Others in the media are beginning to take note of Sharron Angle. In his Los Angeles Times column last week, Michael Hiltzik reported on Angle’s interest in transitioning out Social Security and replacing it with personalized accounts. But for Hiltzik, her positions merely serve to underscore what he calls “minor tweaks” that can destroy Social Security:

Seemingly ‘minor’ fixes can have consequences great enough to wreck the entire edifice, the way a tiny water leak can eat away a foundation and bring down a house.
Hiltzik, who has written a book titled The Plot against Social Security, calls for vigilance in looking beneath the slick-sounding fixes, beneath the euphemisms, beneath the candidates’ rhetoric, in order to see what all that will really mean for the system and the fifty-three million people who depend on it. He has reason to worry.

Earlier this year I sat down with Bruce Vladeck, who headed Medicare during the Clinton years. Vladeck is as an astute observer of U.S. social insurance programs as there is. “The real story in social policy over the last twenty years,” he said, “is the rollback of wages of working people that happened without a peep, and that includes the restructuring of the pension system.” The burgeoning crusade against entitlements is a real story, too. The media needs to start taking notice.

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.