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Social Security has a new champion, sort of. The self-identified Koch-created Senate candidate Joni Ernst is probably trying to wash some of that Koch stink away, since she was caught on tape telling them that she wouldn't exist politically except for them. She's got an op-ed in the Des Moines Register about how much she's opposed to raising the retirement age for Social Security. Because her opponent, moderate Democrat Bruce Braley said one time it was something to consider, probably thinking he was sounding very Third Way and smart. That's what Democrats get for thinking the Third Way is the smart way.
Anyway, here's Ernst trying to attack Braley from the left, of all things.
The undeniable fact is that if we do nothing, Social Security and Medicare will be insolvent before even Americans my age retire. […]
In terms of solutions, I believe almost everything should be on the table. Almost. One thing I would not, and will never, consider is raising the retirement age for seniors. It is not fair and not necessary.
So what is on the table for her? Why of course, it's privatization, straight out of the Koch playbook. Not just for Social Security, but for Medicare, too. In fact, she's expressed support for the Ryan budget, which doesn't just privatize Medicare, it raises the retirement age for it. So raising the age is okay for Medicare, but not Social Security? That's not particularly consistent, or coherent.
But she's consistent when it comes to privatization and reiterated that option on Wednesday at an appearance at a retirement community.
Bob Meddaugh, a 67-year-old retiree sitting in the front row, asked Ernst why she thinks allowing younger workers to invest their own Social Security taxes might be a good option.
"What about the problems we've had when we’ve seen the stock market problems and people losing their 401Ks?" Meddaugh asked.
Ernst responded: "Yes, I have talked about privatizing Social Security as an option. Again, that is one solution, so what I recommend is we look at a number of solutions because we really don’t know which was is the best way to go yet."
So she's open to every option for "saving" Social Security—including destroying it through privatization—except the one that her opponent once said was maybe something to think about. (Note to Braley and all other Democrats: stop that.) Somehow Ernst failed to receive that memo about how you don't talk about privatization on the campaign trail. That must not have been included in the big Koch get-together she attended.
Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 11:19 AM PDT.