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Democratic NY-21 Congressional District challenger Tedra Cobb and U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik’s campaign traded jabs this week over Social Security.

Cobb criticized Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, in a news release for Stefanik in 2014 indicating that she supported raising the retirement age, but did not give details. She also accused Stefanik of voting to cut funding for the program.

Cobb said she will not support any cuts to or the privatization of Social Security. 

Stefanik’s campaign spokesman Lenny Alcivar jabbed back on Twitter, calling Cobb by the "Taxin’ Tedra" moniker the campaign has used since Cobb’s first run for Congress in 2018, saying: “Worst Democratic candidate in America strikes again with misfire on Social Security. @Elise Stefanik: Bipartisan record of protecting SS, delivering for #21 seniors.” However, he does not mention specifics about what Stefanik has done regarding Social Security. 

He also pointed out that Cobb does not mention Social Security on her website.

The problem is: Stefanik’s campaign also does not list it as an issue. Her only mention of appears in the section called Balancing the Budget, in which she states: “Our national debt is now more than $20 trillion and is growing each day. That means our future generations are already saddled with crushing debt, and the programs that seniors count on, including Social Security and other entitlement programs, are in jeopardy of going bankrupt in the near future. Elise will continue to advocate for balanced budgets in Congress.”

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Her official congressional website contains the same set of issues and comments about the budget and Social Security.

The most recent press release about Social Security on her official website was issued on Oct. 12, 2018, in which she praised the news that Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 67 million Americans will increase 2.8 percent in 2019 — the largest increase in seven years.

However, those cost-of-living increases are calculated based upon a formula set in the law.

Stefanik also touted her work to make sure the Social Security beneficiaries in her district are receiving the correct amount they are owned and noted that she has helped them recover over $1.9 million in benefits.

The Social Security trust funds are projected to run out of money in 2035 if nothing changes, according to the Social Security Administration.

However, politicians avoid mentioning the issue — it has been called the Third Rail — because they don’t want to discuss unpopular options such as raising the retirement age, reducing payouts or making higher-income Americans pay higher taxes on the benefits.

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Michael Goot covers politics, business, Glens Falls and Lake George. Reach him at 518-742-3320 or mgoot@poststar.com and follow his blog at http://poststar.com/blogs/michael_goot/.

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