Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Soc Sec XXXIV: Open Thread/Assignment Desk

Well open threads are good enough for Kos and Duncan and both Matt and Ezra have opened up Assignment Desk threads so I might as well jump on the bandwagon. I just got finished updating my index for this series at More Social Security Posts from Angry Bear and see that XXXIII was exactly a […]

Soc Sec XXXIII: Medicare Finance

I don’t claim to have studied Medicare in depth. They send me the Reports in the same envelope with the Social Security Reports and I browse through them, but that is pretty much it. So this post is more of a call for people more informed on aspects of Medicare to chip in. But I […]

Soc Sec XXXII: Means Testing as a Trojan Horse

Somehow the concept of means testing has entered the Social Security dialogue right along side that of cap increases. Don’t let people trick you into going down that path. Each seems on the surface to be a reasonable and progressive step but instead they are being dangled in front of you by people opposed to […]

Soc Sec XXXI: What is Title 1? How does it relate to worker/retiree ratio?

I suspect few people know that the original Social Security Act set up not one but two retirement systems. Title 2 set up what we recognize as Social Security today, a worker funded retirement based on an insurance model. Title 1 set up something quite different. The history can be found on the website […]

Soc Sec XXX: 2 Questions Not Asked in 2000; or 2004 Either

Lets take a trip in Mr. Wizard’s Way Back Machine all the way to the year 2000. At that point we see Social Security geek Webb jumping in excitement (being one of the few people in history to get excited over Social Security financials). What is the source of this rather odd behavior? Well it […]

Soc Sec XXIX: What does patriotism have to do with Social Security ‘crisis’

Well more than you might think. If you examine the economic and demographic assumptions that together generate the standard Intermediate Cost alternative of the Social Security Trustees you see a picture of a future America that is kind of bleak. I mean I lived through the period from 1968 to 1983 and economically it was […]

Soc Sec XXVIII: Infrastructure; or A New Direction for the Trust Funds

Even before the latest flooding, a group representing engineers said the United States needed to spend about $1 trillion more than it does now to bring infrastructure up to par with modern needs and standards. Wow. A trillion dollars is a lot of money. But as it happens we have in fact an identified revenue […]

Soc Sec XXVII: Robert Myers and Prefunding Social Security

Who is Robert Myers? Well prior to this morning I couldn’t have told you. But here is an abbreviated job history. Junior Actuary, Committee on Economic Security 1934-35Various Actuarial Positions, Social Security Board 1936-46Chief Actuary, SSA 1947-1980Member, National Commission on Social Security 1978-81Deputy Commissioner, SSA 1981-82Executive Director, National Commission on Social Security Reform 1982-83 That […]

Soc Sec XXVI: Social Security Low Cost & the 100/100 Target

I had thought the following had been published as part of this series, but in the course of comments on XXIV see that it wasn’t. Instead it was written in the month before I got privileges here. But it dovetails neatly into discussion of the newly released Issue Brief No. 5: Social Security Reform: Strategies […]

Soc Sec XXV: Advisor Jason Furman on Obama’s Plan

For those of you not in the mood for numeric wonkery Biggs also points us to Furman’s response to Larry Lindsey’s Obama Turns FDR Upside Down. In an letter included in Obama’s Proposals for Social Security Considered Furman gives us this: There is much to disagree with in Larry Lindsey’s June 20 op-ed, “Obama Turns […]