The Post story ended with comments from Illinois senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat, reporting that Durbin had long allied himself with those who want to preserve Social Security’s benefit structure. But Durbin’s stance is different now. He supported cuts to Social Security and tax increases as a member of the polarizing Simpson-Bowles deficit commission. He told the Post his friends assured him that regular people would accept ideas such as gradually raising the retirement age. “As I looked at this, I thought small changes made today will give 50 years or more solvency to Social Security,” Durbin explained.

Is raising the age for benefit eligibility one of the modest changes the authors contemplated? Does Durbin’s position show that the coalition supporting the program is cracking according to the Cato authors’ prescription? Is the strategy outlined in the Cato paper moving into place? As good journalists know, context is everything.

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.