We're pleased to see that a majority of Americans understand that taxes need to be raised to keep Social Security healthy for future generations. According to an Associated Press/GfK poll, 53 percent of adults say they would rather raise taxes than cut benefits for future generations.
That message needs to be sent to our elected representatives in Congress, most of whom still see Social Security, and other entitlements such as Medicare, as political tools to be used to scare voters to their sides. Only the Democrats call for added taxes to fund Social Security, and those calls only extend to the rich, a demographic that cannot save Social Security on its own.
Republicans, on the other hand, exist in a fantasy world where additional taxes are somehow a detriment to maintaining Social Security funds.
The truth is everyone needs to pitch in and contribute more to help keep Social Security healthy. Social Security shouldn't become an "us versus them" issue.
We need to feel unified as we work to save it. Most of our pols are, unfortunately, cowards on this issue, preferring to use it as a wedge issue to divide voters along party and ideological lines.
The poll also shows that Americans are fairly evenly split on which presidential candidate to trust on handling Social Security. President Obama is favored by 47 percent, Mitt Romney by 44 percent.
Social Security will undoubtedly come up in the presidential debates this fall. We challenge President Obama and candidate Romney to reverse their past stands and stand strongly behind the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan. The task force, requested by Obama and Congress, was bipartisan. It suggested both tax increases and budget cuts as a way to both stem the deficit crisis and reform entitlement programs such as Social Security.
Because the commission recommended tough choices, naturally it was opposed by President Obama and other pols. Yet these problems with deficits and entitlements will not go away. The first presidential candidate who has the courage to look beyond his base and support tax increases to pay for these benefits will eventually score points for political maturity.