Social Security and the Deficit: Panel Discussion in Washington, Fri., Oct. 1

Economists for Peace and Security will be holding a half-day strategic policy symposium on Investment, Social Security, and Economic Recovery, Friday, October 1, from 9am to 1:30pm at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center. A panel on Social Security, Medicare and the Budget will feature Nancy Altman, Teresa Ghilarducci, Eric Laursen (yours truly), and Diane Archer (invited).

According to the press release, “The symposium will discuss economic forecasting and budget issues in the face of a new economic slowdown, the deficit hysterics and the impending report of the Simpson-Bowles commission. The discussants will take a close look at Continue reading Social Security and the Deficit: Panel Discussion in Washington, Fri., Oct. 1

Why Do We Keep Calling Tea Partiers “Anti-Government”?

Conservatives, including those of the Tea Party variety, aren’t “anti-government.” In most respects they are pro-government to the point of authoritarianism. What they really oppose is any form of cooperative or collective solution to the problems of a complex industrial (or post-industrial) society – especially when the beneficiaries are people they regard with suspicion or fear.

The Tea Party movement has done the larger conservative cause a big favor by giving it a fresh patina of sexiness. I’m not referring here to Sarah Palin, or to Rand Paul’s curly locks, but to the slightly outlaw, vaguely anarchistic, allegedly leaderless image the Tea Partiers like to project – and that the corporate media have bought into so readily. Continue reading Why Do We Keep Calling Tea Partiers “Anti-Government”?

Has Social Security (Ever) Been “Raided”?

Social Security is always being raided. And some brave person – typically an elected official or someone aspiring to be – is always vowing to stop this outrage before our retirement system is drained to the dregs. That’s just how it is in mad-as-hell America, where righteous indignation comes slickly packaged and accurately defining one’s terms is an unnecessary formality.

“Don’t raid Social Security to reduce nation’s deficit,” pleads the AARP. Meanwhile, right-wing gold bugs are warning us that a “huge pot of U.S. Social Security money” is “vulnerable to being tapped by illegal alien workers.” And over on Capitol Hill, intrepid Sen. Jim DeMint promotes a “Stop the Raid” amendment, protesting that “It’s time for politicians to stop stealing from our seniors to secretly finance trillions in wasteful Washington spending.”

The Great Social Security Raid has become the Sasquatch of American politics: Continue reading Has Social Security (Ever) Been “Raided”?

Progressive Indexing Is Ryan’s Dilemma

It’s ironic that a deficit commission empaneled by a Democratic president is – reportedly – leaning toward the same approach to restructuring Social Security that contributed to the fall of Republican ascendancy in 2005. But that’s reportedly the case, with low-income workers actually to enjoy a slight increase in benefits, demonstrating the commissioners sensitivity to the sacrifices involved.

“Progressive indexing,” as it’s known, would reduce Social Security benefits for upper-income (and a lot of middle-income) recipients – means-test them, in other words. This would begin the process of turning Social Security into a welfare program and fulfill the prophecy of Wall Street Journal free marketeer Holman Jenkins, Jr.. Back in 1998, Jenkins wrote that “Social Security and Medicare are destined to become poorhouses for those who failed to provide comfortably for themselves”: Continue reading Progressive Indexing Is Ryan’s Dilemma

Annenberg “Fact-Check” of Dems’ Blasts against GOP on Social Security Needs Correcting

Are Democratic candidates smearing their Republican adversaries as Social Security privatizers? The corporate media buys the GOP line that Democrats’ attacks are a desperation move and that privatization is so far off the table it’s not worth mentioning. Wrong!

For a president widely characterized as being “adrift” this summer, Obama stirred up quite a fuss with his August 14 radio address, in which he took Republicans to task for supporting Social Security privatization. Here’s what he said:

Continue reading Annenberg “Fact-Check” of Dems’ Blasts against GOP on Social Security Needs Correcting