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We can't 'do nothing' about Social Security, former Sen Bob Kerrey says

Bob Kerrey: Sounding the alarm on social security

Voters cannot let the presidential candidates skirt the issue of Social Security, even if it seems early for parts of the electorate to be thinking about retirement, former Sen. Bob Kerrey said Tuesday.

The Nebraska Democrat told CNBC's "Squawk Box" that candidates well before Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump supported a "do-nothing" plan.

The first part of that plan is pandering to seniors, telling them "something other than what's the truth," Kerrey said.

The next component? "In 18 years, benefits get cut. And if you're under the age of 40, they get cut a lot," Kerrey said.

Kerrey said that the two-term system only perpetuates the problem, since incoming presidents do not feel the pressure to change things based on an 18-year outlook.

"You cannot allow people who are supporting the do-nothing plan to get away from answering the question, 'Do you support cuts in the program?'"

Kerrey said Social Security is not getting the proper attention in the 2016 election.


"In very large numbers, old people vote. And in very low numbers, young people vote," he said.

"It's relatively easy to make a promise to people who are going to vote in large numbers and then not disclose to people who are going to vote in relatively small numbers that they're going to get screwed."

The people who are front-and-center now – Clinton, Trump, and most of Congress included – will likely not be affected by the do-nothing plan in their lifetimes, Kerrey said. What the media and the electorate need to do is make younger voters aware of the issue before doing nothing results in, well, nothing, he said.

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