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Alaska's Senate Race May Hinge On Expanding Social Security

Alaskan Senator Mark Begich is going full bore on his support to expand Social Security benefits to the elderly instead of following the Beltway austerity crew.
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Senator Mark Begich is in a heated fight to keep his seat in the Senate and the balance of power in Congress could very depend on how that plays out, so he's really digging in on a plan that he's supported in the past, which is right for the country and right for the elderly.

Greg Sargent:

Democratic Senator Mark Begich of Alaska is embroiled in one of the toughest reelection campaigns in the country, and control of the Senate could be at stake.

So he’s going to ramp up his push for a proposal that is treated as marginal inside the Beltway, but could nonetheless prove to have appeal even in a deeply conservative state: The proposal to expand Social Security.

As the Alaska Senate race hits its final, frenzied stretch, the Begich campaign is set to roll out a new set of policy prescriptions that are focused on older voters — which you can read about right here. Central to this push is Begich’s proposal to shore up Social Security’s finances, but in a way that would permit an expansion of benefits to certain groups of seniors.

Begich is set to hold two town meetings with seniors today, at which he will push the proposal, and his campaign confirms that it will be a key component of his message in the final stretch of the race. Begich spokesman Max Croes emails:

“Begich firmly believes we need to expand Social Security benefits, not cut them, and he’s committed to sharing this view and standing up for Alaska seniors on the campaign trail, as he has in the Senate. In the coming weeks Begich will make the contrast with his opponent very clear. Begich’s opponent, Dan Sullivan, believes Alaska’s seniors should have to pass a test to receive the Social Security benefits they’ve spent their life contributing to and supports raising the retirement age.”

Begich’s proposal would lift the existing payroll tax cap so the program no longer exempts wages above $117,000, bringing more money into the program. As Dylan Matthews has explained, this would shore up the program’s finances over time, and it would also make it possible to increase benefits across the board. That alone would help lower income seniors. But the Begich proposal would also mean a larger increase in benefits for groups such as the spouses of deceased seniors — most commonly women — in keeping with changes in the economy that have made it harder to get by on one income. Disabled seniors would also get a larger rise in benefits, and more benefits would be available to the children of deceased and disabled seniors.


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As you can imagine, Begich's opponent is lost when it comes to taking care of Americans and instead of expanding Social security, wants to privatise it.

The Washington D.C. Club for Growth, a leading advocate of Social Security privatization, is investing heavily in Dan Sullivan’s Senate campaign. Sullivan has endorsed Social Security means testing, which the AARP already said would “destroy” Social Security and require senior citizens to pass a test to receive benefits that they already earned

This is a plan that should be added to the Democratic platform for every candidate to get behind.

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