Social Security and the Presidential Race: A Troubling Silence?

In 2013, Social Security kept over 22 million Americans of all ages out of poverty, says AARP, the nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that advocates for those 50 or over on social and economic issues.

AARP has been running ads of its own on the importance of addressing Social Security during this presidential campaign season, which has not produced much debate, so far, on the future of a program on which so many Americans depend.
The organization has launched Take a Stand, a nonpartisan national campaign pressing every presidential candidate to “lay out his or her plan to make Social Security financially sound so future generations receive adequate benefits.” On its webpage, AARP “will post any plans put forth by candidates.”
AARP says: “While the current (Social Security) program has been a great success, it needs to be updated to address demographic and economic changes over the last 80 years and respond to the needs of future beneficiaries and their families.”
The organization adds that voters deserve to know how candidates plan to keep Social Security strong.
“Yet only some of the presidential candidates have laid out their plans for Social Security,” AARP says. “Others speak in vague generalities or avoid the subject altogether. As a result, we the voters know very little about how or even if a presidential candidate would update Social Security if elected.”
Here is a sampler of what AARP has on its Take a Stand page so far from five candidates: John Kasich, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio. Links are provided for further details on their positions.
“I will defend Social Security against the Republican schemes to privatize it and turn the trust fund over to Wall Street, the worst idea ever.”
“As we do our job, what’s expected of us to try and get things back in order again…saving Social Security.”
“We have a real plan to save Social Security.”
“You know what; nobody can get by on $11,000, $12,000 a year Social Security.”
“We will take care of Social Security, we are going to cut – not cut what you’re getting – we’re going to cut all of the waste, fraud and abuse, and we are going to save your Social Security without cuts.”

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