Laursen, author of The People's Pension: The Struggle to Defend Social Security Since Reagan (AK Press), notes two reasons to be optimistic that Obama will stand firmly behind Social Security.
First, Vice President Joe Biden made a firm statement of support at a campaign stop last month. “Number one, I guarantee you, flat guarantee you, there will be no changes in Social Security,” Biden said. “I flat guarantee you.”
Second, the Democratic Party platform promises to “block” any attempt to “privatize” Social Security, and rejects “approaches that insist that cutting benefits is the only answer” to keeping the program solvent in coming decades.
“I'll be listening carefully to see if Obama reiterates those promises tomorrow night,” says Laursen. “But I'm troubled that the platform implies that a 'solution' is needed to protect Social Security for future generations, without specifying what the party leadership has in mind. Social Security may need some very minor adjustments in later decades. But the main challenges facing it are the determination of its political enemies to dismantle it. We need to hear him reiterate Biden's pledge that Social Security will not be cut or made part of any budget-balancing deal.”
The People's Pension, just published by AK Press, is the first comprehensive history of the Social Security wars that have raged since the election of Ronald Reagan more than 30 years ago. It's been hailed as “comprehensive and compelling reading” (Booklist), a “magnificent history” that's “utterly urgent” (economist James K. Galbraith), and “as thorough, illuminating—and disturbing—a look at the decades-long ideological attack on this all-important program as we are ever likely to get” (Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times).