FOR ALL those people who worship at the feet of Ronald Reagan.

As grand bargain fever whips up, keeping Social Security out of the mix should be a priority, something Senator Bernie Sanders and others have been preaching for a long time.

The numbers are on the side of Democrats and progressives. From Democracy Corp:

…Elites assume the fiscal cliff is about deficit reduction and avoiding a contraction in the economy, voters want progress to create jobs over the next five years. Voters want growth, not austerity, and above all, do not see “˜entitlements’ as on the table.

· Two-thirds give an intense positive response to a “plan to invest in new industries and rebuild the country and create jobs over the next five years.” That is 5 points higher than “a plan to dramatically reduce the deficit to allow the economy to grow over next five years.”

· By 67 to 26 percent, voters say the priority should be growth rather deficit reduction.

There is no evidence that voters have any interest in the contours of Simpson-Bowles approach to the budget.

· Over 60 percent rule out cuts in Medicare and Social Security as part of a deficit reduction package.

· Almost three-quarters find acceptable in any such plan creating a new higher rate for those earning over a million dollars.