Renewing Our Determination to Update Social Security

People in Washington may hem and haw about Social Security being the third rail of politics. But people outside of Washington want to get something done.

That’s why we traveled to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where we had many conversations about Social Security with delegates, elected officials and political operatives over the last few days.

And AARP’s Take a Stand campaign left Cleveland with renewed determination to make updating Social Security a bigger part of the presidential debate.

Now, if you watched the convention on television, you know that the political spotlight was not on Social Security — and that’s putting it mildly.

But even as the media focused on other issues, many people I spoke with in and around the Cleveland Convention Center agreed on the need to deal with Social Security. Rank-and-file politicians and staffers understand the program’s importance, and they want to make sure it sticks around for future generations.

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A delegate from Iowa told me how critical it is for AARP to stay focused on Social Security and to continue to show leadership. We made plans to talk again about Social Security in the near future.

And that was just one conversation out of many.

Do I wish Social Security were getting more attention in the 2016 presidential campaign? Of course. In this political season, championing the cause of updating Social Security is not for the faint of heart.

But AARP’s Take a Stand campaign is committed.

In Cleveland, we made a concerted effort to remind folks that it is essential for the next president to deal with Social Security, and that AARP views this as a test of presidential leadership.

And our efforts will continue at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and for the rest of the 2016 campaign.

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If political leaders fail to act, future retirees could lose up to $10,000 a year. All beneficiaries could face a nearly 25 percent cut in their benefits.

AARP’s message is simple: Social Security must be dealt with for the benefit of future generations. The time has come for our nation to take on the challenge. Voters deserve real answers from the presidential candidates.

But I want to be candid: Our success in elevating this issue will depend in large part on getting voters engaged — voters like you.

If you would like to join the effort to update Social Security, please click on

Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

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