The Bernie-Biden clash over Social Security, explained

Social Security hasn’t been at the top of the American political agenda for years, but Bernie Sanders is putting it back — to take on Joe Biden. Sanders’s camp heavily previewed the argument that Biden has a worrying track record of pushing for Social Security cuts before the most recent Democratic debate, but then whiffed, leaving Biden largely uncriticized as Sanders instead got pulled into a dispute with Elizabeth Warren.

For the vast majority of his career, Biden has been a deficit hawk who’s willing to sacrifice Social Security and Medicare benefits for the sake of achieving smaller budget gaps. He’s even bragged about it to establish a rhetorical contrast with Republican fiscal irresponsibility. And unlike some Biden-related controversies,this isn’t ancient history. It’s a position Biden maintained as Barack Obama’s vice president — and that Sanders and Warren fought against.