Republicans sound alarm on Social Security insolvency: Taxpayers 'clearly have to worry about' retirement

MSNBC’s Joy Reid tells Rep. Byron Donalds ‘it’s actually not true’ that Social Security will be insolvent by 2035

After a heated exchange between MSNBC host Joy Reid and Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., over Social Security insolvency, Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., ripped Reid’s commentary and echoed his colleague’s concerns Wednesday on "The Evening Edit."

"Just because someone says it's not true doesn't mean it's not true," Smith told host Liz MacDonald. "We clearly have to worry about Social Security and Medicare. Without a doubt, even the Congressional Budget Office will say that these are programs that will become insolvent if we're not careful."

On "The Reidout" on Tuesday, Donalds asked Reid if she knew about predictions from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Congressional Research Service that Social Security "is going to be insolvent in 2035."

"That is not true. That is actually not true," Reid said and repeated nearly 10 times, talking over Donalds.


The SSA recently confirmed congressional predictions that funds are expected to deplete by 2035, with just enough tax money to pay 75% of scheduled benefits. Insolvency means our taxes will go up, paying to restore solvency.

Social Security funds photo illustration

Republicans "clearly have to worry about" protecting Social Security and Medicare funds as congressional research indicates that trusts could become insolvent by 2035. (iStock)

"Currently, the Social Security Board of Trustees projects program cost to rise by 2035 so that taxes will be enough to pay for only 75% of scheduled benefits," the Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration wrote on its website.

In September, the Congressional Research Service found that Social Security trusts could be depleted as early as 2034 "because incoming tax revenue would be sufficient to pay only about 80% of scheduled benefits."

Last month, the Congressional Budget Office warned that funds will decline to zero in 2033 "and the Social Security Administration will no longer be able to pay full benefits when they are due."

"The Republican Party is the party of the working class. We're going to do everything we can to protect and preserve Social Security and Medicare," Smith said Wednesday. "We just hope the Democrats will join with us in making sure we're protecting these programs."

Social security card

A recent AARP survey found the vast majority (90%) of respondents who are already drawing Social Security benefits, or will soon receive them, said they are concerned that their benefits may not keep up with rising costs. (AP Newsroom)

Smith also shut down accusations by Democrats that the GOP wants to enact budget cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

"They love to say that Republicans want to throw granny off the cliff. They've been doing that for decades. It is all lies," Smith said. "Republicans want to protect Social Security and Medicare. ... The only way that we're going to be able to fix these problems is if they come in a bipartisan manner, and we fix it, and we're going to have to do it. But spend, spend, spend is only making these programs even worse."

Many Americans indeed are worried that their retirement savings won't keep up with everyday rising costs. According to a recent AARP survey, the vast majority (90%) of respondents who are already drawing Social Security retirement benefits, or will soon receive them, said they are concerned that their benefits may not keep up with inflation.


Smith argued the reason Republicans took House control is because Americans "want the fiscal house to be in order."

"We had a hearing where the Democrats tried to eliminate the debt limit because they're like, 'We don't need a debt limit.' And in that hearing, we had leaders of the Democrat Party say, 'What? We can just print more money. We don't ever have to pay anything back. We'll never pay anything back.' That's crazy," Smith said. "It's ludicrous. It's unacceptable. That's why the American people decided to kick the Democrats out of the House of Representatives."


FOX Business’ Nora Colomer contributed to this report.