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US Presidential Elections: Social Security: The GOP vs. the American People

n case anyone had any doubts, the most recent Republican presidential debate made crystal clear how out of touch the Republican establishment is with the American people.

Social Security is extremely popular with the overwhelming majority of Americans - whatever their Party affiliation, age, race, ethnicity, gender, or economic status. Social Security represents the best of American values. It is responsibly funded, does not add a penny to the deficit, and only pays benefits if it has sufficient income to cover not only the cost of all benefits, but also the cost to administer those benefits.

The American people recognize that expanding Social Security is a solution to, among other challenges, a looming retirement crisis. Traditional pensions are disappearing, the 401(k) retirement savings experiment is a failure, and middle class wealth in the form of home equity vanished overnight in the Great Recession.

Social Security is the most efficient, universal, secure and fair source of retirement income. It provides basic economic security when wages are lost as the result of death, disability, or old age. Its one shortcoming is that its benefits are too low. That is why there is a growing movement to expand those benefits.

The Republican establishment will have no part of this profoundly wise policy. They want to cut benefits. The moderators at Thursday's debate elicited this response from three of the four candidates in questions premised on what a Washington Post Plum Line contributor afterward characterized as a Zombie lie - that Social Security is going to "run out of money." (Revealingly, as part of the same discussion on Social Security, one of the two moderators, Dana Bash, cited information she received from a Washington group backed by a billionaire, Peter G. Peterson, who has spent decades on a crusade to cut Social Security.)

Against wise policy and even smart politics, three of the four candidates -- Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Ted Cruz, and supposed-moderate, Governor John Kasich -- expressed their strong desire for huge Social Security benefit cuts.

US Presidential Elections: Social Security: The GOP vs. the American People

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