Raising the age of eligibility for full benefits might not hurt investment bankers, doctors, lawyers, and other well-educated professionals. But doing so for those in the middle and near the bottom is another matter, especially since many people no longer have good pension plans from their employers. Rivlin also signaled that upper-income wage earners may see some adjustment in the way their benefits are calculated. Was the word “adjustment” another code word? Did she mean reducing benefits for the higher earners or means-testing them? That’s what some Social Security supporters fear could destroy the program’s social solidarity, with ramifications for workers now in their thirties, forties, and fifties. The Squawk Box segments sure raise a lot of questions for reporters to answer.

Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.