Dear Ms. Burnett, Mrs. Cooper and Mr. Lacey:

I was among the more than 56 million viewers who tuned in to watch the first three Democratic Presidential Debates. And, I am fairly certain that I was not alone in wondering why there was still no question posed to the candidates about the future of our nation’s most successful income security program – Social Security.

In terms of sheer numbers, there are 188 million Americans who are registered to vote and there are 175 million American workers covered by Social Security. Sixty-three million Americans currently receive Social Security benefits including retirees, the disabled, and their families. And, approximately $1.6 trillion is the amount of annual economic impact these Social Security benefits create for state and local economies.

The debate is taking place at Otterbein University where enrollment is about 3,000 students. It’s a safe bet that some of them grew up while receiving Social Security survivor’s benefits after one or both of their parents were disabled, retired, or deceased.  This program is relevant to people of all ages.

Is Social Security vitally important to Americans of all ages? Yes. Does it deserve to be the focus of at least one meaningful question to be included during the October 15th Democratic Presidential Primary Debate? Absolutely.

Here’s what I’d like to suggest:

“Social Security will experience a funding shortfall in 2035 when the Trust Funds are scheduled to run out, triggering an automatic 20-25% benefit cut for all recipients.  There are many proposals and ideas to address the shortfall to ensure that full benefits continue to be paid now and well into the future.  As President, will you put forward a proposal to extend the programs’ solvency and, if so, will you choose to do this using benefit cuts or revenue increases?”

A program as large, successful and beneficial to individuals and their families and to our country’s economic engine should have at least one question included in the Democratic Presidential primary debates. Voters deserve to hear the candidates give it their full consideration and discussion.

My organization represents millions of Americans. On their behalf, I am requesting CNN and the New York Times to include a Social Security solvency question in the upcoming debate.


Max Richtman

National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
111 K St. NE, Suite 700
Washington,  DC  20002

cc: Tom Perez, Chair, DNC