“But rather than increasing the Social Security COLA to keep up with escalating health costs, most inside-the-beltway discussions these days revolve around adopting a lower COLA as a way to help close Social Security’s modest projected shortfall. The super committee may be considering such a move. This is a terrible idea for two reasons. First, Americans across the political spectrum prefer to restore balance through revenue increases rather than benefit cuts; and second, a COLA cut has the greatest impact on the oldest old, who also tend to be the poorest old.

A recent survey commissioned by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the Rockefeller Foundation found that 61% of women and 54% of men supported increasing Social Security benefits. This isn’t surprising when you consider that benefits are modest and replace a shrinking share of preretirement earnings even without additional cuts. Nor is this an anomaly: Polls have consistently found that Americans oppose benefit cuts and are willing to pay higher taxes to strengthen the program.”