Your editorial (“Pres. Trump’s Otherwise Laudatory Speech Missed an Opportunity to Address Entitlement Reform,” 3/1/17) correctly points out that voters will punish elected leaders who tamper with Social Security and Medicare.  In fact, these elected leaders should be punished at the ballot box, because voters overwhelmingly oppose such changes.  According to a new poll commissioned by our organization, 79% of likely voters support increasing – not cutting – Social Security benefits by scrapping the wage cap on payroll taxes.  Large majorities oppose raising the eligibility ages for either program, while 93% favor allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.  The latter is one of the modest and manageable changes – along with lifting the wage cap – that Congress could take to keep Social Security and Medicare solvent deep into the 21st century. These approaches are far superior to cutting benefits or sending seniors into the private insurance market with vouchers, as Speaker Paul Ryan has proposed.  Social Security and Medicare are earned benefits that Americans have paid into for their entire working lives. Working people have every right to demand that those benefits are fully intact when they retire – and to punish politicians who violate that commitment.

Max Richtman
President & CEO, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
Washington, D.C.