Election 2014  
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Why Big Bucks Donors Don't Want President Obama to Champion Social Security

After stock market shocks and the housing bubble, social security more vital than ever before. But the money men hate it.

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There is also the flip side to this story. Politicians, especially Democrats, who speak up for cuts to social security can count on lavish praise from the media. Political figures of no obvious stature, like former Louisiana Senator John Breaux or former Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, were lionized in the media for their willingness to cut social security benefits. After leaving the Senate, both took lobbying positions where they were almost certainly earning well over $1m a year.

This is the fundamental economics of social security that explains why it has not figured more prominently in the presidential race. If President Obama were to rise in defense of the program, he could count on losing the financial backing of many supporters. He would also get beaten up by the Washington Post and other major news outlets for challenging their agenda.

Such are the hard economic facts with which President Obama and other politicians must contend.

 

Dean Baker is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). He is the author of "The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer" and the more recently published "Plunder and Blunder: The Rise and Fall of The Bubble Economy." He also has a blog, Beat the Press, where he discusses the media's coverage of economic issues.