The Erskine Bowles Stock Index
Given Mr. Bowles prominence in public debates on policy issues, it seems reasonable to examine the track record from his extensive service on corporate boards. As a simple way to aggregate the performance of different company stocks, we weighted the holdings by the size of Mr. Bowles payment for his stint as a director. (We used the average annual payment for the period he served.)
By selecting a company in the chart below, it displays the start and end date and stock price for each of the companies on which he served as a director. By hovering over the company names, it also shows the average annual compensation for the years he served. (Graph requires a browser supporting HTML5, sources are available on request.)
National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare (NAT)
Social Security: Not Just My Grandparents' Program
“CHILDREN?! Did you say children receive Social Security?” Yes!
“It does this by protecting our most vulnerable citizens from falling into poverty, raising the standard of living for lower-income workers, and providing financial security to the spouses and dependent children in the event of a worker's disability or death.”
“So, it’s a pretty good deal, but, what about the program’s financing?”
Social Security has enough income and assets to pay full benefits through 2033. It’s on solid financial ground. With just a few modest changes Social Security’s solvency can be extended beyond 2033 without cutting benefits. For instance, workers pay FICA, or the payroll tax, on income up to $110,000. That’s the cap, meaning that any income over $110,000 is not subject to the tax. Lifting that cap would extend the solvency of Social Security by decades.
The Medicare News Group (NAT)
Raising the Medicare Eligibility Age Harms Minorities, Is a “Benefits Reduction,” Experts Say
J. Duncan Moore Jr.
Raising the age of Medicare eligibility from age 65 to 67 is “a raw deal” for communities of color in the United States, said an advocate of preserving social insurance plans in their current form.
Other experts claim raising the age is simply “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” They say studies show it might be cost effective for Medicare, but it will shift costs to other parts of the federal government, seniors and employers.
Huffington Post (NAT)
Fact Of The Day #38: Social Security Keeps Many Americans Afloat Above Poverty Line (INFOGRAPHIC)
One of every three Americans over 65 depends on Social Security checks to stay above the poverty line. Without these benefits, the poverty rate among seniors would soar from the current 9 percent to 45 percent. The average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker was about $1,230 at the beginning of 2012, and the official poverty line for an individual over 65 is $10,788 annually. See how senior poverty rates have changed over time in today's infographic. Then join the discussion below. Does this much dependence on Social Security surprise you?
Democratic Underground (Blog)
Help Us Expose My Opponent on Social Security
On Social Security and Medicare, the voters don’t know that Todd Long has promised to “privatize” it, turning the Social Security Trust Fund over to gamblers on Wall Street. They don’t know that Todd Long wants to increase the age of eligibility for Social Security and Medicare to 70, or 72. They don’t know that Todd Long would “freeze” Medicaid expenditures, which means that over time, more and more seniors won’t get the care that they need to stay healthy. Or alive.
Huffington Post (NAT)
Defending the Social Safety Net
The federal and state social "safety net" has helped keep these millions of new poor from outright destitution during the Great Recession and its aftermath. Since 2007, participation in the Medicaid public health insurance program has grown by 8.8 million. Participation has risen by more than 18 million in the food stamp program that helps support family food budgets. The number of low-income kids receiving free school lunches has risen by three million.
Congressional proposals to convert the Medicaid and food stamp programs to block grants to states accompanied by deep federal spending cuts would tear large holes in these critical safety net programs. More immediately, the House version of the still-pending 2012 Farm Bill would make deep cuts in the nutrition title funding the food stamp and school lunch programs. These proposed cuts would do little to balance budgets while exacting a great price from America's most vulnerable families.
Huffington Post (NAT)
Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan Campaign Launches 'Mediscare' Robocall
The campaign of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan is running a robocall accusing President Barack Obama of "changing Medicare forever," according to audio obtained by ThinkProgress.
"Some think Obamacare is the same as free health care, but nothing is free," a voice says in the recorded message. "Obama is raiding $716 billion from Medicare, changing the program forever -- taxing wheel chairs and pacemakers, raising taxes on families making less than $120,000. Free health care comes at a very high price. The Romney-Ryan plan will restore Medicare funding, and protect and strengthen the program for the next generation."
Associated Press (NAT)
Why does Social Security need 174,000 bullets?
The bullets are for Social Security's office of inspector general, which has about 295 agents who investigate Social Security fraud and other crimes, said Jonathan L. Lasher, the agency's assistant IG for external relations.
The agents carry guns and make arrests — 589 last year, Lasher said. They execute search warrants and respond to threats against Social Security offices, employees and customers.
The Atlantic (NAT)
No, The Social Security Administration Is Not Arming for a Rebellion
As they often are, the conspiracy theories swirling around the Social Security Administration's request for bids to provide 174,000 bullets were so much more interesting than the explanation. The Associated Press brought the pedestrian news on Tuesday that the agency was buying the bullets to supply its Office of Inspector General, which employs 295 law enforcement agents, "who carry guns and make arrests." The agents investigate social security fraud, carrying out search warrants and responding to threats against the administration. They arrested 589 people last year, AP reports. "Agents carry .357 caliber pistols, [IG spokesman Jonathan L.] Lasher said. The bullets, which add up to about 590 per agent, are for the upcoming fiscal year. Most will be expended on the firing range."
MSN Money (NAT)
GOP not alone in cutting costs for public pensions
California Gov. Jerry Brown and fellow Democratic state lawmakers overcame union objections and approved reforms on Friday that limit benefits, raise the retirement age, and increase the personal contributions made into the pension system by state employees. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, also a Democrat, enacted changes in March for future state retirees that are estimated to save $80 billion over the next 30 years.
San Francisco Examiner (CA)
Pension measure is small step, but a good beginning
The first step to recovery is often admitting that you have a problem. Lawmakers in California did just that last week when they approved a pension-reform measure. Pension payments and retiree health benefits are weighing down state and municipal budgets across California and have been a factor in several city bankruptcies this year. Yet despite the fact that many people have been sounding this alarm for years, lawmakers in Sacramento have not acted on the issue until now.
Bedford Patch (NH)
Raise the Retirement Age for Social Security?
At one point, the 1st District candidates were asked to give a "yes" or "no" answer to whether the retirement age to receive Social Security benefits should be raised. Shea-Porter said, "No," while Guinta said, "It should be on the table." Shea-Porter pressed Guinta for a "Yes" or "No," but Guinta repeated his response.
Democrats protect Medicare, Social Security, Scarbro says
“Those are two vastly important programs to a number of West Virginians,” said Scarbro, who serves as the executive director of the Democratic Party in the state.
“Our party will support and uphold that promise we made to citizens who paid into those programs over the years. The Republicans have been very blunt — they are going to radically change them into a voucher program. Basically, you would get a coupon for your health care. While they say they would not change the program for current seniors, I don’t think any senior citizens would want any of their children or grandchildren to lose the same program they have paid into.” For some years now, West Virginia and Florida have been jockeying for the distinction of having the oldest population, and the rankings are a moving target.
Federal Times (NAT)
Federal employment and Medicare, Social Security eligibility
Q. I will be retiring next year after 31 years from CSRS. I am not eligible for Social Security. Am I eligible for Medicare parts A and B at age 65?
A. Unless you are the spouse of someone eligible for Social Security benefits, it’s unlikely that you’d be eligible for Medicare Part A. On the other hand, you would be eligible for Part B, for which you would have to pay the premiums. To find out more about the eligibility requirements, go to http://ssa.gov and type medicare eligibility requirements in the search bar; then click on How to qualify for Medicare – Frequently Asked Questions.
Market Watch (NAT)
Making Your Retirement Assets Last
It's a retiree's nightmare: outliving the assets in a retirement portfolio.
Between historically low interest rates dragging on fixed-income yields and uncertainties about taxes, not to mention the threat of future inflation and volatile markets that send skittish investors seeking shelter, retirees who are living longer are finding it challenging to keep their portfolios up to speed.
Talking Points Memo (NAT)
Ghost Of Ted Kennedy Haunts Mitt Romney At DNC (VIDEO)
The opening night of the Democratic convention included a video tribute to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and his accomplishments — one of which was socking it to Mitt Romney. The most crowd-pleasing parts of the seven-minute video Tuesday night featured snippets of debates from the 1994 contest for U.S. Senate between Kennedy and Romney, which were notably unflattering for the now-Republican nominee for president.
New York Times (NAT)
Michelle Obama Tops Opening Night for Democrats
“Barack knows what it means when a family struggles,” she said in remarks that electrified the party faithful in the Time Warner Cable Arena and were broadcast nationally by the television networks. “He knows what it means to want something more for your kids and grandkids. Barack knows the American dream because he’s lived it, and he wants everyone in this country to have that same opportunity, no matter who we are, or where we’re from, or what we look like, or who we love.”
The New Republic (NAT)
The Difference Between Political Lies and Political Dishonesty
Paul Ryan’s speech to the Republican convention last week seems to have been some kind of watershed moment, at least for the media. Many of us watching the speech felt it was full of deceptive statements. That wasn’t a new development. But this time reporters from the big, mainstream outlets said they agreed. That was a new development. Perhaps the most vivid and important instance was a story in the New York Times, by Michael Cooper, which told readers that several Ryan statements were “incorrect, incomplete or incompatible with his own record in Congress.”
But has the media overreacted? The usual suspects in the right wing press think so. But so do Ross Douthat, the conservative columnist on the Times op-ed page, and Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of Buzzfeed. Neither are knee-jerk defenders of Romney, Ryan, and the Republicans. You should take them seriously. I certainly do.
Fairfax News (VA)
Allen Visits Seniors in Springfield
Democrats took issue with Allen’s claim.
“When he was last in the Senate George Allen voted for a plan to shift Social Security dollars to private accounts, and now he’s praising Paul Ryan’s budget that would turn Medicare into a voucher plan as ‘worthwhile,’” Delegate Charniele Herring (D-46th) said in a prepared statement. “Virginia seniors need a true champion like Tim Kaine who will look for savings in these programs, like allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, but will also commit to strengthen them for future generations.”
Dems wear 'Obamacare' proudly
Democrats gathered in Charlotte this week are fighting to reclaim the term “Obamacare” from the health reform law’s opponents — a symbol of their determination to embrace the health care law and defend it from Republican attacks.
“For us Democrats, Obamacare is a badge of honor,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday night, comparing it to the way Republicans have derided “Romneycare” as a “scarlet letter.”
Huffington Post (NAT)
DNC 2012: Obamacare Dominates Policy Discussion
Stacey Lihn, an Arizona woman, told the story of her sick children, who she said could now purchase insurance because of the Affordable Care Act. Her mention of the Supreme Court decision to affirm the law drew thunderous applause. Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) proudly embraced the term Obamacare, urging Democrats "not to run from" the moniker.
Actor Kal Penn thanked the president "for giving my friends access to affordable health insurance," and former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine and Castro applauded Obama for achieving something that seven presidents, since Teddy Roosevelt, had tried and failed to achieve. Even North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue, who isn't seeking reelection because her standing has been so battered, cheered the president for fighting "to guarantee that women have access to quality, affordable health care."
Luray Page Free Press (VA)
Schmookler takes aim at Goodlatte over ‘class warfare’
Bob Goodlatte’s campaign says Democrat Andy Schmookler is engaging in a campaign of “class warfare.”
Schmookler’s response: “This tired old accusation provides a clear view of the moral bankruptcy of the politics practiced by Bob Goodlatte and today’s Republican Party.”