In other words, the program is building up debt even as benefits become less sustainable as the baby boomers begin to retire and the ratio of workers to seniors shrinks. The feds will then have to pay out of other tax revenue to meet Social Security’s obligations. This is the long-range problem Mr. Perry should attempt to explain, and the danger is that his rhetoric will scare the elderly rather than reassure them that reform is necessary for the sake of their grandchildren. He’s now running to represent Republicans as their Presidential nominee, not hawking a book on conservative talk radio.

As for Mr. Romney, he seems to be taking Social Security assaults a notch or two beyond even the Democratic playbook. At the debate he implied Mr. Perry was “committed to abolishing Social Security,” and he has since made this a major campaign theme…

We’d give Mr. Romney more credit for his professed political prudence if he were at least proposing some Social Security reforms of his own. But his recent 160-page economic platform avoids anything controversial on the subject. If Mr. Romney rides to the nomination by sounding like President Obama on Social Security, he will make any reform he would eventually need to attempt that much harder to accomplish.