Tweaks, of course, are in the eyes of those doing the tweaking and those to whom the tweaking is done. Both these approaches appeal to deficit hawks because they help reduce the government’s payout. Their effect on Social Security recipients is a different matter. Here’s an idea for reporters interested in going beyond complicated Washington speak. Why not go out and talk to people in your communities about what these tweaks—a.k.a. reduced benefits—will mean to them in dollars and cents?

For more from Trudy Lieberman on Social Security and entitlement reform, click here.

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.