Debate Moderators Asked to Include Social Security Question in Next Debate

July 16, 2019

Letter to CNN Democratic Presidential Debate Moderators
Dana Bash, Don Lemon and Jake Tapper

Dear Ms. Bash, Mr. Lemon and Mr. Tapper:

I was among the 33 million plus viewers who tuned in to watch the first round of the Democratic Presidential Debates in June. And, I am fairly certain that I was not alone in wondering why there was 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.

Is Social Security a vitally important American program? Yes. Does it deserve to be the focus of at least one meaningful question to be included during the next Democratic Presidential Primary Debate this month? 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% 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 program’s 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 to include a Social Security solvency question in the upcoming debates.


Max Richtman, President and CEO

cc:        Tom Perez, Chair – Democratic National Committee