Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

“Octomom” and the racial double standard

Social Security’s right-wing critics like to argue that a program guaranteeing a minimal income in old age undermines the family by discouraging working people from having children—and that the resulting decline in the birthrate undermines Social Security. Yet, the right also likes to vilify people of color who have too many children. Could it be […]

Ted Cruz as Scrooge: A Commentary Fable

We’re still savoring the last echoes of the holiday season, so please enjoy this extremely apt take on Dickens’s A Christmas Carol by Susan Feiner, a professor of economics and women and gender studies at the University of Southern Maine. This is probably as good a time as any to remind ourselves of Toynbee’s dictum: […]

Teaching Social Security, With and Without Prejudice

A Young Person’s Guide to Social Security is an excellent tool for teaching students and younger workers how the system works and what’s at stake in the struggle over Social Security’s future. But big money is behind “Understanding Fiscal Responsibility,” a competing curriculum that can’t hide its deep ideological bias. The Social Security wars are […]

“The People’s Pension” Available as an Ebook

Quick note for all of you who like your reading compact and fully mobile: The People’s Pension – the book – is now available as an ebook from for $10.99. Meanwhile, don’t forget to check the People’s Pension Facebook page for news about my upcoming tour in support of the book. New York, Boston, […]

“Rebuilding the Foundation” of Social Security, Chapter 1

Contrary to the conventional wisdom, “saving” Social Security doesn’t have to just be about making more fiscally “solvent.” It can also link up with efforts to raise wages, make the program more equitable, and even to start rebuilding the U.S.’s crumbling infrastructure – without privatizing it. In fact, there are a multitude of ways to […]

Demanding the Possible from Social Security

The dead-end debate over Social Security’s solvency has long stymied any discussion of how to improve the program for its participants. Now may be the time to break that logjam. Here’s a way that progressive lawmakers can help to do so.   Hard as it is to conceive, the last time a significant improvement was […]

The Truth Behind “Managed Decline”

“Managed decline” is one of the favorite catchphrases of the American right. Briefly, it’s an accusation that Democratic politicians and the Obama administration – i.e., the “extreme left” – have decided to let the U.S. decline economically and militarily, with government “managing” that process to protect special interests like unions and public employees. This argument […]

The Tax Expenditure Debate

Now that the midterm elections are over – and I’ll have more to say about the results next week – Washington is getting back to its endless debate concerning what’s to be done about the deficit and the national debt. Tax expenditures have become a popular target, at least potentially. But there are tax expenditures […]

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 […]

Deficit Commission Member Predicts Deadlock

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a member of President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, predicts the panel will not come up with a unified pan to cut the deficit – and slash Social Security. Schakowsky, appointed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is one of the small number of reliable pro-Social Security voices in the commission. […]