We say watch Al Franken, not because he's a former comedian turned Senator (and Washington loves ‘celebrities') or because his election fight seemed never-ending or even because he'll play the critical role as the 60th Democrat  in the Senate.  American seniors should keep their eyes on Al Franken because he "gets it".  He understands the importance of Social Security uniquely and personally.  You see...his wife, Franni, lost her father when she was just a toddler.  Her mother and her four siblings survived on Social Security survivor benefits.  Franken tells her story in his book, The Truth (With Jokes)
"Franni takes the same attitude toward Social Security that she took to our kids when they were toddlers.  Don't touch.  If you touch them, I will destroy you. See, when Franni Bryson was seventeen months old, her father, Donald, a World War II vet, died in a car accident on his way home from his job at the paper mill.  That left her twenty-nine-year-old mother to take care of Franni and her four siblings-Kathy, seven; Carla, five; Neil, three; and Bootsie, threemonths old.  Franni's mom has a high school education and, as soon as Bootsie started school, got a job working odd hours in the produce department at a nearby supermarket.  Her paycheck, a very small veterans' widows' benefit, and the survivor benefits from Social Security weren't always enough to keep the heat on during the Maine winters, or the telephone or the lights for that matter, but they did put food on the table.  (Though a terrific cook, my mother-in-law sometimes had to serve fried dough to feed her family).
Today, Social Security survivor benefits are giving financial protection to 2 million children who've lost a working parent.  Benefits for an average wage earner who dies and leaves a spouse and two children is equivalent to a $433,000 life insurance policy. The average monthly payment for the same family is about $2,243 per month. As Franni Bryson's personal story illustrates, that monthly check can make a huge difference in maintaining the surviving family's quality of life. "Frannie vs. Bush" is the title of an entire chapter in Franken's book detailing President Bush's failed privatization campaign and the historical events leading up to his attack on Social Security.  As promised, it is the truth (with jokes).  We'll be watching and hoping for more of the same in the U.S. Senate.