This is the time of year when many of us begin to dread the commercial breaks in our favorite TV shows. We know that we're going to hear tense, horror-movie soundtrack music. We'll see a grainy, unflattering black-and-white photo of some candidate. The photo will be emblazoned with headlines condemning the candidate's record of shameful failures or conscience-shocking offense. Sometimes the ad has been authorized by the candidate's opponent; often, though, it turns out to have been paid for by an organization you've never heard of.
Candidates up and down the ticket in both parties are putting a heavy focus on two programs important to people in or near retirement: Social Security and Medicare. But as often happens in campaigns, it's mostly in negatives and not so much in positives. And the negatives come, overwhelmingly, in the form of attack ads in the one-step-removed environment of the airwaves.
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