Election Nears, Republicans Go Soft On Social Security

With the Senate potentially within the Republicans’ grasp, some GOP candidates are flip-flopping on how they view Social Security, the Washington Examiner reports.

The ads, run by Crossroads GPS, have appeared in North Carolina, Arkansas, and California, and show Republican candidates aggressively defending Social Security and attacking Democratic opposition.

Georgia is a prominent example, in which the National Republican Campaign Committee viscerally attacked Democratic Rep. John Barrow for “leaving Georgia seniors behind.” Republicans at this hour in the game are gunning for electoral support from the more senior demographic. Seniors reliably turn out at a higher rate to the polls in non-presidential elections than other groups.

According to the polls, both parties appear to support Social Security, but how the Republicans will manage entitlements in light of priorities of fiscal responsibility remains to be seen if they take a majority in one or both chambers. Allegations of hypocrisy have been flying since the incident in Georgia, as Democratic opposition to Social Security, according to Democrats, is part of the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson plan. In other words, Republicans are supposed to agree to raise taxes, and Democrats will in turn agree to reduce spending, to bring down the $17.9 trillion dollar national debt.

A former Republican senator from New Hampshire struck back against the few Republicans trying to trap opponents in an awkward position.

“It really is inappropriate for Republicans to attack people who stand up for entitlement reforms, especially hard reforms to Social Security and Medicare along the lines of what Simpson-Bowles proposes,” Judd Gregg told The Washington Post.

However, some Republicans point out that the whole issue is completely overblown in the first place—nothing more than an election ploy. The campaign against the Bowles-Simpson plan isn’t gaining any ground and is relegated to a few states, where Democrats, too, have broken the bargain. In Louisiana, Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu has criticized her opponent for wanting to raise the retirement age.

“Entitlement reform has always been the most difficult piece of the debt-reduction equation,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, noting how politically fraught and heated the issue is around election time.

This article was originally published on the Daily Caller News Foundation

Rand Paul Urges Poor Americans To Give Up On Dems

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a likely 2016 hopeful, is urging middle- and working-class voters to give Republicans a chance to guide the economy.

“The constituencies that voted for [President Obama] aren’t doing very well,” Sen. Paul said in an interview with St. Louis Public Radio. Income inequality is higher in states and cities with Democratic leadership, he explained, and “ridiculous” low interest rates held in place by the Federal Reserve in recent years have artificially boosted the stock market and hurt the ability of middle- and working-class Americans to save.

“If you are unemployed or underemployed, maybe you need to look to other people and new policies,” Sen. Paul said. “Maybe you people need to give Republicans another chance if you want to improve the lot of people who are suffering.”

The Federal Reserve is expected to increase rates sometime in the next year for the first time since 2006, but uncertainty about when and how much rates will rise has contributed to confusion and volatility in financial markets. The Dow Jones fell by 335 points Thursday — the worst single day drop of 2014.

Sen. Paul is a vocal critic of the Federal Reserve, and has pushed several times, so far unsuccessfully, to pass a bill in the Senate to audit the Fed. He pointed to the latest downturn as evidence a larger and longer “correction” to come that would be bad news for investors.

“The message really is that I’m concerned about every person who is either under employed or unemployed,” he added in the interview. “That the way we get them jobs is by enhancing capitalism. What does that mean? Smaller government and bigger market place. Lower taxes and less regulation, more trade.”

This piece originally appeared on the Daily Caller News Foundation.