What would certainly stop the process cold is if Republicans reprise the Bush-era fantasy of Social Security privatization. And yet that is exactly what many Republicans, including some running in Massachusetts, are proposing.
But Democrats are, if anything, in even greater denial. In their zeal to make a wedge issue out of Social Security, they are committing themselves to an unrealistic hard line on the issue, virtually ensuring that anything coming from Obama's deficit commission will be dead on arrival.
This is a national strategy of House Democrats. Huffington Post's Ryan Grim reported last week that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has maneuvered to be able to procedurally block the commission's proposal if it includes any cuts to Social Security or Medicare.
That is irresponsible and outright dangerous to the country's economic health.
Here in Massachusetts, Barney Frank and Niki Tsongas have criticized their Republican opponents, Sean Bielat and Jon Golnik, for proposing means-testing and raising the retirement age. Tenth District candidate Bill Keating is hammering Jeff Perry for favoring a higher retirement age — after previously attacking his Democratic primary opponent for the same position.
That may win votes; there's good reason they call Social Security the third rail of politics. But at least Bielat, Golnik, and Perry are putting something on the table. That's more than Frank, Tsongas, and Keating have done.
: The Editorial Page
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