Social Security, Medicare and life expectancy
Two new studies find that unemployment at older ages may shorten life and that the gap in life expectancy between less and more educated workers is widening. Though neither result may seem surprising, the first is at odds with some previous research, while the second reinforces earlier findings but provides shocking new statistics—notably the fact that the least educated white women have seen their life expectancy at birth fall by five years since 1990, as highlighted in a recent New York Times article.
Huffington Post (NAT)
Social Security and Medicare Are Good Medicine
Phillip B. Levine
Yet our research on these issues also highlights the importance of Medicare and Social Security for older workers in tough economic times. When older workers under the age of 62 experience a job loss, they tend to remain in the labor force. With no source of income, dropping out of the labor force is not a viable option, even if the job hunt is long and prospects are bleak. By contrast, those who experience a job loss at or after age 62, the earliest age at which individuals can claim Social Security benefits, are more apt to retire and start collecting Social Security benefits. For these older workers, Social Security eligibility provides a lifeline. It enables them to receive at least some income support at a time that otherwise would be characterized by greater financial hardship.
Economist’s View (Blog)
The 'World-Straddling Engine of Theft, Degradation, Manipulation and Social Control We Call the Welfare State'
Social security is a means of inter-generational transfer..., but why ... should we look after old people, who can no longer do anything for us?
The obvious answer invokes Kant’s categorical imperative: it would be good for everyone (including ourselves when we are old) if everyone acted in this way. We feed the generations of our parents and grandparents in the expectation future generations will come along and do the same for us. But the consequences of this arrangement do have the character of a Ponzi scheme. One day, the world will end and the last generation of workers will have been cheated of their expectation of a peaceful retirement. In the meantime it is possible to calculate enormous measures of unfunded obligations, and it doesn’t matter. The value of these obligations is offset by the implied commitments of future generations. ...
Huffington Post (NAT)
Obama May Do Social Security Reform During Lame Duck Session, Senate Democrats Worry
"When he says that he's willing to look at changing the cap, that's not good enough," said Sanders. "Four years ago, he told us that, in fact, that was a proper solution, and he was right. I've introduced legislation to do just that ... I think we've got to make sure that we reduce the wiggle room for the president, and he has got to make a very simple statement that, 'If reelected, I will not cut Social Security.'"
Washington Post (NAT)
Survey: 96 percent of Americans have received government benefits
Last week, we examined Mitt Romney’s contention that 47 percent of the country was “dependent on government.” A look at Census data suggests that, yes, about 49 percent of Americans lived in a household last year that received at least one direct benefit from the federal government, be it Social Security or food stamps or unemployment insurance. But political scientists Suzanne Mettler and John Sides argue that this definition of “government benefit” is far too narrow.
Sea Coast Online (NH)
Medicare, Social Security concerns raised in AARP forum in Portsmouth
The issue, according to Olender, has been at the center of the debate over the nation's debt ceiling. "Social Security and Medicare cuts are very much a real part of that discussion," he said. Olender said there is every indication that the issue of entitlement reform will be on the agenda for the Obama administration and elected officials in Washington, D.C.
Tampa Bay Times (FL)
Romney's lean, mean Medicaid plans for nursing home residents
There is an irony to Romney running mate Paul Ryan's applause line at the Republican National Convention last month that "the truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves." It was Ryan who authored the plan to convert Medicaid from a strong federal-state entitlement to a block grant program to the states that Romney has incorporated into his campaign. The plan, passed as a budget blueprint by the Republican-controlled House, would gut Medicaid's safety net and focus instead on cutting funds. The nonprofit Center for Budget and Policy Priorities says Medicaid funding would decline by one-third by 2022 under Ryan's plan.
Mercury News (CA)
Ken Jacobs: Private-sector workers deserve a secure pension program, too
California's pension system underwent a massive overhaul this summer with substantial rollbacks to public employee retirement benefits and strong safeguards against abuses that have unfairly tarnished the reputation of those working in the public sector.
A recent Mercury News investigation was a big reality check for the widespread but wrongheaded notion that union workers walk away with gigantic taxpayer-subsidized pensions. It's not the workers who fix our potholes or answer our 911 calls who comprise the $200,000-a-year-pension club, according to the article; it's "the nonunion bosses." In fact, the average monthly pension in the California Public Employees' Retirement System today is $2,332 a month, or $27,984 a year. For those who retired in 2010-2011, it is $3,065 a month.
Retirement Saving: What Comes Natural is Worst Approach
Saving early is the almost painless trick to building retirement security. Young people should open a Roth IRA as soon as they have wage income. If parents have the means, the best gift they can give a working teen or young adult child is a contribution to their Roth in an amount equal to the child’s earned income up to the $5,000 annual limit. I call this a family 401(k).
CNN Money (NAT)
Scam targets seniors' Social Security benefits
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- In a new scam targeting seniors and the disabled, identity thieves are fraudulently rerouting Social Security benefits to their own bank accounts and prepaid debit cards.
It's pretty straightforward: Identity thieves get their hands on the personal information they need, like a full name and bank account number. Then they contact the Social Security Administration and request that payments be rerouted to their own accounts.
CBS Local (CO)
Getting Real about Social Security
Solving the problem of seniors in poverty was then, and still is, a very worthy cause. However, having Social Security play a role in everyone’s retirement plan, especially replacing as much as 50% of your current income, is helping to create the impossible problem that is currently the single greatest expenditure of the federal budget.
Financial Times (NAT)
US urged to consider rise in retirement age
The long-cherished notion of retirement in the US at the age of 65 is “an increasingly obsolete’ concept that should be reconsidered in light of rising longevity and better health among the elderly, says a report to Congress.
The report, Ageing and the Economy, by the National Academy of Sciences follows a study of the fiscal and economic effects of life expectancy at birth, which is predicted to rise to 84.5 years by 2050 from 47 years in 1900.
Washington Post (NAT)
Ad: George Allen wants to privatize Social Security
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has a new ad out accusing Republican former senator and governor George Allen of wanting to privatize Social Security.
Vermont Public Radio (VT)
Sanders, MacGovern Diverge On Social Security Policy
Republican candidate John MacGovern has a very different approach:
"I'm running because I think we're in a major crisis, we're not in a little crisis in which we have to tinker around the edges and we have to be brave and bold and courageous in order to save Social Security."
MacGovern says many options should be on the table for discussion for people under 55, including raising the retirement age, privatizing some funds and means testing the program: "That might be one of the changes you would put in place but going forward," said MacGovern. "So all these things should be on the table." And MacGovern says it's critical for Congress to have a healthy debate about all of these issues.
Joe for Indiana (IN)
Donnelly Supports Social Security And Medicare; Mourdock’s Extreme Plan Cuts Seniors’ Benefits
“Social Security and Medicare are more than just cards in a wallet,” said Donnelly. “These programs help Hoosier seniors make ends meet, and it is our duty to keep it strong. Richard Mourdock has questioned whether Social Security and Medicare are constitutional. When it comes to Medicare, he wants to make deep cuts, end guaranteed benefits, and force seniors to pay $6,000 more in out-of-pocket costs.”
National Journal (NAT)
Romney on Federal Debt: Don’t Expect ‘Huge’ Tax Cuts
In explaining his tax plan on Wednesday, Romney told the crowd he would simplify the tax code, but that people should not expect large tax cuts.
“Our individual income taxes are ones I want to reform, make them simpler. I want to bring the rates down,” he said. “By the way, don’t be expecting a huge cut in taxes because I’m also going to lower deductions and exemptions. But by bringing rates down, we’ll be able to let small businesses keep more of their money so they can hire more people.”