Sunday, October 10, 2010

On the Issues: Social Security

One very interesting aspect of this election cycle is the willingness of a number of Republican candidates to openly call for changes or even privatization of the Social Security system.

The most outspoken critic of Social Security has been Alaska's Republican Senate nominee Joe Miller who has defended a privatized system and has even said that he would even federal Social Security for newly-born Americans.

Nevada GOP Senate nominee Sharron Angle has also made statements indicating she would support privatization of Social Security, but lately has been backing off this stance.  Others who appear to have supported cutting benefits but now deny such a position are the Republican Senate candidates from Kentucky Colorado, Pennsylvania and Florida:  Rand Paul, Ken Buck, Pat Toomey and Marco Rubio respectively. Some of these candidates also have made statements that appear to support privatization.

In Florida, Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican who is running as an independent against Rubio, said that the latter was trying to ""balance the budget on the backs of seniors" by changing Social Security benefits and eligibility age.

The Democrats are definitely against privatization, but some have supported reform.  The administration will not adjust benefits for cost of living (COLA) for the second straight year due to deficit concerns. 

Of course, some reform is needed as the system is headed for trouble, but many Democrats are against reducing benefits or raising the retirement age.   Currently Social Security can continue as is giving full benefits up to the year 2039.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is leading the fight to preserve benefits as they stand and he has eleven co-sponsors -- all Democrat -- for his resolution. 

Sanders co-sponsors are:  

Sens. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii),
Barbara Boxer (D-Calif),
Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio),
Russ Feingold (D-Wis.),
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y), 
Tom Harkin (D-Iowa),
Dan Inouye (D-Hawaii),
Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.),
Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)
Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.),
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

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