Tag Archives: Ronald Reagan

Social Security’s enemies, in search of the politically “doable”

In Washington, it’s fashionable to bill oneself as a pragmatist, attuned to political realities and more interested in finding politically doable solutions to practical problems than fighting unwinnable wars. But there’s a double standard in what The Village defines as “realistic.”

C. Eugene Steuerle is a bona fide member of the Washington policy elite. A former deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury for tax analysis and a longtime fellow at the Urban Institute, he is considered one of the architects of the 1986 tax reform and, on the center-right, a Social Security guru. With two other think-tank researchers, Benjamin H. Harris at the Brookings Institution and Pamela J. Perun of the Aspen Institute, he recently co-authored a major paper for the Pension Research Council at The Wharton School on Social Security and retirement policy, titled “Entitlement Reform and the Future of Pensions.”

Continue reading Social Security’s enemies, in search of the politically “doable”

Book Launch for ‘The People’s Pension’ in NYC

What: Book launch event for The People’s Pension: The Struggle to Defend Social Security Since Reagan

When: Fri., April 27, 7 p.m.

Where: Bluestockings Bookstore, 172 Allen St., New York, NY 10002 (just south of East Houston St.)

The People’s Pension is out after some years of my own struggle to research it, write it,  and update what’s turned out to be a very lively moving target. I’ll introduce the book at Bluestockings along with Continue reading Book Launch for ‘The People’s Pension’ in NYC

Paul Ryan’s Hammock

How stands the Social Security discussion in Washington following State-of-the-Union night? More or less where it was before. Which, for defenders of the program is mostly not good.

President Obama honored his pledge to congressional Democrats over the previous weekend not to endorse cuts to the program. In fact, he went a bit farther, rejecting any plan that would include “slashing benefits for future generations.”

There’s more to say about that. But first, what about Paul Ryan and that Michele Bachmann? Continue reading Paul Ryan’s Hammock

The Greed of the “Bottom Half”

We’ll shortly be hearing the objections of deficit hawks to the deficit reduction package Demos, The Century Foundation, and the Economic Policy Institute. No doubt they’ll echo the criticisms that have already been leveled at the deficit-shrinkage roadmap Rep. Jan Schakowsky put on the table earlier this month. To get a sense of what those criticisms are likely to be, I recently had a close look at a Schakowsky critique by The Atlantic’s resident deficit hawk, Derek Thompson.

The first thing that makes Thompson’s November 16 piece interesting is that it actually acknowledges the existence of Schakowsky’s plan. The second thing, only slightly less extraordinary, is that Thompson makes an effort to analyze and understand the proposal. It took the New York Times nearly two weeks after Schakowsky released it to even note that it was there (and even then, didn’t provide details).

What’s most remarkable about Thompson’s analysis, however, is that he lectures Schakowsky for not squeezing poor and low-income workers hard enough. Continue reading The Greed of the “Bottom Half”

Bowles-Simpson: The Unequal Marriage of Reaganomics and Rubinomics

The Bowles-Simpson plan isn’t a fair and equitable way to reduce the long-term federal deficit, whatever its co-authors might claim. In fact, it’s the biggest proposed experiment in supply-side economics since early Reagan.

Long story short: The proposal put on the table last week by the co-chairs of the president’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is essentially a wedding of Rubinomics and Reaganomics. As such, it’s what we might get if Bill Clinton and the late Ronald Reagan were locked in a room together and required to cut the long-term budget deficit – without any regard for the impact of their handiwork on low- and middle-income people.

You’ve probably guessed which partner has the upper hand in this deal. And we’ll explore that in a moment. But first, some background.

This wasn’t an overnight meet-court-marry. The supply-siders and the deficit hawks – as the two lovebirds are also known – have been trying to join hands even since 1985, Continue reading Bowles-Simpson: The Unequal Marriage of Reaganomics and Rubinomics

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”?