The Battle Over Social Security in FL-08

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Cross-posted to Florida Progressive Coalition.

There are few races in the country where there is a bigger contrast between the Democratic and Republican candidates on Social Security than in Florida’s eighth district, where incumbent Alan Grayson is facing right-winger Daniel Webster.

Grayson has launched a website and a television ad going after Webster for his position on Social Security.

At issue are Webster’s comments at a Tea Party political forum:

At the forum, Webster he wanted to roll back cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for federal entitlement programs to 2007 levels. The biggest entitlement program, of course, is Social Security. In January of 2008, the average retired worker on Social Security received $1,055 a month. In 2010, COLAs had brought that up to $1,153 per month. The monthly difference is $98, which over the course of the year equals $1,176 total. If Webster stands by his statement, that’s the amount of Social Security benefits he would cut per recipient. This position is consistent with an earlier vote by Webster as a state legislator to cut benefits for eyeglasses, hearing aids and prescription drugs.

Webster tried to change his story once he was called on the issue by saying that when he said “cost-of-living adjustments” he was referring solely to government employee salaries. If that is his true position, it is a far cry from what he actually said, where he explicitly said “entitlement programs.”

Grayson, on the other hand, has been a staunch defender of Social Security since he has been in office, launching a petition, signed by more than 27 thousand Americans, that opposes all benefit cuts, COLA cuts, increases in the retirement age and privatization. He also signed on to the letter vowing to protect Social Security launched by Jack Conway and Progressive Change Campagn Committee.

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