three-quarters of benefits after that. Around 2037 there is a modest funding gap requiring modest increases in revenues to guarantee everyone 100% of promised benefits. Social Security has faced far worse financial problems in the past, but Congress has never failed to act to ensure full funding of benefits. [Strengthen Social Security, accessed 5/11/11]

CBPP: 1983 Reforms Designed "To Help Pre-Fund Some Of The Costs Of The Baby Boomers' Retirement." Paul Van de Water of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities wrote:

Social Security has run a surplus in every year since 1984, as was anticipated when Congress enacted and President Reagan signed the legislation based on the recommendations of the Greenspan Commission in 1983. The authors of the 1983 legislation purposely designed program financing in this manner to help pre-fund some of the costs of the baby boomers' retirement. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 10/5/10]

Posted In
Economy, Social Security
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