Social Security News, Thursday 1-17-13

 SSW/SSSC mention


Arizona Daily Star (AZ)

Grijalva opposes any cutbacks in entitlements

Becky Pallack


Each year more than $31 billion flows into Arizona through these programs, said Eric Kingson, a Syracuse University social work professor who wrote the research report "Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid Work for Arizona." "These systems protect against the kinds of risks that can devastate a family's finances," Kingson said.


New York Times (NAT)

On the Non-equivalence of Greenhouse Gases and Entitlement Spending

Paul Krugman


Now ask, what in the debate about “entitlements” corresponds at all to this kind of impact? Nothing physical, clearly. You could argue that it would have helped to prepay some of our future costs by paying down debt and indeed having the government acquire assets while the demography was favorable – not because this would have directly increased future resources (debt is money we owe to ourselves) but because it would have reduced the need for higher taxes, and hence the distortionary effect of those taxes. And this argument was, indeed, the reason people like me wanted to protect the Social Security lockbox way back when.



The Demographic Crisis Ain't What It's Cracked Up to Be: Thomas Edsall Edition

Dean Baker


Thomas Edsall devotes his blogpost this week to Walter Russell Mead and a number of others who tell him that demographic change is going to wipe out the welfare state. The problem is that the projections don't support this story. The impact of projected future demographic change on the budget is actually fairly limited.


Forbes (NAT)

Krugman on Being Dovish: Social Security and Climate Editions

Karl Smith


To the extent we can agree that climate change is problematic largely because of the change part, makes the Social Security problem and the climate problem broadly similar.


Forbes (NAT)

Why Social Security Can't go Bankrupt: Rerun

John T. Harvey,


It is a logical impossibility for Social Security to go bankrupt. We can voluntarily choose to suspend or eliminate the program, but it could never fail because it “ran out of money.” This belief is the result of a common error: conceptualizing Social Security from the micro (individual) rather than the macro (economy-wide) perspective. It’s not a pension fund into which you put your money when you are young and from which you draw when you are old. It’s an immediate transfer from workers today to retirees today. That’s what it has always been and that’s what it has to be–there is no other possible way for it to work.


New York Times (NAT)

Hard Choices on Debt if the U.S. Hits the Ceiling



A standoff in the debt ceiling — even a brief one, with bondholders paid on time — might also raise the country’s borrowing costs permanently. “It is not assured that the Treasury would or legally could prioritize debt service over its myriad other obligations, including Social Security payments, tax rebates and payments to contractors and employees,” said Fitch, the major ratings agency, on Tuesday. “Arrears on such obligations would not constitute a default event from a sovereign rating perspective but very likely prompt a downgrade even as debt obligations continued to be met.”


Huffington Post (NAT)

Complicated Politics: Democrats and the Grand Bargain

Mike Lux


It is a well-known fact that President Obama wants a "grand bargain" with the Republicans, a deal that would reduce future deficits both by raising tax revenues and cutting spending, including on the so-called "entitlement programs." He has offered this idea up repeatedly to Speaker Boehner and other Republican leaders in the 2011 debt ceiling talks and in the 2012 fiscal cliff debate, and media reports suggest that he is discussing the idea again with Republicans in the lead-up to the next perils of a budget crisis that is only a few weeks off.


Wall Street Journal (NAT)

SWF Seeks Benefits



Because that's not how Social Security actually works. Although it is often misunderstood as an insurance plan, in reality it is a pay-as-you-go welfare program. That is to say that tomorrow's retirees depend for their benefits not on their own contributions but on tomorrow's workers. If you retire single and childless, that means you're living off the labor of other people's children. Why shouldn't you get a smaller benefit check than those who accepted the personal and financial burdens of raising those workers?


National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

Wall Street vs. Main Street – They don’t need their Social Security so why should you?


The Business Roundtable has presented the latest CEO/Wall Street attempt to convince Washington that slashing Social Security and Medicare benefits for the average American is the brave thing to do to cut our deficits. Their proposal is nothing more than a knock-off of the Bowles Simpson and the Ryan plan – two plans that have been soundly rejected by a majority of Americans in poll after poll and at the ballot box in November.


US News & World Report (NAT)

CEOs Propose Raising Retirement Age, Means-Testing Social Security



Reforming entitlements seems like an impossible task, but the nation's CEOs believe they have the answer. On Wednesday, the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs of U.S. companies, released an ambitious proposal for reforming Social Security and Medicare.


Investor Business Daily (NAT)

Obama's Social Security Games Make Case For Private Pensions


The fact that Social Security is bankrupt, that Obama and the Democrats are using it with growing frequency for political leverage, and that returns are zero to negative after workers pay 12.4% of their incomes into it — hampering their ability to save for private pensions, like 401(k)s — all call for a change. The last time there was a global pension crisis in the early 1980s, two entities — the city of Galveston, Texas, and the entire nation of Chile — broke away from the bankrupt political-football model and replaced it with private retirement accounts.


Market Watch (NAT)

What’s ahead for Social Security in 2013

Andrea Coombes


A move to chained CPI represents a small hit to benefits in the short term, but as COLAs add up over time, the effect of the benefit cut grows. Some proposals suggest that, to reduce that hit on the nation’s elderly, people who’ve received benefits for 15 or 20 years get a benefit increase if the chained CPI is adopted.





Christian Science Monitor (NAT)

Obama warns of 'disaster' if House GOP doesn't raise debt ceiling

Linda Feldmann,


Without congressional action, the federal government will reach the limit of its borrowing authority as soon as Feb. 15. If that happens, Obama warned, a host of government functions will be suspended, including the sending of Social Security payments, veterans’ benefits, and paychecks to federal workers, such as US troops, food inspectors, and air-traffic controllers. “Investors around the world will ask if the United States of America is in fact a safe bet,” Obama said, speaking in the East Room of the White House. “Markets could go haywire.”


Politico (DC)

Tough compromises are key to budget challenge



I don’t believe that anyone who cares about their country would actually go ahead with this bizarre scheme to inflict further self-imposed harm on our families and businesses. But if they do, they will have to explain to the American people why cutting Medicare, Social Security and other vital programs is so important that they would be willing to throw our government into default and our economy into recession.


Dallas News (TX)

Texas Sens. Cornyn and Cruz explore private accounts as Social Security alternative

Todd J. Gillman


Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz are spending this afternoon learning about alternatives to Social Security – a likely prelude to a push to create investment accounts for younger workers. Critics of such plans, including most Democratic officials, warn that “privatization” of the retirement safety net would push down benefits for future retirees. And they view it as too risky, because stock market volatility could leave older Americans with nest eggs too small to rely on when the time comes.


The Hill (DC)

Republicans worry they’ll lose House if they botch debt talks

Alexandra Jaffe


There’s growing angst among Republicans that the party’s House majority could be at risk in 2014 if the deep GOP divisions that emerged during the recent “fiscal cliff” negotiations persist in looming negotiations over a slew of budgetary issues.


The Republic (IN)

Gov. Brewer rallies hospitals in effort to push expansion of Medicaid



PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer is wasting no time rallying support for her effort to expand Arizona's Medicaid plan, using a news conference at Maricopa Medical Center Wednesday to show she has backing from hospitals and the business community.


4 Traders (Blog)

Chief Executives Group Pushes for Entitlement Reform


WASHINGTON--A group of chief executives proposed a series of measures Wednesday to rein in spending on Social Security and Medicare, lending the voice of some of the nation's biggest corporations to Washington's unfolding budget drama. "There's a sense of urgency around this," said Randall Stephenson, chief executive of AT&T Inc. (T) and vice chair of the association's health and retirement committee.




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