Huffington Post (NAT)
How the GOP-Backed Ryan Plan Threatens Middle-Class Retirement Security
Nancy Altman, Eric Kingson and Benjamin W. Veghte
Along the lines of a proposal former President George W. Bush unsuccessfully advocated in 2005, Ryan would move toward giving all Social Security beneficiaries a basic pension set at a low level and largely unrelated to each person's prior wages. Beyond that, people would have to fend for themselves, supplementing their modest benefits from savings or paid work.
Ryan praises the idea of increasing Social Security's early and normal retirement ages to ages 64 and 69 respectively -- and he would also further lift these ages in the future based on how much longer an average American lives. This may sound fair, but there are big drawbacks.
Why you may retire in poverty
Social Security and pensions, in particular, have been the two most important factors in keeping seniors out of poverty for decades. Both provide reliable, guaranteed income sources for life. And home equity has been an important fall-back source of assets that can be tapped in retirement. That is because seniors typically have more equity built up in their homes than younger homeowners and carry less debt into retirement
Huffington Post (NAT)
Fact Of The Day #9: Social Security Benefits Not Just Going To Retirees
Thirty-six percent of Social Security recipients are not retired workers, but children, the disabled, or spouses and survivors of workers. Almost one of every six Americans receives a Social Security benefit today.
Orlando Sentinel (FL)
Dueling views of Social Security
The answer isn't straightforward; essentially, it comes down to whether you think the program's trust fund is an asset that can keep full benefits flowing until 2033, or an accounting gimmick that masks a growing gap between payroll taxes collected and benefits paid out.
Those contrary positions are set forth by today's Front Burner columnists: the president of AARP's Florida chapter, and an econmics professor who has studied the program.
Among the two polical parties, Republicans tend to push harder for shaking up Social Security than Democrats.
Orlando Sentinel (FL)
Program is in good shape, but changes are needed
The often-heard charge that the federal government has "raided" the Social Security trust funds to the brink of bankruptcy is just plain nonsense. The truth is, Social Security has had cash surpluses almost every year for the past 30 years, taking in more revenue than it needed to pay its benefits.
It's true that those surpluses have been used to meet other expenses of the federal government. But, in exchange for use of those surpluses, the federal government issued U.S. Treasury securities of equal value. These securities are the safest investment in the world. They are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. As a practical matter, the U.S. government would have to go under for Social Security to be actually "raided" of that money.
MSN Money (NAT)
Grandma's new worry: Student debt
Iowa seniors warned of proposed changes in retirement programs
It's no secret that falling behind on student loan payments can squash a borrower's hopes of building savings, buying a home or even finding work. Now, thousands of retirees are learning that defaulting on student debt can threaten something that used to be untouchable: their Social Security benefits.
WISH TV 8 (IN)
Social Security big issue in 5th district congressional race
“She's attacking Social Security and Medicare," says Reske, "there's no two ways about it." Reske also sees opportunity in the Cantor visit and he stood outside the local Social Security office to talk about it. "Social Security and Medicare have not added one penny to our national debt," he said, "yet both Cantor and Susan Brooks are determined to blame retirees and working families for our national economic problems." He claims they support dismantling Social Security and making Medicare a voucher program.
Huffington Post (NAT)
On Paul Ryan
It's a good read, but it left me thinking about what it is that troubles me most about Rep. Ryan, an earnest guy who's come a long way and influenced a lot of people at a relatively young age. The problem is his numbers don't add up. And that's a particularly big problem for a celebrated budget wonk.
It's actually not hard to write down plans that purport to quantify Ayn Randian visions. You cut deeply here and there -- always from 30,000 feet up so you don't have to get into fights about specifics -- you turn big programs over to the states (e.g., you "block grant" foods stamps and Medicaid), you privatize social insurance, you voucherize Medicare with vouchers whose costs lag prices.
Hurt Defends Votes On Medicare, Medicaid
Virginia Organizing says Medicaid and Medicare are life savers and Hurt should stop voting for bills that cut the programs. Hurt says the President and the Senate have been sticking their heads in the sand and not dealing with reforms that are necessary. Hurt was a guest on the Morning News With Rick and Jane.
Washington Post (NAT)
Study: One-third of doctors wouldn’t take new Medicaid patients last year
Decker finds a positive correlation between Medicaid reimbursement rates and how many providers accept Medicare. In Wyoming and Alaska – largely rural states that pay Medicaid providers about 50 percent more than Medicare reimburses – the vast majority of providers accept Medicaid. In New Jersey – where reimbursement is the lowest – only about 30 percent say they’ll take new patients.
Falling through cracks if states don't expand Medicaid
Derek Anderson never imagined he'd wind up on welfare. At 36, he has a college degree, a solid background in sales and three kids under the age of 7. He's also recovering from leukemia and since he lost his job and his employer-sponsored insurance, he’s been on Medicare, the federal health insurance plan for the disabled and elderly.
Anderson, who now relies on Social Security disability payments for income while he tries to get back on his feet, worries about whether he can get a job with health insurance. If he starts working, he'll lose eligibility for Social Security and Medicare -- but he and his wife, Erica, would likely be eligible for Medicaid if his home state, Montana, expands it as called for under the 2010 health reform law and offers it to low-income adults. However, their future is now unclear after the Supreme Court said states can opt out of the expansion
Huffington Post (NAT)
Obama Super PAC Waiting To Unload On Mitt Romney's Embrace Of Paul Ryan Budget
"I promise you the Ryan-Romney budget is going to be central to this discussion," Begala said. "This is not like some crackpot theory from some long dead Russian immigrant. It is now the official budget of the Republican party of the House of Representatives. This is not like just some kind of fringe deal."
Election 2012: The myth of the small donor
Kenneth P. Vogel
For more than a century, American campaign finance regulations were built around the premise that corporations, unions and rich people shouldn’t be able to use their bursting bank accounts to exert disproportionate sway on elections.
And at various points, the little people seemed to be the real power in presidential campaign finance, with Rove himself pioneering the use of direct mail and other techniques to build a massive small donor operation that helped power George W. Bush’s successful White House runs.
The Hill (DC)
Romney: Obama’s changes to welfare law ‘guts’ Clinton reforms
Mitt Romney on Tuesday launched an aggressive new messaging front against President Obama, accusing the president of "gutting" the bipartisan welfare reforms crafted by former President Clinton in the mid-1990s.
In a new television ad, the GOP presidential hopeful hammers Obama for granting new flexibility to state welfare programs, suggesting the changes will empower low-income recipients to collect government checks without working — or even looking for work — as the Clinton-era law required.
The Atlantic (NAT)
Chris Christie's Summer of Self-Promotion
The Jersey Comeback story goes something like this: Having inherited a state on the brink of bankruptcy, Christie cut state spending; held the line on taxes; fixed the state's unfunded pension liability; and took on the vested interests that have so long made Trenton a den of dysfunction. In short, tough-guy Christie took a bat to the bad guys and saved hard-working taxpayers from economic ruin.
It's a great story, made more powerful by an unpopular foil (Jon Corzine) and a deferential national press corps. It also happens to be completely untrue. Christie certainly brings an unusual disposition to the governor's office. But in every other way, he has proven just as unwilling (or unable) as his predecessors to confront the structural barriers to meaningful reform. And that is the real tragedy of his governorship. First, let's dispense with a few myths.