Alaska's Sen. Mark Begich Campaigning On Expanding Social Security

Alaska's Sen. Mark Begich Campaigning On Expanding Social Security

Well Look-it here. Another Democratic politician is stepping up and supporting the policy of expanding Social Security benefits. As we get closer to the midterms I'm hopeful that more Democrats will come around to this idea.

Greg Sargent:

Senator Mark Begich of Alaska is embroiled in one of the toughest reelection fights in the country. His solution, in part: To campaign on a proposal that’s far outside the mainstream of what appears to constitute respectable Beltway discourse on entitlements.

That would be the idea of expanding Social Security benefits, rather than cutting them. Senator Begich is one of a small but growing group of Democratic lawmakers who support the idea of lifting or changing the payroll tax cap, so higher earners pay more, while adopting a new measure for inflation that would increase benefits for all seniors. This is in contrast to the “Chained CPI” proposal that would use an index leading to a benefits cut, which Obama has championed. The idea behind expanding benefits is that large percentages of seniors’ income goes to costs that have risen faster than inflation, like medical care and housing.

Dems have been perhaps overly willing to get drawn on to GOP austerity turf by debating spending cuts. But Begich makes a startling suggestion: Talking about expanding Social Security benefits is good politics for Dems.

“When you tell seniors, `We want to make sure your dollars rise as your costs do,’ there is automatic excitement because they recognize we understand what they’re going through,” Begich told me today. ”Are we for or against helping seniors have a dignified life in their later years? I’m for that.”

Seniors are a major voting bloc so getting them on board to this idea is paramount because Republicans only want to cut benefits to our entitlements and this is a big loser for them. But it's not just a political calculation for votes. It's a great policy and the right thing to do, especially with income equality being at an all time worst for the working class.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.