Nikki Haley's Social Security Plan and the 82% Reduction Allegation

Nikki Haley’s Social Security Plan and the 82% Reduction Allegation

In the complex landscape of political campaigns, misinformation often takes center stage. A recent Facebook ad, purportedly from former President Donald Trump’s campaign, targeted Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, claiming that her proposed plan would cut Social Security benefits for a staggering 82% of Americans.

This fact-check endeavors to untangle the misleading narrative and provide a thorough analysis grounded in reliable sources.

Haley’s plan, as alleged in the campaign ad, supposedly puts the retirement security of a significant majority of Americans at risk.

However, upon closer inspection of Haley’s statements during an interview with Bloomberg Television on August 24, 2023, and subsequent clarification from her spokesperson AnnMarie Graham-Barnes, it becomes evident that the ad employs selective omission and misinterpretation of Haley’s proposals.

The ad strategically omits crucial segments of Haley’s interview where she explicitly emphasizes raising the retirement age only for younger generations entering the workforce. Her objective is to address the impending insolvency of Social Security and Medicare without adversely affecting those already in or nearing retirement. The campaign ad conveniently disregards this critical context.

The alleged 82% figure, cited from “CNN 3/12/23,” serves as the linchpin for the claim. However, a meticulous examination of two CNN articles from that date, both reporting on Haley’s proposal, reveals no mention of the 82% figure.

Nikki Haley's Social Security Plan and the 82% Reduction Allegation

This raises questions about the credibility of the source and the accuracy of the information presented in the ad. Garrett Watson, a senior policy analyst at the Tax Foundation, speculates that the 82% figure may refer to the total number of Americans eligible for Social Security at present or in the future. Nevertheless, no concrete evidence or reputable analysis supports this specific percentage.

Multiple fact-checking entities, including PolitiFact and USA Today, have debunked the 82% reduction claim. AnnMarie Graham-Barnes dismisses the allegation as false, reiterating that Haley’s plan does not impact those nearing retirement or already in retirement.

PolitiFact, utilizing U.S. Census data, suggests that if individuals aged 25 or older are excluded from the retirement age increase, the impact on future beneficiaries would likely be around 26%.

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Haley’s comprehensive plan involves not only raising the retirement age for younger generations but also indexing benefits to life expectancy. Additionally, the plan aims to limit the growth of benefits for higher-income beneficiaries, expand Medicare Advantage Plans, and adjust Social Security cost-of-living increases using the chained Consumer Price Index.

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