Meet the Press David Gregory brings up Social Security in relation to federal debt (this is the push), but Senator Reid responds at least forthrightly. This is noteworthy given the apparent acceptance by politicos that Social Security needs fixing at all. Here is part of the transcript:
MR. GREGORY: Social Security, how does it have to change? What they put on the agenda is raising the retirement age, maybe means testing benefits. Is it time for Social Security to fundamentally change if you’re going to deal with the debt problem?
SEN. REID: One of the things that always troubles me is, when we start talking about the debt, the first thing people do is run to Social Security. Social Security is a program that works, and it’s going to be–it’s fully funded for the next 40 years. Stop picking on Social Security. There are a lot places we can go to…
MR. GREGORY: Senator, you’re really saying the arithmetic on Social Security works?
SEN. REID: I’m saying the arithmetic on Social Security works. I have no doubt it does. For the next…
MR. GREGORY: It’s not in crisis?
SEN. REID: No, it’s not in crisis. This is, this is, this is something that’s perpetuated by people who don’t like government. Social Security is fine. Are there things we can do to improve Social Security? Of course. But don’t, don’t…
MR. GREGORY: Means testing? Raising the retirement age?
SEN. REID: …don’t–I’m…
MR. GREGORY: Do you agree with either of those?
SEN. REID: I’m not going to go to any of those back-door methods to whack Social Security recipients. I’m not going to do that. We have a lot of things we can do with this debt that’s a problem. But one of the places where I’m not going to be part of picking on is Social Security.
Other examples include CBS News reporting slogans on the issue.
This Brookings series is worth a read.