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Reform Social Security now? Demographics of electorate say yes.

Republicans and Democrats seem to be talking past each other on Social Security. Republicans are unwilling to consider tax increases, and Democrats don't want to cut benefits.

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Commisioner of Social Security Michael Astrue speaks alongside Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius on Friday May 13, as the Social Security Board of Trustees announces that the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust funds will be exhausted by 2036, one year earlier than projected last year.

Newscom

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Social Security is in bad shape financially, and federal efforts to reform the program seem to be on a slow track – or no track at all.

Those two facts have emerged recently in separate quarters.

On Thursday, the Social Security Trustees released their latest annual report on the program's long-term outlook. They said that, unless changes are made, the program's trust fund appears likely to run dry in 2036 – a year earlier than was projected last year.

After that, tax revenue for the program would allow beneficiaries to receive just 77 cents for each dollar of promised benefits.

Even as the warning was given, however, Republicans and Democrats seem to be talking past each other on the issue. Republicans are largely unwilling to consider tax increases, and many Democrats nearly as adamant about steps that could be construed as cutting benefits.

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