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Fri, Jan. 17

Editorial: Help keep Social Security solvent

Only one Republican presidential candidate made a coherent comment about Social Security during the sixth Republican debate on Jan. 14. Saving Social Security is not getting the attention it needs, and that is troubling.Let's give credit to Maria Bartiromo, one of the media people asking the questions. In the second half of the debate, Bartiromo asked: "One of the biggest fiscal challenges is our entitlement programs, particularly Social Security and Medicare. What policies will you put forward to make sure these programs are more financially secure?"After a lengthy debate between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz about value added taxes and flat taxes, Chris Christie interjected: "Maria, I'd like to interrupt this debate ... to actually answer the question you asked, which was on entitlements. Do you remember that, everybody? This was a question on entitlements."After some verbal jockeying among candidates, Christie was able to continue:"The fact is the reason why that no one wants to answer entitlements up here is because it's hard. It's a hard problem. And I'm the only one up on this stage who back in April put forward a detailed entitlement reform plan that will save over $1 trillion, save Social Security, save Medicare. ..."Christie launched attacks against Democrat candidates, and then continued: "We have seniors out there who are scared to death because this Congress - this one that we have right now, just stole $150 billion from the Social Security retirement fund to give it to the Social Security disability fund. A Republican Congress did that."And the fact is it was wrong. And they consorted with Barack Obama to steal from Social Security. We need to reform Social Security. Mine is the only plan that saves over $1 trillion and that's why I'm answering your question."Apparently, Christie was the only candidate out of seven who came prepared to succinctly comment on keeping Social Security solvent. The numerous fact checkers who watched the debate did not find fault with Christie's statements about Social Security.The purpose of this editorial is not to suggest Chris Christie is the best candidate. Or that his plan is desirable. Christie's plan has plenty of critics. The purpose is to point out that we, the voters, have a lot more work to do before all the candidates will understand that the voters care about a solvent Social Security. Consider this: Not a single commentator on television or on the Internet (that I could find) commented on the Social Security issue as discussed in the sixth debate. Some television shows re-played Christie being rude to Rubio: "No, you already had your chance, Marco, and you blew it." But they cut the clip short before getting into the substance of Christie's answer. Style seems to matter over substance.As mentioned in the Dec. 21 editorial, politicians will pay attention only to an issue if they believe their election or re-election is dependent upon it. Writing and emailing elected officials is a good start, but more is needed. An Internet search for additional steps led me to the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, www.ncpssm.org. They claim to be independent. On their website, under "Act Now," they offer an electronic petition to the 114th Congress. Take a look at it. If the petition reflects your views, consider signing the petition and/or getting involved in a way that appeals to you. - Jim Painter, news editorFollow Jim Painter on Facebook at FB.me/jimpainterprescott. Reach him at 928-445-3333, Ext. 2035, 928-642-0560 or jpainter@prescottaz.com.
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