New York Times (NAT)
Boomers and Entitlements: The Backlash
The column proposed that baby boomers like me, who are flooding into the Social Security and Medicare rolls, should take the lead in fighting to reform those programs. Reform does not mean privatizing, a la the Paul Ryan/Mitt Romney approach, which I think is an underhanded way to cut benefits overall. And it does not mean whacking benefits for those who genuinely depend on these programs. (More on that in a minute.) It mostly means shifting more of the costs to those who can afford them, reconciling the programs to the changes in how we live, and using the government’s power to help drive down the costs of medical care.
Wall Street Journal (NAT)
Payroll Tax Cut on Track to Quietly Expire
Amid a high-decibel fight over the nation's budget, there is one emerging area of agreement: Both parties appear willing to quietly let a major tax cut expire—a payroll tax break enjoyed by about 122 million people.
Huffington Post (NAT)
Those (Us) Greedy Boomers
The issue of sustainably of Social Security and Medicare -- I fear that the word "entitlement" feeds into the frenzy -- actually has little to do with greed and is largely a function of our uniquely inefficient system of health care delivery, as that's from where our real long-term fiscal problems derive. And this goes well beyond the public sector -- private sector health spending is also unsustainable and, unless we slow it down to a rate closer to overall economic growth, will eventually crowd out too much of the other things we want and need.
Washington Post (NAT)
Social Security Disability Insurance’s incentive not to work
Social Security Disability Insurance, however, pays people who can show that they are too mentally or physically impaired to remain in the labor force. In short, for many workers, SSDI creates a quasi-right not to work.
This paradox is getting expensive. SSDI spending has doubled as a percentage of gross domestic product in the last 25 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The program paid $128.9 billion to 8.3 million beneficiaries in fiscal 2011, about one-fifth of all Social Security spending. The average monthly benefit is $1,100, slightly less than the average Social Security retirement check, but after two years on SSDI, beneficiaries also get Medicare. Indeed, SSDI added $80 billion to the cost of Medicare in fiscal 2011.
Nervous Rich People and a Bad Moon Rising
Charles P. Pierce
There's a kind of paranoid meanness in the air — and, in keeping with today's theme, that's another reason not to underestimate the power that is Willard Romney, by the way — and one of the ways you know it is that it's beginning to filter down from the rarefied air of the plutocracy down through the courtier press. We've already had Bill Keller, telling all of "us" that only by developing a taste for Meow Mix can "we" safeguard the future of the Republic. Now, there's Charles Lane, who almost never misses a chance to kiss up and/or kick down, cautioning us that crafty cripples are pillaging the public fisc. At $1100 per month or, roughly, I suspect, what Lane tips at valet parking.
PBS News (NAT)
Answers to Benign and Scary Social Security Questions
Erin Mansuetto: Can you tell me if you have school age dependents can you take the benefit at 62, suspend and still get the dependent benefits????
Larry Kotlikoff: You can't suspend benefits at 62. You can only suspend after full retirement age. If you earn money and lose it due to the earnings test, the effects of the earnings test on your own retirement benefit will be undone at full retirement age by giving you a permanently higher benefit. But if you earn enough money, all of your retirement benefits and those of your child will be wiped out and your child will not recoup those lost benefits in the future.
Wilkes-Barre Citizens' Voice (PA)
Medicare Cost Won't Increase Unless Social Security Does
Obamacare doesn't go into effect until 2014, not 2013 as you said in your letter. You should get your story straight before you write your letters.
You said we pay $96.40 out of our Social Security checks. I pay $99.60 out of my check, not $96.40. We got a COLA raise this year and that's when I started paying $99.60.
Amherst Patch (NH)
Social Security, Medicare Preservation Group Endorses Kuster [VIDEO]
The Political Action Committee of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare endorsed Democrat Ann McLane Kuster on July 31 in her race to unseat U.S. Rep. Charles Bass, R-NH, for the Second Congressional District.
Fox News (NAT)
Social Security Strategy for New Wife and Exes
Dr. Don Taylor
Dear Dr. Don,
I am 64 years old. I have a new wife and two ex-wives. I was married to each of the ex-wives for more than 10 years. They are all two or more years younger than me. I do not need the income and have no other heirs. What is my best Social Security strategy?
The Sacramento Bee (CA)
Most Idahoans Worried About Future Of Social Security & Medicare
According to the results of a new questionnaire of nearly 3,000 Idahoans, released by AARP Idaho today, most are of the mindset that Social Security and Medicare are in need of major changes and with many not expecting to get back what they've paid in. The majority want to make their voices heard when it comes to proposed changes to the programs, but don't think it will make a difference – AARP is working to make sure that's not the case.
Summit Daily (CO)
Your Money: Social Security: Even more complicated than taxes
f you're already receiving benefits, you're probably an expert on the system. But, for those of you who haven't started receiving benefits, or those on the verge, I've compiled some tips to maximizing your benefits. Gone are the days of receiving an annual letter with your benefit information; you now have to proactively log into the Social Security Administration's website. And that's just the start of the confusion. If you take your benefits at the wrong time, you could end up with a smaller benefit forever, so it's important you know some of the insider secrets.
LA Times (NAT)
Flash: Mitt Romney's tax proposal favors the rich
Those principles are lowering marginal rates, eliminating the alternative minimum tax (ATM), maintaining "revenue neutrality" and eliminating the most popular tax breaks such as the mortgage interest and health insurance deductions. These are, by the way, also the principles underlying the Bowles-Simpson deficit-cutting plan that is so inexplicably admired by Washington insiders.
Associated Press (NAT)
Ted Cruz Defeats David Dewhurst In Texas Senate Runoff
Tea party darling Ted Cruz convincingly defeated the Republican establishment favorite, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, in Texas' runoff election Tuesday, capturing the GOP nomination to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison as fiercely conservative voters shook one of America's reddest states to its political core.
The Hill (DC)
Pentagon warns lawmakers: Sequester cuts would lead to 'unready, hollow' military force
Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Wednesday warned that sequestration would be a “major step” to “an unready, hollow” military force.
GOP majority stumbles into August recess
Jonathan Allen and Jake Sherman
The new Republican majority came in with a roar, but it’s crawling into the August break with a whimper.
Here’s what they will have on the scoreboard before the election: a Senate-driven, two-year highway bill; a six-month extension of government spending at levels they’ve all decried as too high; and no farm bill.
Washington Post (DC)
Swing state poll: Romney still struggling to convince voters he cares
David A. Fahrenthold and Aaron Blake
In the key swing states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, voters were asked the question, “Would you say that Mitt Romney cares about the needs and problems of people like you or not?”
In all three, more people answered “not.”
Roll Call (DC)
Continuing Resolution Clears Way for Other Battles
Tuesday’s deal to take a government shutdown showdown off the table clears the September schedule for a month of pre-election maneuvering on the expiring Bush-era tax cuts and the budget sequester.
And it makes the final fight over both issues in the post-election lame-duck session a purer test of wills over whether either party can actually stomach tax increases and/or deep defense cuts in order to make their broader ideological points about the nation’s fiscal policy.