Republicans must deal with Social Security

Nov. 12, 2010 at 5:23 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Democratic strategists hope Republicans who campaigned on fiscal responsibility will trip over the third rail of U.S. politics, the Social Security program.

The future House speaker, Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, has supported changes like raising the age to collect a full Social Security pension, shaving payments and increasing the income subject to Social Security taxes. Now, he has to decide whether to back a plan by one of the leaders of President Obama's fiscal commission that would do all those things.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., expected to be the next chairman of the House Budget Committee, has already introduced the Roadmap for America's Future Act, which would cut spending on both Social Security and Medicare.

Mike Lux, a liberal strategist, said Republicans are in "a tough position."

"These kinds of proposals, raising the retirement age and cutting benefits, are overwhelmingly unpopular with the American people," he said.

Republicans campaigned on promises to cut government spending, reduce the federal deficit and extend all the Bush tax cuts, without cutting defense spending or popular programs and benefits.

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