Washington Post (NAT)
No, Social Security and Medicare aren’t crowding out R&D and education
Social Security spending has been basically stagnant since the 1980s, while health care spending has increased sharply. So it isn’t “entitlements” that are crowding out investment, it’s health care. That suggests if policymakers want to reduce “entitlement” spending, they should be thinking about how to control health care cost generally.
The second problem with the Third Way paper’s approach is that it presumes that the increase in Social Security/health spending caused the drop in investment spending. But just because less is spent on one thing and more on another does not mean that one is crowding the other out. Indeed, if you break down the decline in investment spending into defense and non-defense categories, it becomes obvious that the patterns in investment spending have a lot more to do with the arc of the Cold War:
Progress Illinois (IL)
Schakowsky: Social Safety Net, Affordable Care Act Are 'Political Winners' For Dems
Progressives can get frustrated with Democrats in election years: The party sometimes runs away from signature accomplishments, such as the creation and expansion of the social safety net, in fear of being labeled tax-and-spend liberals.
But U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) bills the party’s association with Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid as “political winners” this election season.
Commonweal Magazine (NAT)
The Most Important Election Since 1932?
Having said all this, and despite my disappointments, I nonetheless consider it critically important that Obama win reelection in November, because the alternative is far, far worse. A Mitt Romney win would signal a political pivot even sharper than that effected by Ronald Reagan. It would be a turn toward less government and an even more minimal safety net—a radical attempt to return us to a pre–New Deal America, one run according to the crueler and more primitive forms of individualism. Indeed, this November may well be the most important election since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s victory over the Hooverite government minimalists. The election is crucial to the future of this country in many respects. I’d like to focus on seven key areas:
11 Social Security Mistakes People Make
The hits just keep on coming. The Internet hits for Larry Kotlikoff and his Social Security Secrets, that is. We're still getting tens of thousands a day and wave after wave of inquiries for Larry, some of which he's been gracious enough to answer here on Making Sen$e. Friday is our third installment of "Ask Larry," and appreciative as I am, I want to take issue with his next-to-last answer to "Humanistic" about the system's reason for being. Even though Larry's joking, it's ridiculous and even dangerous to suggest that Social Security was designed to drive us mad. (You might check out the question and Larry's answer before continuing to read this introduction.)
Like every other piece of complex policy in a complex, highly politicized economy, Social Security has evolved in ways that are often confusing -- bedeviling, even. Like the tax code. Like the criminal justice code. Like Dodd-Frank. Ever look at a compliance guide for the Americans with Disabilities Act?
'You've Earned a Say' Tour takes national conversation about Social Security, Medicare on the road
You've Earned a Say' hits the road today, rolling out a national tour to engage more Americans in the conversation about health and retirement security and the future of Medicare and Social Security. In its travels across the country, the 'You've Earned a Say' Tour will make stops at both major party Presidential nominating conventions, the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidate debates, AARP's Life@50+ member event, and in cities and towns nationwide.
The Advocate (LA)
Letter: We all need ACA safety net
The Medicaid expansion of the Affordable Care Act would have covered 330,000 presently uninsured Louisiana citizens. Look again at how much we spend caring for the uninsured, and then consider how much that situation would have improved had that many of our fellow citizens become able to get their health care in a cost-effective, rather than needlessly expensive and inefficient, way. Unfortunately for all of us, Gov. Bobby Jindal has decided it’s better for him politically to be seen as rejecting the ACA.
Harkin Proposes Private Retirement Plan
James Q. Lynch
Like a 401(k), he said, it will be portable – a retirement plan an individual would begin contributing to when they start their first job and continue building up to retirement.
Their contributions would be handled by pension plan administrators and invested in long-term projects such as roads, bridges, municipal bonds and, possibly, the stock market.
Two major differences between the USA Retirement Fund and a 401(k) are no employer contribution and workers could not lose money.
US & News (NAT)
Early Retirement Will Impact Your Social Security Benefit
Many people strive to retire early. But retiring early could reduce your Social Security benefits, which means you have to save even more on your own. Here’s how early retirement impacts your Social Security payments, even if you delay receiving benefits until the full retirement age of 67.
Social Security Confusion: Our Expert Dispels Some More
Larry Kotlikoff: Because the older and higher-earning spouse, person A, has already started collecting, the lower-earning spouse, person B, who is younger than full retirement age will be forced to take her retirement benefit early if she takes her spousal benefit early and vice versa.
Counter Punch (Blog)
Say Goodbye to Social Security
In a New York Times editorial (link) written in 1993 the late economist John Kenneth Galbraith made a point that seems to have been lost on subsequent generations—many in the economic elite benefit from the destitution of others. Even more to the point, activist government could put the unemployed back to work tomorrow, but at a cost to the elite. By tying economic policies long known to work to competing economic interests, Dr. Galbraith explained the current conundrum. Economies in the West aren’t working because a small economic elite benefits from this state of affairs.
The Associated Press (NAT)
Social Security swaps office for video link
Ketchikan may be losing its Social Security office, but it's gaining a video link.
The Ketchikan Daily News reports (http://is.gd/TG4aBw) that Social Security Administration Regional Commissioner Stanley Friendship says Ketchikan residents will be able to get services through a secure video link at the Ketchikan Job Center.
Wall Street Journal (NAT)
Social Security: More Ways To Time It to Your Benefit
The Family Value email inbox has been crammed with questions from readers about the "file and suspend" strategy for taking Social Security retirement benefits, which can be used to beef up the size of monthly payments later in retirement.
In its simplest form, the strategy works like this: When you reach your so-called full retirement age, you file for your benefit—and then immediately suspend it.
The Atlantic (NAT)
We Now Have Our Smallest Government in 50 Years
Since the official end of the Great Recession, America's public sector has shrunk. And shrunk. And shrunk some more. We've said goodbye to about 600,000 government jobs, handing the economy a nasty self-inflicted wound in the process.
But how small has our public sector really become? Here's one way to think about it: Compared to our population, it hasn't been this size since 1968. Your dreams are coming true Baby Boomers. We're almost all the way back to the Summer of Love!
First, credit where it's due. The Hamilton Project has produced a beautiful graph illustrating the government employment to population ratio. As it shows, there are now fewer public sector employees per American than at any time dating back to the Carter administration (To be clear, we're talking state, federal, and local here).
Conservative study shows government austerity may be hurting economy
The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative-leaning think tank, has some data out indicating that cutting government spending may be off-setting private sector growth. That's notable, especially when coming from an organization with the motto "Freedom. Opportunity. Enterprise."
Christian Science Monitor (NAT)
Jobs report has something for both Obama and Romney
With higher-than-expected job creation in July, President Obama avoided a major blow in Friday’s unemployment report. But the rise in the jobless rate to 8.3 percent, up from 8.2 percent, mitigated the positive news – and handed campaign fodder to Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
Romney: 'Harry is wrong' on taxes
Mitt Romney paid "a lot" of taxes every year, he said a news conference in Las Vegas.
Pushing back at a claim by Harry Reid that Romney paid no taxes for several years, Romney called claims about his taxes false.
GOP Has Big Hopes For Missouri Senate Race
Republicans hope to win control of the U.S. Senate from Democrats in November, and one seat they have high hopes for is in Missouri.
Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill is facing a tough re-election fight. Outside conservative groups have already been running ads against her. On Tuesday, Republicans will select their candidate for the fall.