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Social Security receives little attention in Presidential Campaigns; AARP wants seniors to act

67% of AARP Members Cite Social Security’s Future as Their #1 Concern in Survey; roundup of Social Security news below news story

Take a Stand for Social Security logoSep. 30, 2016 -AARP, a sponsor of the presidential debates, sent a letter to moderator Lester Holt before the first debate urging him to ask the candidates for their plans for maintaining the security of Social Security. He didn't and that highlights the unusual lack of interest in this critical government program. AARP now wants seniors to start using social media to get the attention of the political candidates focused on Social Security (See details in box).

Help Social Security Be Part of the Next Debate

Use social media like Twitter, Facebook and join our Thunderclap to get the topic trending, says AARP Senior Vice President, Campaigns, John Hishta

That’s why we’re launching a new tool to grab the moderators’ attention and urge them to press the candidates on Social Security. It’s called Thunderclap, and it enables thousands of people to send the same message at the same time.

Already more than 4,000 people have used it to urge the next moderators, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC’s Martha Raddatz, to ask the candidates a question about Social Security at the town hall.

Here's how you can join in:

First, click here to go to our Thunderclap page. Choose where you'd like to share our message to the debate moderators — Facebook or Twitter.

"The Social Security system faces a significant revenue shortfall that, while still a number of years away, would result in a nearly 25 percent, across-the-board benefits cut for all Social Security recipients, if left unaddressed" states AARP in a news release. "Despite the high stakes, the issue has been largely ignored in this election."

The letter to Holt, stated, “Social Security affects not just the 60 million people who rely on its benefits today, but also the 170 million people who pay into the program with each paycheck and are counting on it for tomorrow”, and goes on to lament the lack of clarity and specificity provided on the issue of Social Security, to date, by both candidates.

“Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have provided some information on how they would address Social Security’s challenges but critical facts are missing.  

“Secretary Clinton has spoken of expanding Social Security benefits for caregivers and widows and increasing taxes on high earners to pay for these changes, but she hasn’t laid out the details about how she would pay to expand the program that already faces a shortfall.

"Mr. Trump has said he would keep Social Security sound by targeting fraud and improving economic growth without cutting benefits. What kind of growth rate is he talking about, and is he considering other changes to the program?”

AARP pointed out that Social Security doesn’t receive the attention it deserves from candidates or media. But in a recent nationwide survey of more than 23,000 AARP members, all age 50 and over, 67 percent of poll respondents ranked the future of Social Security as their number-one concern, AARP said.

After the debate, AARP Senior Vice President, Campaigns, John Hishta said, "Americans who are working hard and paying into Social Security were the real losers at tonight’s debate.

“In this issueless campaign, the debate was the best chance for voters to get real answers on how the presidential candidates would keep Social Security strong for future generations.  If our leaders don’t commit to act, future retirees could lose up to $10,000 per year."

The letter to Holt was sent as part of Take A Stand – a national campaign to press the Presidential candidates to commit to taking real action to keep Social Security strong. 

AARP said it will send similar letters to all moderators of future Presidential debates, including Martha Raddatz of ABC News and Anderson Cooper of CNN, Elaine Quijano of CBS News, and Fox News's Chris Wallace.

>> AARP Guide to Politics


About AARP
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million that reports it helps people turn their goals and dreams into 'Real Possibilities' by changing the way America defines aging.  To learn more, visit or follow @aarp and our CEO @JoAnn_Jenkins on Twitter.


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