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AARP: Soundbites on Social Security Not Enough from Candidates

AARP Wisconsin is concerned that any cuts to Social Security benefits would have a negative impact on Wisconsinites. (Peterfactors/iStockphoto)
AARP Wisconsin is concerned that any cuts to Social Security benefits would have a negative impact on Wisconsinites. (Peterfactors/iStockphoto)
August 8, 2016

MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin is a battleground state in the presidential election, and House Speaker Paul Ryan faces a Republican challenger in Tuesday's Wisconsin primary.

AARP says the candidates aren't saying enough about what they'd do to ensure a secure future for Social Security.

About 97 percent of Wisconsinites 65 and older receive Social Security payments. And keeping the program viable is critical to the nation's future, says Lisa Lamkins, advocacy director for AARP Wisconsin.

She stresses it isn't enough for politicians to offer quick soundbites on this issue.

"The presidential candidates need to give us the details of their plans to keep Social Security strong,” she states. “How those plans are going to affect families, what it will cost, and how they're going to get it done. The candidates for Congress need to commit to taking some action."

Lamkins points out that 170 million Americans are working and paying into Social Security, but the program needs updates to keep it strong.

AARP stresses the next president faces tough decisions to make sure future generations get the money they've paid in.

In Wisconsin, 43 percent of the state's 65-plus population would be living below the federal poverty line without their monthly Social Security benefits.

And for 3 of 10 older Wisconsinites, Social Security is their only source of income.

Lamkins says action will be required of the next president and Congress.

"Doing nothing is not an option,” she states. “Every time the candidates dodge the questions or kick the can down the road, then our families pay the price.

“If we don't do something with Social Security soon, finding a solution grows more and more difficult, and that's really unacceptable."

AARP is compiling on the website whatever information the presidential candidates provide about their ideas for Social Security.

But Lamkins says the candidates need to be more specific about their plans, and what they'll do to get Congress to act.

"We can't afford to wait,” she says. “If our nation's leaders don't act, then future generations could lose up to $10,000 a year in Social Security benefits. And most of our families can't afford that."

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI