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The Pennsylvania senate race

October 26, 2016

Pat Toomey, the Republican Wall Street banker who landed in the U.S. Senate in the 2010 Tea Party wave, is facing a tough battle to keep his seat. According to polls, he is in a neck-and-neck race with Katie McGinty, the former chief of staff for Gov. Tom Wolf.

They clearly have different views on a number of issues. On her website, McGinty says she would not allow Social Security to be privatized. She writes, “The promise of Social Security after a lifetime of hard work is a solemn pact with our senior citizens that we must honor. As your Senator, I will oppose any effort to privatize Social Security and work to ensure that earned benefits keep pace with inflation. I will also fight to protect Medicare from those who want to turn this program into a voucher system that would force seniors to pay thousands of dollars more out of pocket for their health care.”

Toomey, in the past, has supported a partial privatization of Social Security, with a system that would allow people to invest part of their Social Security tax into personal accounts that could then be invested in stocks and bonds. This would create a whole new stream of revenue for Wall Street firms, but the suggestion was not met with wide popular support, and possibly for that reason Toomey doesn’t address the issues of Social Security or Medicare on his current campaign website, making it hard to know his current position.

On healthcare and energy, the two candidates take stances along predictable party lines.

McGinty writes, “As Senator, I will defend and build on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by working to promote access to affordable medical coverage and rein in skyrocketing out-of-pocket costs. I will fight to lower co-pays and deductibles and reduce the cost of prescription drugs for our families and seniors.

“I believe that mental and behavioral healthcare is critically important to the well-being of our nation. I support full parity for these services with coverage for physical ailments. In the Senate, I will fight for families dealing with the devastating effects of addiction, including opioid addiction.”