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VOTE 2010: NRCC targets Mike McIntyre over Social Security


St. Petersburg Times

Scaring voters about what could happen to Social Security if your opponent wins the election is a time-honored tradition in political ads, especially when Democrats are making the accusation. But in something of a twist, the National Republican Congressional Committee -- the campaign arm of House Republicans -- is using Social Security as a cudgel against a Democrat, seven-term Rep. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina.

Here's the transcript of the ad:

Narrator: "Mike McIntyre and Nancy Pelosi are not being honest with North Carolina seniors."

McIntyre: "I'll never risk your Social Security."

Narrator. "But McIntyre and Pelosi's big spending is robbing our Social Security trust fund. Social Security is billions in debt, and this year will be operating in the red. And now for the second year in a row, there's no cost-of-living increase for North Carolina seniors. Mike McIntyre and Nancy Pelosi: Their spending is putting our Social Security at risk."

We've written at some length about the question of whether Social Security is "billions in debt" and "operating in the red." So this time, we thought we'd tackle the notion that McIntyre and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. -- the ad's boogeyman and boogeywoman -- are responsible for the fact that "for the second year in a row, there's no cost-of-living increase for North Carolina seniors."

We'll begin by pointing out that North Carolina seniors aren't alone in this fate. Social Security cost-of-living adjustments, or COLAs, are calculated on a national basis, not by individual state.

But how are they calculated? Here's the long answer.


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