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Oct 27, 2010 9:32 PM by Ariel Wesler

Social Security rally sparks heated debate

Social Security is one of the big national issues as congressional elections are held across the country.

It's no different on the Central Coast in the 23rd District congressional race between incumbent Democrat Lois Capps and Republican Tom Watson. Capps hosted a rally today in Santa Maria to talk about the importance of preserving the Social Security. She calls it a lifeline for many in the community.

Seniors gathered in front of the Social Security office in santa maria to take a stand against any attempt to privatize the federal program.

"Anyone who wants to let wall street gamble with seniors retirement, get your hands off our Social Security," said Democratic Representative Lois Capps.

For many seniors it's a lifeline and safety net.

"Can you imagine choosing whether to eat or whether to get the medication you need? asked Nancy Johnson, a concerned senior.

Capps reassured them the system is stable and if reelected, she will do everything she can to protect it.

"Social Security is secure for the next 25 or 30 years, and we're determined to keep it that way," Capps said.

But her Republican opponent Tom Watson calls her statements false and absurd.

"To just ignore the problem and to demagogue it and to try to scare seniors on something this serious when we are literally driving off a cliff, shows somebody that's not serious about fixing the problems this country has," Watson said.

He says he never advocated privatizing Social Security, but the reality is something needs to change and he wants to see another option for seniors to protect their investments.

"There'll be more money taken out of Social Security than put into it this year in payroll taxes, about 10 years earlier than was predicted a couple of years ago. The system is in terrible shape," Watson said.

There is a bill going through Congress called the Ryan Amendment. It's put out by Republican Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. It talks about a plan to fix social security, but opponents say it will drastically reduce benefits.


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