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Seniors Urge Politicians: Take Stand on Social Security

New AARP Colorado State Director Bob Murphy is leading a campaign to compel politicians to make Social Security a priority. (AARP Colorado)
New AARP Colorado State Director Bob Murphy is leading a campaign to compel politicians to make Social Security a priority. (AARP Colorado)
July 1, 2016

DENVER – Entitlement reform is a hotly-debated issue, especially during presidential elections. But once in office, officials rarely want to touch what some call the "third rail" of U.S. politics.

The last time Social Security was adjusted to ensure long-term solvency was during the Reagan administration.

In response, AARP has launched a national campaign, Take A Stand.

Bob Murphy, state director for AARP Colorado, says it's time to get politicians to commit to making Social Security a priority and put concrete proposals on the table to safeguard the program.

"We want to try to achieve a solution for Social Security solvency, sooner rather than later," Murphy insists. "It's not going to get any easier, it's not going to get any less expensive, if we continue to kick this can down the road."

Murphy explains the goal is to get all candidates seeking national office to lay out at least one plan that would make Social Security financially sound, so future generations get adequate benefits.

He stresses that AARP isn't advocating for any particular plan or candidate, but says now is the time to move the program into the 21st century.

Murphy notes keeping Social Security strong also makes good business sense. The program contributes $20 billion annually in Colorado, according to AARP's most recent research.

He adds if public officials don't take action, future retirees could lose up to $10,000 a year. He says those cuts would be devastating for the vast majority of the state's recipients, who get by on an average of $1,200 a month.

"Social Security is a program that works," he says. "Americans pay into it, and they certainly are expecting to rely on Social Security for some – or, in some cases, all – of their retirement living."

Murphy predicts that, since Colorado is set to be a battleground state again in November, the campaign is in a good position to press candidates at every level to commit to a serious conversation about how to keep Social Security strong, now and for future generations.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO