New York Times (NAT)
Our Ridiculous Approach to Retirement
Seventy-five percent of Americans nearing retirement age in 2010 had less than $30,000 in their retirement accounts. The specter of downward mobility in retirement is a looming reality for both middle- and higher-income workers. Almost half of middle-class workers, 49 percent, will be poor or near poor in retirement, living on a food budget of about $5 a day.
The Washington Post (NAT)
FACT CHECK: For veterans, disability claims backlog has continued growing under Obama
Obama spoke Monday to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. His Republican rival for the White House, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, is set to address the same group Tuesday. A look at Obama’s assertions about the Veterans Affairs Department’s efforts and how they compare with the facts:
OBAMA: “We’ve hired thousands of claims processors. We’re investing in paperless systems. To their credit, the dedicated folks at the VA are now completing 1 million claims a year, but there’s been a tidal wave of new claims.”
THE FACTS: Veterans can be eligible for help with conditions caused or aggravated by their military service. The government, however, has long struggled to keep up with the claims, and the backlog has grown worse during the president’s term in office as soldiers return from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The American Prospect (NAT)
Creating a Countercyclical Welfare System
Welfare systems exist to reduce the worst excesses of poverty. When poverty increases during recessions, the welfare state is supposed to rush into countercyclical action, providing a firewall against a growth in destitution.
That’s the theory, anyway. In practice, it’s never been the case. In recent years in particular, the American welfare system has increasingly shed itself of this key obligation.
The Peoples Pension (Blog)
Social Security in Dorothea Lange's America – and Today
Dorothea Lange, the great documentary photographer, traveled to rural Oregon in 1939 as part of her ongoing project to document the plight of the rural poor for the federal Resettlement Administration. Among the many stunning, often heartbreaking images she captured was the one reproduced here. The exact location isn't known, but it shows an unemployed lumber worker and his wife in the shelter they were then living in. The tattoo on his arm is his Social Security number.
The Nation: Women's Health Takes Another Hit
Last week I calculated that more than 4 million women could be left uninsured if their governors decide to opt out of expanding Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act, as many of them are indicating. But there are subsets within that number that are particularly vulnerable and who were expecting the most help from the ACA. Low-income women who are nearing retirement age could really feel the squeeze, just at a time when they should be focused on storing away money for a comfortable retirement.
Ryan Offers Romney Risk, Reward
"The road map gives you universal access to affordable health insurance for every American, and it makes Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security permanently solvent," Ryan said in an interview with then-PBS host Charlie Rose. "We can't have these entitlements designed like they are right now."
Ryan's budget was instantly controversial. It called for sweeping cuts to social programs, and, most troubling for seniors, would have changed Medicare from a guaranteed benefit to a voucher program.
Still, Republicans lined up behind it and rode the plan to a sweep of the House, giving Ryan the chairmanship of the Budget Committee. Within a few months, the House passed the Ryan budget (although the Senate did not)
Huffington Post (NAT)
Are We Doing Enough for Marginalized Elder Populations?
This Wednesday, seven organizations known as the Diverse Elders Coalition will hold a Congressional briefing to discuss the policy implications of America's aging boom. As millions enter retirement age in the next few decades and as this country becomes increasingly more diverse, the number of older people who are Black, Latino, Asian and Pacific Islander, American Indian and Alaska Native will grow exponentially -- as will the number of elders who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT). This begs two fundamental questions: Is our country's aging network paying particular attention to older populations who are more vulnerable? And if not, what can lawmakers do to correct this neglect?
Huffington Post (NAT)
Health Care Reform and the Laws of Unintended Consequences
Steven M. Gillon
When the Supreme Court ruled that President Obama's sweeping overhaul of the nation's health care system was constitutional, about the only thing critics and supporters could agree on was the historic importance of the legislation itself. But if history is any guide, there will be one other inescapable truth: The Affordable Health Care for America Act of 2010 will generate the same unintended consequences that have shaped, distorted, and even perverted so many other important pieces of legislation in our nation's history.
Sequester show hits key states
Manu Raju and Jonathan Martin
Graham has become one of the more vocal proponents of including revenues in a deal, saying closing some tax deductions and raising certain federal fees, including ones proposed by the Bowles-Simpson deficit-reduction plan, could be used to replace the so-called defense sequester. He wouldn’t get into specifics since there’s no consensus yet.
NY City Woman (NY)
Retirement: Savoring The Second Half of Life
Charlotte Frank and Christine Millen belong to the first generation of women who achieved widespread success in the corporate world. But when Frank, an executive with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Millen, a partner at the consulting firm Deloitte, faced retirement a decade ago, they did so with the same apprehension that many high-level men experience: How would they cope when they lost the status, camaraderie, authority, and challenge of their careers?
Associated Press (NAT)
US poverty on track to hit highest since 1960s
Washington: The ranks of America’s poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s amid a weak economy and fraying government safety net.
Census figures for 2011 will be released this fall in the critical weeks ahead of the November elections.
Our “Ridiculous” Retirement System Is Crumbling, Expert Says
Our 401(k)s, for those of us fortunate enough to have one, are tied to an unpredictable and often volatile stock market. (Some employers did away with their 401(k)s at the height of the recession to save money or stay afloat). If the recession has taught us anything, we now know that retiring in a down market with lost income — despite years of scrimping and saving, of choosing investments and allocations wisely — will diminish our lifestyle permanently. And that’s when we get it “right” and save for 40 years or more.
Daily Finance (NAT)
A Smarter Way to Think About Social Security
Planning for retirement is one of the biggest financial challenges you'll ever face. With a goal that's so far in the future and with so much uncertainty about what your finances will look like by the time you retire, it can be tough just getting your fingers around the scope of the problem, let alone actually coming up with smart strategies.
WOAI News 4 (TX)
7-mile move costs Social Security millions
Congress continues to debate the nation's budget. At hand is a 10-year plan that would cut more than a trillion dollars.
Still in the line of fire is the Social Security Administration (SSA), the agency that provides benefits to retired and disabled Americans. SSA's commissioner says if they aren't spared the cuts could mean hundreds of lost jobs across the country, closed offices, and potential changes in benefits.
Minnesota Public Radio (MN)
How unready are we for retirement?
It's quite a day. The market's tanking because it's expensive for Spain to borrow. The New York Times is launching a new project digging into middle class decline.
It's only a short stroll, then, to some grim, newly published data showing many of the folks near retirement have little savings beyond Social Security.
The Republic (IN)
Fees can add up for Social Security debit cards
The paper Social Security check will go the way of the Pink Princess rotary-dial phone, the typewriter and yes, sadly, Elvis in roughly seven months. Nearly 6 million people throughout the country still need to decide how they’re going to get their money.
People can sign up for direct deposit to a bank or credit union account; or they could opt to have money deposited electronically via the Direct Express Debit MasterCard.
Federal Times (NAT)
Social Security sign-up
retired under CSRS in 2003 and have 26 credits for Social Security. I seem to remember from a pre-retirement seminar that I should sign up for Social Security two or three months before turning 65, which will be this year, even though I am not entitled to Social Security. Do I need to sign up if I am not entitled to it?
American’s For Tax Reform
Simpson-Bowles Plan Is a $5 Trillion Tax Hike in First Full Decade
Simspon-Bowles is actually a $5 trillion net tax hike relative to historical tax levels. If Simpson-Bowles’ revenue target was in place for the whole next decade, it would raise $5 trillion more in tax revenue than if historical revenue levels were in place
The Atlantic (NAT)
Will Florida's Voter Purge Cost Obama the Election?
It is November 7, the day after the 2012 presidential election, and Barack Obama has narrowly lost his bid for reelection. What clinched it: a photo-finish defeat in Florida -- a few thousand votes in a state of more than 11 million voters. And then the reports start to trickle in from Floridians who say they were disenfranchised. Shortly before the election, they got an official letter telling them they couldn't vote, even though they're U.S. citizens. Most of them are Hispanic and say they would have voted Democratic.
Talking Points Memo (NAT)
Ahead Of Voter ID Trial, Pennsylvania Admits There’s No In-Person Voter Fraud
Ryan J. Reilly
As the Justice Department investigates Pennsylvania’s voter ID law on the federal level, a coalition of civil rights groups is gearing up for a state trial starting Wednesday examining whether the law is allowable under Pennsylvania’s constitution.
In that case, Pennsylvania might have handed those groups and their clients (including 93-year-old Viviette Applewhite) a bit of an advantage: They’ve formally acknowledged that there’s been no reported in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania and there isn’t likely to be in November.
The hidden Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney is a man of faith, successful in business and with the executive experience that comes from running a big state.
A perfect presidential résumé? Pretty close.
Only one problem, as his critics note: Romney doesn’t spend much time talking about it.
The Hill (DC)
McConnell promises busy Senate if GOP retakes upper chamber
Alexander Bolton and Bob Cusack
In an interview, McConnell detailed how he would run the Senate, vowing to pass a budget and repeal “ObamaCare.”…
Obama smacks Romney in Oakland
President Obama tore into Mitt Romney with special zeal Monday night, at a packed Oakland fundraiser whose political fire palpably restored his own. Obama got tougher as the speech went on, hitting Romney at length for distorting his comments on business owners, and jabbing back, saying it’s Romney who “doesn’t understand what it takes to succeed.”
USA Today (NAT)
Poll: Romney preferred over Obama to handle the economy
Despite concerted Democratic attacks on his business record, Republican challenger Mitt Romney scores a significant advantage over President Obama when it comes to managing the economy, reducing the federal budget deficit and creating jobs, a national USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds.
National Journal (NAT)
Feinstein: White House Behind National Security Leaks
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said that although she is sure the president is not disclosing secret information to the public, she wasn’t as sure about other White House staff.