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"We are not going to mess with Social Security," Reid told reporters as he left a post-election news conference that he used to call for cooperation between the two parties in dealing with U.S. fiscal woes.
So said Harry Reid. As we get into the deep weeds of the negotiations, Democrats need to secure a public commitment from that White House that keeps Social Security out these negotiations.
We all know Social Security is not contributing to the deficit. Even President Obama himself has said so.
I think the first step of any plan to pressure the White House has to begin by getting Social Security out the target range. Probably not possible with Medicare or Medicaid, considering House Democrats ran hard on the Medicare message and still lost. Social Security, however, has been avoided by Paul Ryan and the President. Nobody ran on any changes whatsoever to Social Security. The mandate there is clear: status quo. Therefore there is no need for it to be part of the discussions now.
The logic here is simple. When these guys begin looking at the numbers to make their deficits trend downward, they are going to look at the pot of gold that is Social Security in order to fix deficits in other parts of the budget. That's terrible. Let them cut something else or find revenue somewhere else. Worse, so long as Social Security is on the table, its surpluses can be used to reduce the demand for revenues in the form of taxation.
First things first: take Social Security off the table.