Why Are Democrats Losing the Social Security Issue?

Richard Eskow

The Republican Party’s attempt to privatize Social Security under George W. Bush was wildly unpopular. At least one Republican Congressional candidate is openly calling for Social Security cuts, and Rep. Paul Ryan’s widely-publicized “Roadmap for the Future” includes both privatization and benefit cuts. With all these GOP threats to a popular program, why do polls show that the Democratic Party’s advantage on this issue has collapsed?

Here’s one reason: Voters want to know that their leaders won’t cut Social Security benefits, and not enough Democrats have promised they won’t. Some, including the President, are avoiding the issue or changing the subject. Democrats clearly think that Social Security is a winning issue for them, but polls suggest that voters aren’t likely to be swayed by declarations that oppose privatization but are vague on benefits.

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