The fact that no one's spending much time discussing Social Security reform in the current presidential election is not necessarily a bad thing; campaigns can be terrible places to have serious discussions. Nevertheless, a few candidates and their advisers have put out vague plans: Senator Bernie Sanders has embraced raising taxes to fund the system's shortfall, either by removing the cap on payroll taxes or by imposing a higher payroll tax rate. The Republican ideas put forth thus far are either politically unworkable or don't come close to actually coping with the extent of the shortfall.Read more
It can be hard to say anything nice about a man whose administration would malevolently inflict a traffic jam on residents of the Tristate area, but Governor Chris Christie’s recent proposal aimed at fixing the country’s broken Social Security system may make him deserving of forgiveness.Read more
The Mary Landrieu campaign is out with a new hit against the Louisiana Democrat's Republican opponent, Congressman Bill Cassidy. The 30-second ad focuses on Cassidy's support for policies that supposedly hurt senior citizens. Watch the video below:
"It was Congressman Bill Cassidy who voted to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70, cut Social Security benefits for retirees, and raise Medicare costs by $6,000," says the voiceover.Read more
Senator Mark Pryor is making entitlements an issue in the Arkansas Senate race. Both Pryor and his Democratic allies are hitting Republican nominee and House member Tom Cotton over his support for a budget proposal that would have, starting in 2022, gradually raised the retirement age for receiving Social Security and Medicare benefits.Read more
Timothy Geithner, the former secretary of the Treasury Department, says the White House wanted him to lie in scheduled appearances on the Sunday TV talk shows. As Geithner writes in his new memoir:Read more
Robert Samuelson's fine column in the Washington Post, “America the retirement home,” argues that “The budget debate’s central reality is that federal retirement programs, led by Social Security and Medicare, are crowding out most other government spending,” and that this is endangering the other important functions of government, including defense:Read more
First Lady Michelle Obama's social security number and credit report have been leaked online, the Associated Press reports.
"First lady Michelle Obama is the latest public figure to have her Social Security number and credit report leaked online by a website posting private data on celebrities and government officials," reports the AP.Read more
Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan knocked President Barack Obama for "shadowbox[ing] a straw man" in his inaugural address. Speaking Tuesday morning on the Laura Ingraham Radio Show to guest host Raymond Arroyo, Ryan responded to Obama's statement that Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security "do not make us a nation of takers, they free us to take the risks that make this country great."
Ryan called Obama's insinuation that he and other reform-minded Republicans consider recipients of these benefits "takers" a "switcheroo."Read more
In 2008, Barack Obama promised to cut federal spending, cut wasteful programs, reform Medicare and Social Security, and create "5 million new jobs" in a "new energy economy." At Buzzfeed, Andrew Kaczynski has four videos of Obama making those promises at the town hall debate in 2008. Here, for instance, is Obama talking about the need to reform entitlements in his first term:Read more
During a campaign event Wednesday night at Miami University of Ohio, vice presidential candidate and Miami U. alumnus Paul Ryan reminisced about the fond memories of his alma mater. "I spent a lot of formative years here," Ryan said. "I like my Skyline 5-way [chili], turkey gobblers, cheese fries, stickers.” He mentioned the time he got hurt at the local ice rink. “That’s why I have a cleft chin—14 stiches playing hockey here."
A new chart set to be released by the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee details an alarming fact: In the last three months, more Americans have joined disability than have found a job:
As the chart shows, between April-June 2012, an estimated 246,000 Americans were added to Social Security's disability insurance program. In that same time period, only 225,000 American jobs were created.Read more
One day before the Indiana primary, Dick Lugar has released a new ad accusing his opponent, Richard Mourdock, of wanting to "cut every single senior's Social Security." (Update: The ad was apparently released late last week.) The ad portrays an elderly woman talking about Mourdock's Social Security plan. "He's going to ruin people. Some can't get along without Social Security, every penny of it," the woman says. "Heaven help us, because Mourdock won't."Read more
The 2012 Medicare and Social Security trustees’ reports have been released (see here and here). The headline is that the Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) trust fund will have insufficient reserves to pay full benefits beginning in 2024 (the same year that was projected in last year’s report).Read more
Robert Samuelson has a strong column today on how one of the biggest obstacles to Social Security reform might be psychological. Though FDR's original vision for the program was a "contributory pension plan" and most Americans are still under the the impression that this is what it is, the reality is that it's structured much more like a welfare program:Read more
Is it just a coincidence that the people that President Obama nominates to fill high-level governmental posts tend to favor government-directed health care rationing? Last year, Obama nominated Donald Berwick to head Medicare and Medicaid. Now he’s nominated Henry J. Aaron to head the Social Security Advisory Board.Read more
“What do we want?” “Jobs!” “When do we want them?” “Now!”
The couple hundred participants at Wednesday’s Rebuild the Dream rally on the southwest lawn of the U.S. Capitol raise their fists defiantly as they shout. Some hold blue, pre-made signs bearing the phrase, “Jobs, Not Cuts,” and the letter “A,” the logo for Rebuild the Dream, the organization led by former Obama administration green jobs czar Van Jones.Read more
Rick Perry has been catching some flak for calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme. Some conservative purists defended the former frontrunner for “telling it like it is.” Maybe. But Perry’s 10th Amendment solution — which he slightly backed away from at the Fox/Google debate — could be even more disastrous.Read more
Although Indiana governor Mitch Daniels would like to see his New Jersey counterpart run for president, Daniels said today that he doesn't see any signs Chris Christie will change his mind. “I personally didn’t press him, so I have nothing to report,” Daniels said of his meeting last Thursday with Christie. “I saw no evidence that he’s going to change his mind.”Read more
Talk radio host Laura Ingraham pressed Congressman Paul Ryan in an interview Tuesday on whether he agreed with Texas governor Rick Perry's claim that Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme." Contrary to some reports, Ryan didn't directly say that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, but he noted that some aspects of a pay-as-you-go program work like such a scheme.Read more
If a debate more than four months before the first vote is cast can influence the outcome of a presidential nomination race, the debate last night among eight Republicans should aid Mitt Romney’s candidacy. Seldom has there been as clear a winner.Read more
Rick Perry's doubling down on his "Social Security is a Ponzi scheme" rhetoric during last night's debate could be beneficial for him in a Republican primary but hurtful in a general election. And while the Mitt Romney campaign was quick to pounce on the statement with its not-so-subtle "PERRY DOES NOT BELIEVE SOCIAL SECURITY SHOULD EXIST" press release, Perry seems to be sticking by the characterization. "Maybe it's time to have some provocative language in this country," he said in the debate.Read more
There is a certain irony, as well as much truth, in Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s drumbeat of warnings about the consequences of further cuts to U.S. military budgets of the sort threatened under the current deficit reduction law.Read more
CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley asked President Obama whether he “can tell the folks at home that, no matter what happens, the Social Security checks are gonna go out on August the 3rd?” President Obama replied that it wasn’t just Social Security checks that would need to go out and that “I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue, because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it.”Read more
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