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National Journal: Social Security Cliff Could Be Key 2016 GOP Issue

By    |   Thursday, 09 April 2015 11:11 PM EDT

A looming Social Security cliff could play a role in the Republican primaries for the 2016 presidential election, according to a new report.

National Journal details the issue, which involves Social Security's disability fund. That program will start running out of money in late 2016, and a 20 percent cut in benefits would provide the fix.

The sensitive nature of how to repair the Social Security system, however, is not an easy answer. Republican candidates in the presidential race might have no choice than to tackle the issue head on and propose solutions.

According to National Journal, the House passed a measure in January that would prevent the government from moving money from Social Security's retirement fund to its disability fund in lieu of making cuts. This practice has been done in the past and it's something Democrats have called for, but members of the GOP have pushed back and would like to see a revamping of the entire Social Security system.

Whether Social Security becomes one of the focal points of the 2016 campaign has yet to be determined, but the Senate could be asked to vote on the issue in the coming weeks or months.

A vote in the Senate would certainly draw out Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas, Republicans who are already in the presidential race, along with potential GOP candidates Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida. A vote itself could begin the debate on what to do with the aging Social Security system.

As it stands, it appears Social Security will not be able to pay full benefits to recipients starting in 2033 — less than 10 years after the next president might leave office, as National Journal points out.

Former President George W. Bush attempted to fix the system by proposing Americans' use of private accounts. But the proposal never got off the ground.

"Now, I also think you've got to give George W. Bush some real credit — he showed remarkable courage in the beginning of the second term taking on Social Security reform and personal accounts," Sen. Ted Cruz told CNBC Thursday. "It was the right thing to do. Sadly, congressional Republicans ran to the hills and abandoned him."

Dan Weber, the founder of the Association of Mature American Citizens, recently said on Newsmax TV's "America's Forum" that the Social Security system is in "great trouble."

"Social Security is in great trouble," Weber said. "Unless something is done this year, people receiving disability will get a 20 percent cut. In 13-18 years, everyone on Social Security will have their benefits cut 23 percent."

Weber said his organization proposed a solution, however.

"We set the age back from age 62 to 64, we phase it in over 12 years and we also adjust the benefits," he said. "The real problem with Social Security is people don't have enough money. We guarantee poor people, low income people get a 3 percent increase in cola (cost-of-living-increase) every year, but we cap the higher income people at a 2 percent max."

In another interview with Newsmax, Weber compared a proposal by House Democrats — which would raise taxes on working Americans and seniors — to the Affordable Care Act.

"This reminds me of Obamacare," Weber said. "They go out and put in a bill, and they haven't thought through the consequences of what they're doing."

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A looming Social Security cliff could play a role in the Republican primaries for the 2016 presidential election, according to a new report.
social, security, cliff, key, issue, 2016, president, election
Thursday, 09 April 2015 11:11 PM
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