The latest massive Pew poll on American politics is out, and is creating big buzz with its conclusion that "partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive than at any point in the last two decades." Mathhew Yglesias, however, notices a profound exception to those findings: everybody loves Social Security.
Among the most highly ideological, most consistent conservative voters in the country most people don't want to see cuts. Moderates don't want cuts. Liberals don't want cuts. Nobody wants cuts. The big gap is that there's a substantial bloc of liberal support for increasing benefits, while conservatives like the status quo better.
Nobody wants cuts. There's a reason Social Security is the most effective and most popular governmental program the U.S. has ever seen. It saves old people from poverty. It works simply and elegantly, with everyone paying in and feeling a shared commitment. Americans from the entire political spectrum agree on pretty much nothing else, but this program? This, they cherish.
So it sure wouldn't take much to rally the public behind the idea of expanding Social Security. Even conservatives could probably be nudged a few points in that direction. It's just a matter of convincing the political elite—which has had way too much exposure to the efforts of Pete Peterson and his ilk—that they've got everything to win by embracing Social Security expansion.