Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sanders forces Clinton to change position on Social Security

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has been campaigning for president on a platform of expanding social security: no benefit cuts for anyone, and everyone receives benefit increases. The progressive base of the Democratic Party agrees.

Until now, Hillary Clinton has been more cagey: she’s rejected certain benefit cuts, like cutting COLAs or raising the retirement age, and has proposed targeted benefit increases, such as for widows and caregivers.

But if you read Clinton’s policy paper on Social Security, it clearly does not rule out all benefit cuts. And wisely so: as President, Clinton would need to negotiate a deal with Republicans and an all-tax-increase platform doesn’t leave her with much to negotiate. Based on the Clinton campaign’s statements, benefit cuts for higher-earners aren’t off the table.

Nevertheless, Clinton still needs to get through a Democratic primary where Sanders has proved a stronger opponent than many initially suspected. That explains Clinton’s recent Tweet:


As I noted above, that’s NOT what her policy paper – linked to in the Tweet itself – actually says. But to survive in a Democratic primary, that may be where a candidate needs to be.


JoeTheEconomist said...

Andrew, That page tells you nothing. It deals with what she will not do, rough problems with the program, and a loose promise to ask high-wage Americans to contribute more. What is missing is what she thinks is unfair about the system, and the changes that she is proposing. She doesn't tell you what she is planning to ask of higher-income Americans.

Andrew G. Biggs said...

Caregiver credit:

The widow benefit enhancement is almost certainly close to this: