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Soc Sec XXIV: Treasury’s Social Security Issue Brief no. 5

More homework for Coberly and Arne (and any others who want to join in). Andrew Biggs alerts us to the release of the Treasury Department’s Issue Brief No. 5: Social Security Reform: Strategies for Progressive Benefit Adjustments The proposal seems quite interesting. Rather than simply readjusting the benefit schedule by some blunt change in method […]

Soc Sec XXIII: Low Cost, a Follow up on the Fairy Tale

Andrew Biggs was Deputy Commissioner of Social Security until February, previously he was a top analyst at Cato’s Project for Social Security Privatization, currently he is doing something quite similar at AEI. He has a blog called Notes on Social Security Reform which deserves more traffic, not just because Andrew is a nice guy and […]

Soc Sec XXII: What if? Low Cost as Fairy Tale

Although a lot of people are aware that ‘Low Cost is Out There’ it is difficult to impossible to find anyone who takes it seriously. Some experts simply dismiss it out of hand (Samwick), others point to the Stochastic Projections and simply deem it unlikely (Biggs), then again others reject it on grounds that run […]

Soc Sec XXI: When personal isn’t private

Just a brief shot before going out the door. In both the Obama and McCain camps there are separate but related discussion of ‘privatization’ and charges that in particular McCain is lying, or that the people who claim that Bush never supported ‘privatization’ are lunatics. But I fear that a rhetorical trap is being laid […]

Soc Sec XX: Reframing the Trust Fund

Well I want to get back to some of the basics. Much of the confusion around Social Security, and this is true as much for supporters as opponents, is a failure to understand what the Trust Fund actually is. This failure has led to such myths as ‘The Great Raids of Johnson/Reagan/etc’, the idea that […]

Soc Sec XIX: Narratology of ‘Crisis’

I have said a number of times in posts and comments here that the numbers on Social Security are all extremely important, because paradoxically little of the debate about ‘crisis’ is number driven at all. Instead I want to argue that it is fundamentally an attempt to tell a story to sell a particular set […]

Soc Sec XVIII: Social Security Advisory Board Technical Panel Report

Andrew Biggs notes that the Technical Panel of the SSAB (Social Security Advisory Board) has released its Report on Assumptions and Methods. I am only a few pages into the 82 page Report but my initial response is that this is a very important deal. These people do seem to be actual independent observers fully […]

Soc Sec XVII: Cap Increases & Donut Holes

by Bruce Webb Andrew Biggs at his site Notes on Social Security Reform spotted and copied a remarkable article from the WSJ under the title Obama’s Social Security Plan Draws Critics, Even Dems. Why remarkable? Because the people quoted actually seem to know what they are talking about, rather unusual for a MSM publication. Rather […]

Soc Sec XVI: Democracy and Reaction

Well this is even less of an economics post than XV and in thinking on this the last couple days I realized I didn’t have a firm enough grip on the historical particulars to make it as definitive as I wanted. But still the concept is important and I could use some feedback so here […]

Soc Sec XV: Why do they care?

Properly speaking this is not an economics post. So most of it is below the fold. I started a Social Security blog in Nov. 2004 in the wake of Bush’s announcement that he would expend his new political capital on Social Security ‘reform’. At that point in time I had been looking at these numbers […]