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Lonegan vs. Booker: Polar Opposites in a Polarized Nation

Booker questioned how Lonegan could portray himself as a defender of Social Security when he previously called it a “Ponzi scheme,” and as a defender of Medicare when “he said he would not have voted for Medicaid and Medicare because he doesn’t believe the government should be in the business of helping people -- elderly, sick, disabled, people with preexisting conditions -- the government should not be involved in their healthcare.”

He added that Lonegan’s plan to allow young people to opt out of Social Security would jeopardize the fiscal stability of the system. “If you take current contributors out of the system and let them put their Social Security plans on Wall Street,” Booker said, “nobody will be paying into the system, and that will jeopardize the system a lot quicker than 2033,” when analysts project that Social Security would have to cut benefits by 25 percent to stay afloat.

“What you’ve got to do to fix it is have the wealthy in this country pay a little more,” he said, adding that the nation needs to overhaul its tax system, as it did when Reagan and Bradley teamed up on a bipartisan tax reform measure in 1986.

Lonegan pounced on Booker’s comments as proof that “my opponent supports that very far left liberal view of government that government should collect as much taxes as possible and redistribute it,” and blamed Obama’s fiscal policies for the fall in middle-class family income during the so-called jobless recovery that has followed the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009.

Booker, however, noted that Lonegan does not support legislation to increase the minimum wage, which Booker and most Democrats do.

Booker and Lonegan differed as stridently on a wide range of social issues, from gay marriage to abortion to gun control.

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