Las Vegas Sun (NV)
Ryan gets heat from Dems over Social Security
"A national politician would do well to strongly identify themselves with Social Security, not just with rhetoric, but to be very clear that they understand the pain people are experiencing today, that they stand behind this program and they will protect the citizenry and they will not cut benefits," said Eric Kingson, a Syracuse University professor who co-founded Social Security Works. "I hope to hear that from the White House. I have not heard that yet."
Fox Business News (NAT)
Raise Taxes to Save Social Security
Eric Kingson, professor of social work at Syracuse University and founding co-director of Social Security Works takes on some misconceptions about America's most successful social insurance program.
Majority PAC bombards Mourdock on Social Security, Medicare
Then the attack starts in earnest: "But Richard Mourdock thinks Social Security and Mediacre are unconstitutional. Mourdock wants to cut Social Security benefits and raise the retirement age. Mourdock even said a plan that essentially ends Medicare doesn’t go far enough. The Mourdock way: the wrong way for Indiana."
The People’s Pension (Blog)
Expanding Social Security? How Outlandish
The irony of the Social Security in Planet Washington today, as Buffin and others have pointed out repeatedly, is that while all the political class seem to be able to talk about is how to cut Social Security, the reality is that today’s working Americans will need Social Security more than their parents due to the collapse of other sources of retirement income. The proposal by Harkin, who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, is certain to receive no attention in the capital this year. But that doesn’t mean it can’t have a presence in this election.
Private-Market Tooth Fairy Can’t Cut Medicare Cost
Unfortunately, proponents of moving Medicare to a private “consumer-driven” system, including Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan, seem to instead believe in a health-care competition tooth fairy -- that if we just increase the patient’s share of costs and bolster competition among insurance companies, the expense will come down. As Karl Rove recently argued, “Competition will lower costs by using market forces to spur innovation and improvement.”
Someone might want to tell that to the Congressional Budget Office, which evaluated Ryan’s original 2011 proposal to gradually move all of Medicare to private insurance companies. (In all these comparisons, we must remember that the goal is to reduce total cost -- to the government and the beneficiary combined -- compared with current projections. Merely shifting costs across the two categories is not a particularly impressive accomplishment.)
Times Union (NY)
Social Security needed more than ever
Too many people in politics and the media falsely blame Social Security for our federal budget deficit. The fact is that Social Security is fully funded by worker and employer taxes. The Social Security Trust Fund has a $2.7 trillion surplus. The myth that Social Security causes our deficits is a dangerous one; the more it is repeated, the more future generations have to worry.
I believe some of the ideas being mentioned like increasing the Social Security retirement age, lowering benefits for some seniors and letting Wall Street gamble away — and profit from — a privatized Social Security system are bad ideas.
Hispanic 50+ Voters: We Need more Information on Future of Social Security and Medicare
Raquel "Rocky" Egusquiza
Unfortunately, a new series of surveys commissioned by AARP shows that a key group of Hispanic voters 50+ are looking at the coming November election with a high level of preoccupation. This seems to be driven by economic anxieties that extend well beyond the single issue of jobs with voters age 50+ wanting the candidates to do better at explaining their plans for Social Security and Medicare.
Moving forward, more than 70% of these Latino voters 50+ want to know more about the candidates’ plans on Social Security and Medicare in order to decide who they will vote for on election day. Adding to the uncertainty, 63% also believe they will have to delay their retirement, 59% worry they won’t have a comfortable retirement, and 43% think that retirement is never going to be within their reach.
Wall Street Journal (NAT)
Ryan, Democrats Couldn't Seal Deals
On Nov. 17, 2010, Mr. Ryan and Ms. Rivlin released a proposal to create an optional Medicare exchange, where the government would help cover the cost of premiums if older Americans chose private insurance instead of the government program. It also increased the Medicare eligibility age to 67 from 65. And it capped the increase of the government's share of costs at the growth of the economy plus an additional 1%.
But when Mr. Ryan unveiled his budget plan several months later, he made several changes. His plan required the private-insurance program for any American younger than 55. And he lowered the cap on the government's share of future costs to gross-domestic-product growth plus 0.5%, which meant a greater portion of costs would be paid by individuals directly.
Portland Press Herald (ME)
Maine Voices: Social Security's origins should inform debate over its future
Christopher N. Breiseth
With FDR's own critical input, Social Security was set up as a social insurance program, relying on payroll taxes as the individual's premiums, which would guarantee a pension for retired or disabled individuals or for widows and children when their breadwinner died.In its provisions, which saw modifications over the years, including extension of benefits to categories of workers initially excluded, President Roosevelt and his secretary of labor, along with their allies in Congress, sought, in FDR's words, "security against the hazards and vicissitudes of life."In our present debate over the future of Social Security, it is clear that this vision is not shared by the opponents of Social Security, who focus instead on the individual's responsibility to care for himself or herself under all conditions.
Social Security remains vital for all Americans
In Washington, many are arguing to dismantle our Social Security system and leave our savings to be managed by Wall Street. These voices include Representative Paul Ryan—recently chosen as a Vice Presidential nominee on the Republican ticket—and former Senator Alan Simpson and former White House staffer Erskine Bowles. They argue that we should slash middle class benefits, raise the retirement age, and cut cost-of-living protections that would hurt the lowest-income seniors—basically, they want to tear our system apart brick by brick. The biggest losers of these cuts will be the most vulnerable among us: people of color, people with disabilities, low-income workers, and women, not to mention our children and grandchildren.
Our Social Security system is vital because it is the safest, most efficient, and most reliable way for Americans to guarantee their retirement savings. If we can’t count on Social Security in our retirement years, then what can we count on? Private retirement investments, like 401(k)s and IRAs, can be risky—even sophisticated investors can lose everything. Pension plans are disappearing, and home equity is no longer a stable bet. Social Security is the one retirement system that is reliable and that works.
CBS News (NAT)
SD Retirement System has modest investment return
The South Dakota Retirement System's assets dropped slightly in the past year after modest investment gains were offset by the cost of paying benefits to retirees, officials said Monday.
State Investment Officer Matt Clark said his office earned $142 million on a return of 1.9 percent on stocks and other investments for the year that ended June 30. But after benefits were paid to retirees, the Retirement System's assets dropped to about $7.84 billion, down $91 million from a year earlier, he said.
Clark and Wes Tschetter, chairman of the council that advises the Investment Office, told a legislative panel that the key to the Retirement System's health is long-term growth, not just one year's investment performance
Christian Science Monitor (NAT)
Why Paul Ryan is no Ayn Rand on Social Security
Thus the Ryan plan to save Social Security. In his most recent budget, Ryan aims to strengthen Social Security by reducing benefits and raising the age of eligibility. (Earlier versions of the plan included “private” Social Security accounts, but Ryan has since scrapped that proposal.)
But the Congressional Budget Office concluded that under Ryan’s budget, Social Security spending would rise – from 4.75 percent of GDP in 2011 to 6 percent of GDP in 2030.
The Hill (DC)
McCaskill wants Akin to stay in the race
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) would prefer for Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) to remain her reelection opponent.
"Elections are sacred, there was an election, so I think the voters of Missouri should be respected [and] not have some big wig fancy people from Washington come in here and threaten him that he's got to drop out," McCaskill said, according to St. Louis television station KTVS.
New York Times (NAT)
Exploring Mitt Romney’s Taxes and Tax Plan
It is principally for this reason that the Tax Policy Center recently concluded that Mr. Romney’s numbers don’t add up. Either he will greatly increase the deficit or he will have to raise taxes on the middle class to maintain revenue neutrality. Even if every deduction, exclusion and credit for the wealthy was abolished, their taxes would still go down under Mr. Romney’s plan.
Washington Post (NAT)
Romney-Ryan: Keynesianism 2012!
Mitt Romney has provided reporters with plenty of damning clips of past flip-flops — declaring himself “pro-choice”, calling blind trusts a “ruse”, labeling himself a “progressive”, just to name a few — and his newly-minted running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), seems set to emulate him. More specifically, like Romney, Ryan has done a complete flip on Keynesian economics. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes aired the evidence yesterday
Washington Post (NAT)
The rise of the ‘Drawbridge Republicans’
Wealthy political candidates are nothing new, of course. But we’ve never had two wealthy candidates on a national ticket whose top priority is to reduce already low taxes on the well-to-do while raising taxes on everyone else — even as they propose to slash programs that serve the poor, or that (like college aid) create chances for the lowly born to rise.
Call them the Drawbridge Republicans. As the moniker implies, these are wealthy Republicans who have no qualms about pulling up the drawbridge behind them. Such sentiments used to be reserved for the political fringe. The most prominent example was Steve Forbes, whose twin obsessions during his vanity presidential runs in 1996 and 2000 — marginal tax rates and inflation — were precisely what you’d expect from an heir in a cocoon.
The New Republic (NAT)
Hey Republicans! Stop Misusing My Medicare Study!
Supporters for the Romney-Ryan approach to Medicare have a new talking point. They say a new study by “three liberal Harvard economists” proves that the plan’s competition will reduce health care costs without harming beneficiaries. But the study doesn’t say that.And I should know. I’m one of the economists who wrote it.
Both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have said they would like to convert Medicare into a "premium support" (nee voucher) system. Their plans are different, and Ryan himself has proposed several versions. But they share a basic architecture. Starting ten years from now, new retirees would not receive a Medicare card, as they would today. Instead, they would receive a voucher and shop for an insurance policy in a specially regulated market.
The Daily Herald (IL)
Social Security becomes hot topic in 11th Congressional District
The key difference is privatization of Social Security. Neither candidate is in favor of far-reaching privatization that would see the federal government invest a large portion of Social Security funds in the stock market.
Biggert has spoken in favor of what some term “partial privatization” where individuals can choose to put a small portion, generally 2 percent, of their Social Security tax payments, into private accounts. Those accounts could then be invested in the stock market.
Foster doesn’t make a distinction between full or partial privatization when speaking about the dangers of putting Social Security dollars into the stock market. Indeed, his campaign put out a statement Friday blasting Biggert for supporting legislation in favor of privatization. Biggert’s campaign responded by calling the statement “baseless” and “fear-mongering.”