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Harry Reid Finally Settles It: Social Security Is Off the Table

By       Message John Nichols     Permalink
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Cutting Social Security, especially using the privatization schemes outlined by House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan and other fiscal fools, would undermine the current recovery and threaten prospects for long-term economic stability.

The Social Security program is fiscally sound, efficiently run and it works. In the most recent year for which premise statistics are available, Social Security lifted 19,808,000 Americans out of poverty.

And Social Security is popular.

Extraordinarily popular. "When asked which was more important, 70 percent of respondents said that protecting education, Medicare and Social Security was more important than broad cuts to reduce the deficit," notes the AFL-CIO's analysis of a post-election poll conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research on behalf of Democracy Corps and Campaign for America's Future. "More than half -- 58 percent -- of the overall sample said that they felt strongly about opposing such cuts. Only 17 percent of the survey said they felt strongly that across-the-board cuts were important enough to cut the popular programs."

With numbers like that on his side, Harry Reid did not take a political risk Sunday night.

He simply did the right thing.

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That settled it for 2012.

But what of next year?

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which did so much to strengthen the backbones of Reid and other Democrats, responded in with the proper mix of celebration and resolve.

"Democrats stood firm -- and Harry Reid declared from the Senate floor that no deal would pass this year that touched Social Security," declared PCCC co-founders Stephanie Taylor and Adam Green in a message to the hundreds of thousands of PCCC members who contacted Congress with messages opposing any cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits. "Today's victory shows that activism works. In 2013, we'll keep fighting any proposed cuts to these benefits."

Social Security was worth fighting for in 2012.

And because activists prevailed -- with an assist from Harry Reid -- it will be worth fighting for in 2013.

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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