- When the baby boomers retire, there'll be 80 million. Roosevelt said eligibility 65, which was genius, because if you made it to 65, you were on Social Security for a month or two and that was it. Life expectancy's now 78, 79, 80 years old, so you have twice as many people on the program for 15 years.
While increasing life expectancies obviously have had some impact on total social security payouts, a big chunk of the increase in life expectancy overall has been due to reductions in the mortality of children, who never pay a cent into social security anyway.
...just to add, I know people make mistakes on live (or live to tape) TV/radio - especially if the conversation veers away from what you thought you'd be talking about. But Russert is the host. His job is to put together an entire hour of television (plus hour CNBC interview show) once per week. It's the flagship weekly political talk show, and he gets things like this wrong?