Social Security Issues
- Archives 2005 -
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Pension Issues , Trade Unions and Pension Issues
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Selling Us Short: How Social Security Privatization will Affect Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Americans (2005)
In general, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) people earn less money than their heterosexual counterparts, and have fewer savings. Many do not have children to support them in old age, and find it more difficult to find sources of income when they retire. These facts imply that with less financial security in their retirement years they will more likely be dependent on public welfare and social services. With the President's plan to privatize the Social Security system and its mandatory benefit cuts to all workers, LGBT elderly will face an even higher risk of being economically vulnerable.
The Best and Worst in Social Security 2005 (December 28, 2005)
The year 2005 turned out to be terrific for US Social Security. With strong public support of the nation's most successful program, the Administration had to abandon for the moment its efforts to privatize the system. Polls showed that as the US public learned more about the impact of privatization, the less they liked it. But the Administration will likely try again later to introduce privatization, but calling it something else.
Long Is the Best Revenge (December 12, 2005)
As many retirees continue to live longer, a growing question is how to make
our money last longer. This Forbes article provides information on how to
convert your traditional 401k or Roth IRA into an annuity, one that will
last a life time. This article details the advantages of an immediate
annuity plan as opposed to a build-up annuity plan, the main advantage being
that the immediate annuity lasts as long as you live. For new retirees this
article is a must read. Its
analysis and discussion of an annuity's use for retirement security is a
concise view into the confusing finances of retirement.
vote unlikely in House in '05 (December 7, 2005)
The US House of Representatives has not taken action on pension legislation
that many politicians already support.
It's unlikely that there will be a vote yet this year. The catalyst
for reform occurred this fall when several large airlines filed for
bankruptcy and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the federal
insurer, released its annual report detailing its extensive debt. In November
the US Senate adopted legislation to curb the debt and require major
corporations--like those that went into bankruptcy--to protect their plans
better. Business and labor
leaders want action now rather than later.
Security Plays Key Part in Retirement (November 30, 2005)
An important question for future retirees is when they should begin to draw
from Social Security because once you decide there is no going back. The
jury is out on when the best time to collect is and it all depends on a
variety of factors from when you where born to your other income. This
article provides a useful guide to interpreting when the best time to begin
collecting Social Security benefits is for you.
Surveys The Effects Of Eroding Benefits For Elderly (November 14, 2005)
Alaska's older population is more heavily reliant on Social Security
benefits than any other source of income. Despite projections that suggest
Alaska's senior population is set to triple over the next several decades,
the State continues to cut benefits offered to seniors. As a result, Alaskan
seniors struggle to get by on limited resources. A study released by the
Alaska Department of Aging says 21% of older persons in Alaska cannot afford
to meet their basic living expenses for items such as food, medicine and
rent. How long will Alaska's seniors be left in the cold?
Sources of Income for Older Persons in 2003 (November 2005)
An AARP study reinforces the importance of Social Security to American seniors' standard of living. Low-income seniors rely most heavily on Social Security as their primary source of income. Middle-income individuals also count on their Social Security check to get by, but also have access to additional pension and savings to augment their financial resources. Those in the highest income brackets are more likely to use earnings in retirement rather than savings or Social Security.
"How Much Are Workers
Saving?" (October, 2005)
As the baby boomer generation continues to plan for retirement, they should
not count on pension plans and Social Security checks for base their financial
security. Though Social Security will be solvent through their
retirement, if some reform plans are put into law that could change quickly.
This policy paper by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College
illustrates how common forms of investment and pension plans are not as
stable as once believed. The paper also details how personal savings are
becoming more important in an age of financial insecurity. The paper argues
that retirement security's future is in the realm of personal savings and
not in pensions and entitlement programs. An
analysis of the National Products Income Accounts (NIPA) and other savings
data within the paper give historical perspective to the retirement savings
Social Security Reform on
Hold (October 26, 2005)
With the plan to legislate changes to the Social Security system has been set aside for the moment, the Latino community is left feeling distressed. While most Americans know that the Social Security system is not in direct danger of defaulting on its obligations, the Latino community has a special worry. They rely on Social Security as their major source of income after retirement; almost three quarters of the Latino community rely on it solely. While the Latino community does not have a unified voice about the plans for reform, they do have interesting arguments about plans involving private accounts. Legislators and policy makers should consider that if they fail at their job almost half of all elderly Latino's would end up below the poverty line.
AARP Head Discusses Social Security (October 20, 2005)
In a recent speech in Pennsylvania Marie Smith, the President of the American Association for Retired Persons, continued her harsh criticism of the current Social Security reform plans. Ms. Smith noted that current plans on the table are both incomplete and short sighted in their goals. Ms. Smith, a former Social Security Administration employee, spoke about the vital need to establish a sustainable and just policy for reforming Social Security.
How a Victorious Bush Fumbled Plan to Revamp Social Security (October 20, 2005)
With so much political capital President Bush's campaign to reform Social Security seemed sure to succeed. As this article outlines he ran into more problems than he anticipated. All the supporters that the administration thought it had turned against private account proposals and actively fought them. Not only did the Democrats mount a rare united campaign but the President's own party was split on the issue as well. This article reveals how President Bush's campaign to reform Social Security fell apart at each stage.
Social Security Benefits to Battle Energy Costs (October 19,2005)
The yearly Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA's), were driven up to 4.1 % by the rising energy costs. This 4.1 % adjustment will help millions of recipients offset the costs of heating their homes this winter, but still many will be left with hard choices to make. The increase premiums in Medicare Part B of around $10.30 will cause many elderly to make tough choices with little income.
Who Will Bail Out The Bailer? (October 18, 2005)
With the airline industries pension plans crumbling and other large corporations defaulting on their pension obligations, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation is being saddled with more and more responsibility. The PBGC, a insurance fund set up by Congress and paid for by premiums from corporate pension plans, is already insolvent and almost $23 billion in debt. Douglas Elliott, president of the Center on Federal Financial Institutions, says, "People are worried that this is the next S&L crisis," he says, referring to the rescue of the collapsed thrift industry in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
US Senators OK Plan Doubling Pension Premiums (October 18, 2005)
With the Airline industry balking at pension reform in the House, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee proposed a plan to make airlines more accountable for their pensions. The plan proposed by Sen. Mike Enzi (R, WY), would require airline companies to pay $46.75 per participant for a traditional pension plan that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, (PBGC), underwrites. Sen. Enzi is proposing this legislation because of the previous irresponsibility that the airline industry showed in guarantying their employee's pensions. The bill also aims to keep the PBGC from defaulting on its current obligations as its debt continues to rise.
Social Security Increase May Not Be Enough for Some (October 15, 2005)
This Dallas Morning News article about the Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA's) increases in Social Security checks that has just been announced, addresses the inability of the Social Security Administration to keep pace with inflation. This year's increase is 4.1 %, the biggest increase since 1991 but many beneficiaries and analysts are still skeptical. The average increase will be around forty dollars and most analysts agree that this won't help retirees with skyrocketing health care costs. As the 'Greatest Generation' continues to rely on the social safety net provided to them, the government should do its part in increasing the COLA's to provide for their increasing needs.
Consumer Prices Rise Sharply Increase Triggers Jump in Social Security, Other Federal Benefits (October 14, 2005)
Social Security recipients can look forward to a significant increase in benefit payments to keep up with skyrocketing inflation and cost of living increases. In January, Social Security payments will increase by 4.1%, giving an average retired couple $1,648 per month in benefits, up from $1,538 in 2005. Government retirees can also expect a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) of 4.1%. Federal Employees Retirement System beneficiaries over 62 will receive an increase of 3.1%. For seniors on Social Security and Medicare, the increase will almost disappear due to increased Medicare premiums that are deducted from Social Security payments.
Bush Switching Priority from Social Security to Taxes (October 5, 2005)
As President Bush's second term marches on, his list of accomplishments seems to be diminishing. Privatizing Social Security, Pres. Bush's top priority, seems to be officially off the table due to widespread public opposition. Bush said that the US public had a, "diminished appetite" for Social Security change. In lieu of addressing this issue, Bush is moving on to reforming the tax code, a seemingly less controversial issue. But instead of reviewing and reforming the tax code with bi-partisan support, it seems to be a one-sided move on the part of the Bush administration.
SSI, Labor Supply, and Migration (October 2005)
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is available to disabled and older Americans who meet certain income and asset criteria. While the federal government has set limits on SSI, states have the option to supplement payments to residents who meet eligibility requirements. A recent academic study concludes that older men who are nearing the age threshold to receive SSI tend to exit the workforce to reduce their income, and hence, be able to claim SSI sooner. The report does not cite any evidence of significant migration to states that offer higher SSI payments. Are some seniors manipulating the system to gain more benefits for themselves? If so, are resources diluted for those who truly need SSI?
Value of Unpaid Activities by Older Americans Tops $160 Billion per Year (September 2005)
All too often, the public views older people as a “burden” with little to contribute to society. However, this report reveals that older adults continue to make valuable contributions to society with their unpaid work long after they retire. Some take care of frail family members or grandchildren, some help friends and neighbors in need, and some work at a church or a voluntary organization. Although it is impossible to precisely measure the value of each contributed hour, the report estimates the value of unpaid activities at $2,698 per older adult. The report claims that the debate on Social Security reform needs to reflect these unpaid contributions rather than only focusing on the cost of aging population. Need we note that Social Security represents deferred wages that the elderly earned during their working years?
CBO Report and Accompanying Outside Analysis
(September 21, 2005)
Recent news reports have vaguely alluded to a new Social Security Reform plan put forward by Senator Jim DeMint and Representative Jim
McCrery. In brief, this plan would use the Social Security Trust Fund surplus to fund private security accounts or in the language of the bill, Growing Real Ownership for Workers, or GROW accounts. These government funded GROW accounts would each receive an equal share of the surplus. A recent Congressional Budget Office study details numerous faults within the bill and the impact on those persons who desperately need the full benefit. Jason Furman of the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities discovered that under the GROW Act the public debt would equal almost 33 % of the GDP. This discovery and others in the Furman article illustrate why the DeMint-McCrery plan is a flawed policy.
GOP Leaders Asked to Stall Social Security Bill
(September 16, 2005)
Rep. Tom Reynolds, (R-NY), recently addressing the GOP House Congressional
Campaign Committee, argued that Social Security Reform legislation should not
be a priority for the GOP party in the coming congressional term. GOP Members
distanced themselves from his comments. But
many acknowledge that Social Security is no longer a priority issue in this
term. Most GOP legislators believe that the Party must focus on Hurricane
relief and gas inflation legislation and forget about their ideas to
privatize Social Security.
Katrina and Social Security: A Better Model for Disaster Relief (September
As Hurricane Katrina passed over the city of New Orleans's last week,
emergency response agencies went into overdrive. As the failures of local,
state, and federal authorities mounted through the week many people
worried about their economic safety in the face of this epic disaster. The
Social Security Administration came quickly to
the rescue of these
displaced citizens, providing checks on time and in full to people who
received benefits before the hurricane. Not only does the Social Security
Administration fulfilling its previous obligations but it is getting
benefits to those newly qualified citizens. While most federal agencies
faltered in the face of this disaster, the Social Security Administration
took the lead in helping the displaced and meets its obligations.
"DeMint to Revisit Social Security" (September 12, 2005)
As Congress returns to work this fall, it will focus on the after effects of the recent Hurricane Katrina. US Senator Jim DeMint, R-SC, is still pushing for Social Security changes. His plan would use the current Social Security surplus to create private security accounts for millions of Americans. While this initiative draws support from Congressional Republicans, the Congressional Democrats realize that any privatization of the Social Security System will weaken this country's social safety net.
The Ownership Society, Social Security Is Only the Beginning (2005)
President Bush has tried to focus his domestic agenda on what he calls the "ownership society," a vision of an America in which more citizens would hold significant assets and be free to make their own choices about providing for their health care and retirement, and educating their children. In this new public policy brief, Professor L. Randall Wray evaluates the premises and logic of this program and concludes that this vision comes up very short of serving most citizens' needs, particularly those who are old or will be old.
at 70 (August 24, 2005)
Most people do not want to work longer than they have to. Nevertheless,
columnist Robert J. Samuelson of the Washington Post argues that people
will have to work longer in future years because people are living longer.
He reasons that small increases in the eligibility age for Social Security
and Medicare over the next 25 years will help support seniors in
retirement. Read on for more on Samuelson's arguments
of Americans Get By on Social Security Alone (August 16, 2005)
10.6 million people, or 22 percent of people who
receive Social Security checks, live entirely on Social Security. The average
annual Social Security payment is only 11,460 dollars, thus it's not
easy living on Social Security alone.
Sadly, most of those that do, are single women and minorities. It
takes planning, budgeting, and penny pinching to survive solely on Social
Security. Living with relatives makes it much easier, but for those living
on their own, there are food expenses, medical care, mortgages and rent to
worry about. Luckily, there are state and federal sponsored programs
available to help in addition to private charities. Although sorting
through the complicated web of sponsored programs for retirees can be
confusing and disheartening, there are social workers available to help
figure it all out.
Social Security Lessons (August
Social Security is now 70 years old, and the debate over private
accounts has waned. NY Times columnist Paul Krugman argues that President
Bush's plan for Social Security privatization is a ruse, not to save
Social Security, but to dissolve it altogether. He also maintains that the
Bush plan would effectively change Social Security from a social insurance
program to a stock market mutual fund. In this opinion-editorial piece,
Krugman challenges Democrats to take advantage of the opportunity rising
from Bush's failed attempts at privatization to have their voices heard.
Social Security Vital in Rural Communities (August 10, 2005)
Wisconsin's rural communities will be affected more harshly than urban communities by privatization of Social Security, a new study by the Institute for America's Future shows. The study found that rural communities in Wisconsin depend on income from Social Security 36 percent more than non-rural communities. For a typical Wisconsin worker, the president's proposal would result in a lifetime benefit reduction of over $162,058, even after average gains to a private account are considered.
Benefits of Direct Deposit (July 31, 2005)
The government is conducting a campaign called, Go Direct, encouraging
those who receive Social Security and other benefits to sign up to
receive their benefits via direct deposit. The government currently spends
around 100 million dollars on mailing and processing costs associated with
Social Security and Supplemental Security Income. With the great number of
baby boomers soon to retire, postal costs will skyrocket. Direct deposit is
the electronic transfer of money directly into one's bank account. Such a
system would save the government money, which would go back in Social
Security, while recipients get a greater sense of security knowing that
their money is directly in their account and not at risk of theft through
the mail. Read more for information on how you can sign up for direct
Social Security Battle Pits Bush Against Democrats, Own Party (July 27,
President Bush is determined to change Social Security with private
accounts in addition to cutting future benefits in his plans to make Social
Security solvent in 2041. Contrarily, Bush doesn't have the support he needs from
the House, Senate or the US
public in order to implement these private accounts. Because the US
public rejects private accounts right now, Republicans who are
worried about upcoming elections are also not supporting private accounts.
Democrats are strongly against privatization and are pushing, instead, for
extended 401(k) packages with a $1000 match from payroll taxes. Neither idea
is good for Social Security!
Social Security Dept. Streamlines Disability Procedures (July 26, 2005)
The Social Security Administration has rolled out new guidelines and
procedures to make applying for disability benefits faster and easier. If
disability is clearly detectable, there are new rules in place to get
benefits faster. If there is a dispute over a denied claim, the appeal will
be heard by a federal agency and not the same state agency that turned it
down the first time. It's still a cumbersome and long process. However,
slowly but surely, the changes are making it easier for the disabled to
collect disability benefits quickly.
Two Steps Back: African Americans and Latinos will Lose Ground Under Social Security "Reform" (July 14, 2005)
Privatization of Social Security has real and serious implications for African Americans and Latinos. Without the defined benefits of traditional Social Security, many African Americans and Latinos will be left with insufficient funds in retirement. Hence, the reason why Social Security is so crucial for minorities: it compensates for low lifetime wages and allows African Americans and Latinos to retire with grace and dignity. Politicians need to take into account that numerous minorities work for employers without private pension plans and that they make much less than their white counterparts. Therefore, Social Security reform should consider its effect on lower income earners, not just those with power and money.
in Social Security Eligibility (July 9, 2005)
Based on a report by Elise Gould at the
Economic Policy Institute, raising the Social Security eligibility age would
not benefit aging Americans. Many older people have no choice but to be
unemployed. Some are disabled, have a variety of health issues, or are
victims of downsizing. Gould insists that if the government wants the people
to work longer, there have to be jobs available where they can work and make
a living. However, the age for full Social Security benefits for those born
after 1959 is already 67. How much higher can it go? Sadly, those who depend
on Social Security would be at a disadvantage and forced to find jobs in a
very inhospitable environment-if they are lucky!
Social Security? (July 9, 2005)
Although the Republican scheme for Social Security might sound
like a good deal, private accounts have many shortfalls. With private
accounts, citizens would have no choice of what to invest in for the first
few years. They would be obligated to invest in Treasury securities.
Furthermore, there are no guarantees when people put their money in private
accounts. If the market goes down, they lose money. Many people do not
understand that private accounts will not, by themselves, fix the problems
with Social Security. And
transitional costs mount up. Administrators
will have to pay out Social Security for the current retirees but not take
in sufficient monies from today's workers since they will have put their
money in private accounts. It
Bill Clinton Poses
Social Security Remedy (July 1, 2005)
Former President Bill Clinton declares that if
the US simply legalized 250,000 more immigrants each year, the Social
Security future shortfall would be cut in half. With more younger people in
states, Social Security would draw more revenue with which to support the
baby boomer population. Although
did not directly criticize Bush's agenda on immigration and social
security, his divergent and outspoken views spoke volumes to the crowd at
the League of United Latin American Citizens.
Approval of President's
Social Security Effort Dips (June 29, 2005)
Support for President Bush's Social Security plan has declined to its
lowest ratings yet since the beginning of the year. According to the latest
USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll, Americans' disapproval rate over Bush's
Social Security plan has reached over 60%. Despite this, President Bush is
still trying to push for his brand of Social Security that would put Social
Security taxes into stocks and bonds while benefits for higher income
workers are pulled back.
Hispanics and Social Security (June 28, 2005)
How would Hispanics fare under the Republican's plan for Social Security privatization? Two new reports by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities argue that Social Security privatization would negatively affect the Hispanic population. Many Hispanics seniors have little to no savings themselves and rely heavily upon Social Security payments to keep them out of poverty. Without Social Security, countless aging Hispanics would live in poverty. Eligibility for these benefits rests on the poor wages, low savings and exposure to disabilities that many Hispanics face in the US work force.
Privatized Social Security - Take 2 (June 27, 2005)
Republicans in the Senate are determined to privatize Social Security through any means necessary. Since most Americans are against privatization, including Democrats with considerable veto power, the Republicans have now decided to introduce the Social Security privatization plan with a different spin to it. Influential Republicans are proposing a bill, called "Stop the Raid on Social Security," that would to take the current Social Security surplus and put it into private accounts. This sounds like a good idea except the surplus is supposed to be used at the time when there are too few workers in the work force to support the number of retired persons. If the private accounts go sour, there will be a lower cash payout for retirees. Do you want to risk your Social Security?
Recent Report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Retirement Security Project (June 27, 2005)
The primary reason that low-wage earners do not save enough for retirement is because social assistance programs may not allow such savings. According to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Retirement Security Project, government benefit programs such as Food Stamps, TANF, Medicaid, etc., only allow asset ownership of up to $2,000- $3,000 to qualify eligibility. The choice between benefits and cash now or retirement later often forces low income workers to forego saving for retirement.
Caught Between Pension Plans, Some Retirees See Less Social Security (June 26, 2005)
In January, Nelson, 65, of Olathe, Kansas, discovered that because of a quirk in the nation's pension laws, his career change is costing him about 40 percent of the Social Security benefits he's earned in his lifetime. Al Nelson served in the United States military as a soldier for 20 years. Then, for 25 years after that, he delivered mail to neighborhoods. Nelson is one of perhaps 700,000 people who face the same situation when they retire. The Social Security Administration estimates that about 159 million of the nation's jobs, or 96 percent of the total, are covered by Social Security. The remaining jobs are predominantly teachers, firefighters, police officers and other government workers whose employers opted out of Social Security coverage. The retirees feel that they are being unfairly deprived of their earned benefits.
Social Security Group Targets House Panel
Foes of Bush Plan See Chance to Kill It (June 21, 2005)
Until now, Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas appeared to have more than enough votes to draft broad retirement security legislation that would include some elements of the Bush plan. But Americans United to Protect Social Security, a coalition of labor and liberal groups, identified the committee as an opportunity to kill Bush's approach. Some Senate Republicans outside the committee will push this week for a temporary solution that would dedicate all surplus Social Security taxes to voluntary personal accounts. Blocking off the Social Security surplus would amplify the federal deficit and force hundreds of billions of dollars in new borrowing. GOP leadership aides said that the idea has little support on the Finance Committee.
Social Security Reform: A Way to Manipulate the Market (June 20, 2005)
A big potential danger lies in the White House's plan to create a private investment option as part of Social Security: It would create opportunities for the government to interfere with the markets. Social Security funds are obviously a big prize for financial firms because of their importance and size. The main goal of "traditional Social Security" wasn't to play with it in the markets. Let's remember that FDR created Social Security to "give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against ... poverty-ridden old age."
Republicans Revisit Social Security Strategy (June 17, 2005)
Congress's Republican leaders, convinced they'll have soon to cope with defeat on overhauling Social Security, are scrambling for an alternative approach to President Bush's top domestic priority that would allow him -- and them -- to seize some measure of victory. A new problem for
Bush requires him to deal with a plan created by his own supporters-and would increase the predicted shortfall.
The plan would invest Social Security Trust Fund monies in the stock market,
and then the US government could not borrow from the Trust Fund to support its excessive military and other budget costs. Hmmm.
Hispanics Divided on Retirement Changes (June 17, 2005)
A report by the National Council of La Raza -- a Washington-based Hispanic advocacy group, shows how Social Security is important to Hispanics. Often having larger families, most rely on Social Security to stay out of poverty. Few Hispanics had a chance to acquire savings. That's why they feel so uncomfortable with the Bush's "ownership society." "You have to teach people how to save. It's very important you don't leave that out or they will throw away their money," said Simonini, an older Hispanic.
"Protecting and Strengthening Social Security" (June 16, 2005)
Dr. Dean Baker, Economist and Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, gave testimony before Congress earlier this summer on four key problems associated with privatization of the US Social Security program. Dr. Baker examined the results of other First World countries that have partially or fully transitioned to private security accounts. He identifies these key issues as increased risk for workers, increased administrative costs, unpopularity among workers and high transitional costs. Dr. Baker's testimony clearly indicates that a switch to private security accounts is a very risky proposition.
Senate Republicans Deny Social Security Plan Dead (June 16, 2005)
Even if Republicans don't want to give up their Social Security plan, it is now clear that it will be very difficult to move forward. According to Democrats, the plan is dead and it's now urgent to find "a bipartisan consensus," said Sen. Edward Kennedy. Several traditional industries, such as the airlines, need a solution very quickly. The United Airlines bankruptcy shows what happens to employer-based pensions when the company fails to fund its pensions properly. Handing
private pension obligations over to the tax paying public is sure to wear thin as more bankrupt corporations knock on the Pension Guarantee Benefit Corporation's door.
Exit Strategy on Social Security Is Sought (June 16, 2005)
With the Senate Finance Committee at an impasse on Social Security and House leaders anxious about moving forward, Republican congressional leaders have told the White House in recent days that it is time to look for an escape route.
Higher Retirement Age Among Social Security Options (June 16, 2005)
Work till you're 69 before getting full Social Security benefits? That's one possibility -- for Americans who will retire two decades or more into the future -- as Republicans on a key Senate committee review suggestions for compensating for the failure of their scheme.
Bush Social Security Plan Dead, Democrats Say (June 15, 2005)
Democrats say President George W. Bush's plan to restructure Social Security is dead but vow to keep attacking it until he publicly drops the individual investment account idea.
Life at the Bottom of the Sea (June 14, 2005)
Here is a new idea in the Social Security debate: now, substantial discussion focuses on changing the rules in favor of a later retirement age. In some ways, it could appear as a good idea. But then if we take a look to studies such as the one presented at a symposium sponsored by the National Academy of Social Insurance, we can see that a lot of workers don't have the choice and have to retire early because of health problems. Others, retire in order to survive because they couldn't find a new job or had to take low-paid or part-time work. At 62 years old, Social Security becomes the only income solution. So those people would bear the pain if the age of retirement is increased. And according to the studies, it's again women and minorities who are going to be the first victims. Already, about 25 percent of unmarried women who retire early live in poverty.
Security Is Missing from the Social Security Debate (June 13, 2005)
Read here about an overlooked issue in the current Social Security debate---What are the clear social objectives "that should guide policy prescriptions?" True social
protection helps workers overcome the hazards of the workplace-low and interrupted wages, layoffs, and physical injury on the job. If this bedrock is in place, then workers can engage in asset building-house payments, savings accounts, and so forth. But lacking this protection, it's a struggle to
put a roof over one's head or food on the table. Surely the richest country in the world
and afford social protection.
In Overhaul of Social Security, Age Is the Elephant in the Room (June 12, 2005)
A major discussion around the Social Security issue is the retirement age. Americans turning 65 this year can expect to live, on average, until they are 83, which is four and a half years longer than the typical 65-year-old could expect in 1940. Government actuaries predict that American life spans will just keep growing. Policy experts have told Congress in recent weeks that any effort to improve Social Security's long-term finances, should somehow deal with this jump in life expectancy: by adjusting benefits, raising the retirement age, increasing taxes or creating new incentives to work longer. Out of all the options to shore up Social Security's finances raising the retirement age ranks as one of the most unpopular, says a New York Times/CBS News Poll. There is one thing that policy experts should take in consideration: the group of people who are just not physically or mentally able to continue working.
Bush's Road Tour Rolls On in Push to Sell Social Security Changes (June 3, 2005)
When Bush announced his plan to overhaul Social Security, he had to face much opposition. So he decided to begin a 60-cities-in-60-days tour to talk about how privatization would be a great thing for Americans. But still, no success for his project. So now he wants to continue to explain the same things, again and again, every week.Bush does not understand yet that the more he tries to convince people, the more they worry about his plan .
Dean Accuses Bush of Not Protecting Pensions (June 3, 2005)
Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean criticized President Bush and the Republican Party yesterday, accusing the president of failing to protect private pensions in the United States and the GOP of embracing a "dark, difficult and dishonest vision" for the country.
Social Security Price Indexing Proposal Means Benefit Cuts for Workers (June 1, 2005)
The cost of price indexing for current workers has been missing from the debate on Social Security. These new estimates done by William E. Spriggs and David Ratner from the Economic Policy Institute focus on current workers and show substantial benefits cuts under the Pozen plan for them. They did estimates for each state for different ages and national estimates for race, gender, and marital status to show, for example, the racial disparities in benefit cuts.
Legislators Examine Programs for Elderly (June 1, 2005)
America's mushrooming elderly population took center stage on Capitol Hill recently, as a Senate and a House subcommittee each called for keeping programs benefiting older Americans while a House committee considered how best to allocate federal money. Surprisingly, witnesses ducked committing themselves on the privatization of Social Security. Just say "no" to privatization!
Can the Rich, Famous Save Social Security? (June 1, 2005)
Here's a new chapter in the Social Security debate: Can the Rich Save Social Security?
Experts and politicians are really divided about this question. For some of them like Dean Baker, a Social Security expert of the liberal Center for Economic Policy Research, "It's counterproductive and you won't get as much money as you expect." He goes to say that different aspects have to be considered, like the "Tiger Woods effect." Some are afraid to see Social Security becoming more a welfare program than a pension plan, while others say, "Let the rich pay the same percentage (equal treatment under the law) as every other worker-why give them a juicy break just because they have more money than anyone else?" Read this article and learn about this new important aspect in the debate.
Social Security in Spotlight at Conference on Aging (May 27, 2005)
Marie Smith, a member of AARP and a former employee and manager at the Social Security Administration, wanted to send a loud and clear message to the United States Congress during the New Hampshire Conference on Aging on Thursday. To do something about Social Security, Americans must forget about private accounts that would "drain money out of Social Security, cut guaranteed benefits, create a mountain of debt and pass a huge bill on to future generations." Also, to help both older persons and future generations, we need to keep a stable Social Security that will be there for everybody.
Bush Touts Social Security Plan (May 25, 2005)
Even if Bush is trying everything to convince US citizens about the need for private accounts, many advocacy groups still oppose the plan. AARP, a well-known organization of older persons, has begun a big campaign to lobby Congress to "restructure" Social Security. Now what does this mean? Another AARP CEO Novelli sell-out plan similar to what happened with prescription drugs in the Medicare Modernization Act? Caveat emptor!
Protesters Use Visit to Criticize Several Issues (May 25, 2005)
Opposition against Bush is growing. All aspects of his policy are criticized, as was obvious Tuesday when he visited the Rochester area. Several demonstrations took place and protesters made clear their opposition to the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, for example. Many people also held signs supporting gay and lesbian rights, or disability-rights that are threatened by the cuts to Medicaid and federal housing programs, now under attack by the Bush's administration.
Protesters Of Overhaul Dog Bush (May 24, 2005)
As President Bush trys to sell his program about Social Security all around the country, opponents are doing everything they can to be in the field before him and attract media attention in their fight against Bush's campaign. Far from being a favorite program, Bush's plan is becoming a major issue of contest in every state where Bush's team stops. Local people are abandoning support for privatization.
Social Security: Another Media Failure (May 2005)
The media has a very important place in the Social Security debate. They have to inform people about the Bush's administration program, and the consequences of privatization. But like during the march to war in Iraq, many US newspapers have not reported accurately about Bush's effort to change Social Security. We need more truth and more information about Social Security-not the "big lie" that has been pushed through the US media. Freedom of speech holds no value if the reporters don't check the facts they are handed.
Dems Urged to Negotiate on Social Security Reform (May 24, 2005)
Democrats won't begin negotiating an overhaul of Social Security as long as President Bush insists on private investment accounts because they don't want to get caught in a "bait and switch," says the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee. Why negotiate on a plan that would increase elderly poverty? NO!
Concerns Growing on Retirement (May 23, 2005)
Despite their sizable stake in the outcome, America's young people largely have been absent from the debate about the future of Social Security. That is beginning to change as Congress gets more involved in legislation to overhaul the federal retirement program. This is an opportunity to bring together elderly and young people in a same fight, and to forget about the generation gap. Everybody, both older and younger people, need Social Security.
States Say Government Should Pay For Poor Elderly (May 23, 2005)
US governors are renewing their call for the federal government to take over the costs of low-income senior and disabled citizens who are eligible for both the all-federal Medicare and joint federal-state Medicaid programs. But the federal government doesn't want to accept the costs due to its high trade and fiscal deficits.
Behind the Wealthy, Many Use Debt to Catch Up (May 17, 2005)
More and more Americans are turning to debt to pay for lifestyles their
current incomes can't support. They want to live better than their parents,
and borrowing money is a way to have all that you want . . .in the short
term. Today, financial firms have turned credit for the masses into a huge
business. First, it seemed that credit was a way for middle-class to access
sometimes to upper-class life. Then, it appeared to be like a trap. For
example, last year, in
, 28 of every 1,000 households filed for
Corporate America Pulling Back Pension Safety Net (May 15, 2005)
The court decided last week to allow United Airlines' parent to dump its pensions on the federal government. It's a new big new risk for workers and their families. Throughout the US economy, workers must now try to pick up the higher costs of private health care and private retirement insurance as their employers kick benefits out the door. The result? Many
of today's workforce will enter old age sicker and poorer than ever . . reduced to 1930 levels! A good future?
An Oversight Hearing on President Bush's Social Security
Privatization Plan: Will You and
Your Family Be Worse Off? (May 13, 2005)
Peter Orszag, Senior Fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institute,
testified in spring 2005 to the Senate Democratic Policy Committee on parts
of President Bush's Social Security Reform Policy and general retirement
security policy. Mr. Orszag
illustrated fundamental flaws of the Bush plan in his testimony. To achieve
the 70% of pre-retirement wages that most financial planners say is
necessary for financial security in retirement, Orszag advises splitting
your income into two tiers. The core or first tier is the Social Security
benefits guaranteed upon retirement equaling around 35-40 % of your
pre-retirement wages. The second tier, equaling around the same amount is
other required savings, in the form of 401K's, IRA's and other financial
holdings. Mr. Orszag outlines four main points in his testimony about
retirement security challenges. First he argues that more protection is
needed for second tier savings found in 401K's and IRA's. Secondly he
says that introducing private accounts into Social Security benefits would
significantly decrease its financial worth. Third he wants an end to
borrowing from the Social Security trust fund to restore full solvency.
Finally Mr. Orszag testifies that recent Bush's plans for progressive
price indexing are "seriously flawed."
Is Your Retirement Money Safe? (May 12, 2005)
In the United States, worker can't be sure to get a pension every month and have a safe retirement. (More and more companies don't even offer a pension benefit.) A pension depends on what type of retirement plan your company offers. A lot of situations show that big financial risks still exist. For example, if the company you work for files for bankruptcy-court protection, and has underfunded its plan, it's possible that it doesn't have enough to cover promised benefits. This article looks at the risks inherent in the main types of retirement-savings plans to try to help you to protect yourself.
One More Social Security Quibble: Who is Middle Class? (May 10, 2005)
Realizing that fixing the program's long-term outlook is going to involve benefit cuts or tax increases or both, Bush is now making a new proposition about Social Security privatization. He's saying that he's now protecting the poor and that the cuts will mostly fall on the rich and the middle class. But the question is: who is the "middle class"? This designation put a lot of people with different incomes in the same boat. And some of those people on the lower end need every day more and more Social Security: so "this is probably not the time to be cutting their benefits."
A Foolish Bargain for Women (May 10, 2005)
Once again, it's necessary to show how Social Security is vital for American women. That's what Kim Gandy, President of the National Organization for Women, does in this article. She recalls that Social Security is the only guaranteed family safety and retirement insurance that this country provides. She explains how privatizing Social Security would be financially devastating for women: "without this essential social insurance program, more than half of women over 65 would be living in poverty."
We will never say it enough: don't privatize Social Security!
The Final Insult (May 9, 2005)
Now Bush is trying a new tactic to promote his plan about Social Security: he's slipping into a Robin Hood costume. According to this new fighter for social justice, Social Security is bad for black people, now privatization would be better for low- and middle-income Americans..and these examples are not the only incoherence in his discourse. His new idea calls for "zero sacrifice now, but big benefit cuts decades from now - which is exactly what he says will happen if we do nothing." It seems that Bush is actually snared in his own trap.
My Fake Retirement (May 8, 2005)
Why do we have to be in our late 60's to retire? Rodney Rothman, a former head writer for "Late Show with David Letterman," decided at age 28 to buy a condo in a Florida retirement community and enjoy the life of an American-style capitalist pensioner. Turning his account of life there into a book called "Early Bird" (Simon & Schuster) and a television pilot under development with NBC Universal, he thought that there was something very attractive about going into a new world: a world where grandmothers and grandfathers would not judge him, contrary to the business world where he had worked before.
Work Life: Poll Paints Grim Retirement Picture for Women (May 5, 2005)
The status of women approaching retirement is catastrophic: that's what a survey done by American Viewpoint and Harrison & Goldberg revealed. And above all Hispanic and Black women have to face poverty or to work past retirement age. "Many women of color will never be able to retire." These financial facts of women's lives are only one more reason to protect Social Security from privatization.
Why The President's Social Security Proposals Could Ultimately Lead To The Unraveling of Social Security (May 2, 2005)
President Bush has now endorsed a combination of "progressive price indexing," a change in the Social Security benefit structure, and private accounts carved out of Social Security. This combination spells great danger for the Social Security system. Read this article to understand the threat of "progressive price indexing."
GOP, Dems to Huddle (May 2005)
Five Republicans and four Democrats had a meeting with AARP CEO Bill Novelli this week, trying to explore solutions about their disagreement on Social Security reform. It was the first official discussion between AARP, this "very loud voice," and House members from both sides. While Republicans' goal was to convince opposition about their plan, AARP claimed this was a new opportunity to state its opposition to privatization and their desire to preserve the current Social Security program. Many older persons wonder if this is the first step of AARP Chief Executive Novelli to sell out Social Security, as happened with the prescription drug issue and Medicare. Watch carefully!
What You Might Not Have Learned About the President's Social Security Plan
(April 29, 2005)
The Social Security debate seems complex, that's why sometimes you might think progressive price indexing, a Bush plan, is not so bad. For example, during his press conference on April 28, the President proposed a "progressive price indexing" to protect poorest people from the risks of privatization. But take a look to the real facts: with this plan, the benefit cuts would be the largest in Social Security's seven-decade history for middle-income workers:28 percent of their benefits would be cut over 70 years. Then, even if Bush said that his plan would not affect disability benefits, there is no a risk. The Bush privatization threatens every part of the population.
Bottom Line: It's a Bad Idea (April 27, 2005)
Los Angeles Times editorial argues that privatization simply cannot work mathematically and that future retirees will not be better off than they are under the current system. It notes, however, that some proponents of privatization may find the goal of widespread stock ownership more important than individual retirement prospects.
GOP May Be Splintering on Social Security (April 26, 2005)
A badly divided Senate Finance Committee yesterday held the first hearing examining President Bush's plan to restructure Social Security. While the Democrats are still united in their opposition, there were signs of cracks in the Republicans' support for the president.
Perspective on the Social Security Hearings (April 26, 2005)
AARP just published its second annual report The State of 50+ America 2005 that shows how Social Security and Medicare are vital for older persons. It also notes the difficult conditions of life for older persons who have very low incomes. Most of them only survive thanks to Social Security benefits "that keep food on their tables and a roof over their heads."
Chile: Chile's Privatization Failures (April 26, 2005)
Proponents of Social Security privatization often cite the Chilean model to prove how this is a good idea for United States. When we look at the situation in Chile, we see that it's easier to show how privatizing Social Security would be a disaster for the US. Indeed, now, many Chileans workers don't have any reliable retirement plan, and most of them would choose to return to the former system. Reading the articles by Greg Anrig Jr., vice president of programs at The Century Foundation, it's clear that the current system is much better for elderly than the privatized one.
Panel to Start Writing Social Security Bill (April 24, 2005)
Five months after President Bush launched his drive to overhaul Social Security, the difficult, if not impossible, task of drafting legislation begins Tuesday when the Senate Finance Committee holds the first hearing on options to secure Social Security's future. The debates are taking place at all levels, both publicly and privately.
Pension System Failing Women, Says Report (April 22, 2005)
Urgent action is needed to make the pension system fairer for women, charities warn in a report published today.
Low Savings Rate Is Real Retirement Crisis (April 22, 2005)
State representative argues that a majority of Americans reject the idea of private accounts under social security. He suggests the real discussion should be on the need to change individual spending habits and proposes mechanisms for the government to promote savings outside of Social Security.
Private Accounts, Public Accountability (April 22, 2005)
It appears that the "personal accounts" being pushed by the administration will require annuities to supplement social security payments. The amount and cost of these annuities will be determined based on interest rates set by the Federal Reserve and could vary dramatically. Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve, should weigh in on the debate.
Scaremongering in the Social Security Debate (April 22, 2005)
Christian E. Weller, senior economist at the Center for American Progress, argues that the Bush administration is relying on scaremongering techniques and inherent inconsistencies in an effort to gain support for privatization, which, by all accounts, will permanently cut benefits.
Bush Social Security Plan Proves Tough Sell Among Working Poor
- Investment Choice Has Limited Appeal, Studies Find (April 18, 2005)
Bush maintains that the working poor have a lot to gain from privatization because they could take advantage of the "ownership society." But those persons don't trust the project: Bush, they say, has not tried to sell his Social Security plan to them.
Many don't feel comfortable to deal with financial risk choices. With the guaranteed check, Social Security represents a safety system that enables disabled, older persons and especially women to survive. In their opinion, playing with their lifeline cannot be a good idea.
200 Groups Lobbying to Protect Family Leave Act (April 15, 2005)
More than 200 state and national groups, representing women, minorities, labor and senior citizens, yesterday urged federal officials to reject an effort by business organizations that they contend would weaken key protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act.
The Oprah Society (April 12, 2005)
American society is sick, says author Beth Shulman. Take a look at the situation of millions of workers, immigrants, pensioners. The American dream is disappearing: even if you work hard, now, you're not sure to be able to "raise a family, send your children to college, take family vacations, build a nest egg and retire." And it's not only one generation who is concerned but all of them. For example, nearly half of full-time workers were covered by traditional pensions 30 years ago. Today, that number has plummeted to below 20 percent. Fight for change!
Black Officials See Social Security 'Race Card' (April 12, 2005)
A group of leading black officials accused President Bush on Monday of "playing the race card" in efforts to promote his Social Security overhaul.
Bush's Social Security Playbook (April 12, 2005)
Occasions of true public deliberation, "the process of arriving at decisions through an extended discussion and debate," are rare in American politics. The debate over Social Security is a great occasion to change this fact: people have shown that they want to think about what is being proposed and voice their opinion. And it seems that it's not good for Bush's administration: the more citizens know about privatization, the less they want this system. We have here a real democratic debate, so let's take advantage of this! Speak up!
AARP Says Social Security Bill Unlikely to Pass This Year (April 11, 2005)
The nation's largest seniors' group, AARP, is still fighting against President George W. Bush's plan about Social Security. According to Bill Novelli, the AARP chief executive, Congress is unlikely to pass a bill restructuring Social Security this year. It looks like Novelli will
"deal" with the White House on raising the retirement age and also on publicizing the prescription drug "benefit."
AARP backed the drug companies so that they could make more money at public expense. Remember the AARP giveaway provision that prevents the US Government from bargaining on drug prices, as does every other country that buys US drugs in bulk? While AARP's campaign against privatization is welcome, it
doesn't guarantee that Novelli won't pull some hidden deal aiding the for-profit sector out of his pocket in negotiations. Let AARP know your thinking.
Bush's Social Security Vision Loses Support (April 11, 2005)
Fewer Americans agree with their president's proposal to privatize the Social Security system in the United States, according to a poll by Gallup released by CNN and USA Today. Only 39 per cent of respondents are in
favor of the plan, an eight per cent drop since December.
Schwarzenegger Delays Calif. Pension Overhaul (April 7, 2005)
The Republican California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is facing delays
on to his pension plan. That's why he backed off and said on Thursday that he won't push for a statewide vote this year to partially privatize the state's massive public pension funds. Like Bush with his plan for Social Security, he has to face powerful pensioner unions. His popularity fell after he proposed privatization.
Cost of Social Security Drive Cited (April 7, 2005)
Bush is trying to do everything to convince people that privatization is necessary. His campaign is becoming more and more imposing, mobilizing a big staff and spending a lot of money. For example, "Staff costs for Bush's 16 Social Security events thus would range from $352,000 to $944,000." It seems that while support wanes across the country for the Bush plan, the Chief Executive hires on ever more people and pumps more jet fuel into the Air Force One
for his fly-in campaign for privatization. Who pays? The taxpayer!
Illegal Immigrants Are Bolstering Social Security with Billions (April 5, 2005)
Illegal immigrants are adding to Social Security's funds. Immigration subsidizes Social Security due to the fact that most new immigrants are of working age. Illegal immigrants contribute to the system with their taxes yet they enjoy none of the benefits in return. Unlike citizens that receive retirement benefits and qualify for Medicare at the age of 65, illegal immigrants are not granted these rights. It is reported that an approximate seven million illegal immigrants supply the Social Security system with as much as $7 billion per year.
Selfishly Open-Hearted (April 5, 2005)
The author finds that when examining Social Security, the auxiliary issue of immigration is one of fundamental importance. Immigration contributes to Social Security subsidies while enriching the livelihood of American society. The New York Times reports that approximately $50-$60 billion in illegal immigrants' wages are taxed for Social Security, resulting in about $6 billion in revenues for the pension system. Social Security trustees have placed little emphasis on the effects of immigration on the pension plan whereas others consider it "the wild card" in determining the Social Security's future.
All Want Social Security Solvent - But How? Problems are Evident, Solutions Up for Debate (April
As President Bush's plans for privatization to restructure Social Security have met criticism, both sides of Congress agree that private accounts won't resolve the program's projected problem. Though the president fails to provide a specific plan in reforming Social Security, he argues that private accounts result in more lucrative returns on investments upon retirement. Adversaries of President Bush's plan contend that taking funds out of the current system would decrease benefits for current pensioners or lead to extensive borrowing, which would only hasten the system's shortage.
Few See Gains from Social Security Tour (April 3, 2005)
Doubt is settling on the Republican front as Democrats are determined in on their unified stance against President Bush's proposal for individual investment accounts under Social Security. With the exception of Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, every Democratic senator is opposed to individual accounts. Under rules of the Senate, legislation requires an approval of 60 senators and with only 55 Republicans making up the Senate, President Bush's reform policy may not even be voted upon. While the president has convinced some in his claim of a Social Security crisis, he has found no such luck for his campaign of individual accounts by restructuring America's pension program.
Doing Good by Doing Without Social Security (April 3, 2005)
As the debate over the future of Social Security is dividing up Congress, some pensioners have decided to give away their benefits. Most of America's 33 million retired pensioners depend on their Social Security paychecks and about 13 million retirees are safeguarded from falling below the poverty line due to these benefits. However one in 10 retirees are not dependent on their pension wages and have decided to donate these funds to those in need: low-income children. Hope for Generations, a nonprofit organization to assist low-income youth was born in 2003, and has raised over $160,000 since its establishment.
Doubts About Accounts Stall Debate on Pension Reforms (April 1, 2005)
President Bush's touted reforms to Social Security call for individual investment accounts, similar to those enjoyed by federal officials and the president himself under the Thrift Savings Plan. However, one important piece of information the president neglects to mention is that the government workers' savings plan is a supplement, not a potential replacement, to the benefits guaranteed by the current Social Security system. Failing to explain how the Thrift Savings Program is financed, the heavily disputed "carve-out" accounts would be funded by workers' Social Security taxes.
Hastert Doubtful on Social Security Bill: House Speaker Says That Passage of Legislation This Year May Be Unlikely (April 1, 2005)
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) has doubts about President Bush's idealistic mission in reforming Social Security by this year's end. Despite the president's vigorous barnstorming for the restructuring of Social Security, he has been met with great opposition and little support. Allies of the proposed legislation have warned that if reforms are not passed this year, the fight for Democratic support for Social Security's restructuring will only grow more arduous in 2006, a midterm election year.
Social Security Is the Real Deal (March 2005)
Some young workers want to manage their own money and like the idea of private accounts, but they also admit that a government program should be there to provide a financial safety because "we never know" what can happen. The problem is that they forgot something: This back-up system for personal savings exists already in the US and it's Social Security.
AARP Leads With Wallet in Fight over Social Security: Bush's Plan Faces Formidable Foe (March 30, 2005)
The nation's largest lobby, AARP, is campaigning against President Bush's proposal to privatize Social Security, already spending over $5 million on ads. It denounces private accounts and the placement of Social Security benefits into unstable market investments. Critics label AARP as hypocritical since it offers its own mutual funds; however the organization believes that fundamental government-issued income support should not be changed. Many worry that AARP might make a deal as it did on prescription drugs-an act that cost AARP some 70,000 members. Rank and file members must hold the paid leadership to account: Members must send every letter and e-mail to Congress along with a copy to Mr. Novelli, AARP's current CEO.
The Point of No Returns (March 30, 2005)
Yale University economist Robert Shiller has put President Bush's projected plan for private accounts to the test. Analyzing potential investment earnings of stocks and bonds to calculate how private accounts would perform for retirees under the Bush plan for Social Security, he found failing results. Stock market performance is unpredictable and risky as Schiller's analysis shows; Social Security benefits are too important to place on a gambling table.
Dirty Battle in the Social Security War (March 29, 2005)
Supporters of President George W. Bush's plan to privatize part of Social Security are losing the public relations war. Some of them have decided to fight dirty. The article details how some Congressmen want to use to public money to squelch labor unions. Why? The unions persuaded the firms that invest labor's pension monies to pull out of the pro-privatization campaign.
Social Security: The Most Important Anti-Poverty Program for Children (March 28, 2005)
The author highlights how persons other than the elderly will be directly affected if Social Security were reformatted. Social Security is not only an anti-poverty program for retirees, but also the system grants disability and survivors' benefits that often benefit many of the nation's children. In multi-generational families that include grandparent, parent and children, the grandparent's Social Security check often serves as an essential source of income for all.
Has to Face the Possibility of a First Political Defeat (March 28, 2005)
(Article in French)
The French Press says that the Bush project to privatize Social Security may
miscarry and it looks like the position of Bush is more and more delicate.
Indeed, his poll rating has sunk to new lows and he must fight both a very
unified opposition and a growing skepticism in his own party. Unions and
associations like AARP, a powerful lobby of retired Americans, are very
mobilized, whipping in the public opinion. "The plan to transform the
pension system is, today, absolutely kaput," said Jacob Weisberg, a staff
writer of the newspaper Slate.
Forget About Social Security (March 28, 2005)
There's a crisis in a vital government program for older persons and others. It's just not the one that barnstorming White House officials are talking about. The program in need of emergency treatment isn't Social Security. It's Medicare.
Add-On Accounts Add No Value (March 26, 2005)
The NY Times reports about using add-on accounts as possible compromise in the Social Security debate over privatization. Supposedly, add-on accounts would work as IRA's (Individual Retirement Accounts), designed to complement Social Security benefits. Some opponents to Bush's plan for Social Security are embracing add-ons. But most think that it's not a good idea.
Democrat Pans Private Accounts for Social Security (March 26, 2005)
President Bush's proposal to change Social Security by creating retirement investment accounts for younger workers would shatter the New Deal-era program and burden future generations with debt, a Michigan Congressman said Saturday.
As I See It (March 2005)
The supporters of Bush's plan about Social Security feel that they're loosing the fight, so they try an other way to introduce private accounts into the pension system: compromise.
According to Charles Salk, President of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees, we have to listen to the columnist Paul Krugman: no compromise can be done about Social Security! The battle is not yet totally over, so let's resist and continue to defend this great 70-year-old system.
An Easily Snow'ed Press Corps (March 24, 2005)
What's wrong with the journalists in the US these days? They pick up a press release and re-print it. No thinking. No questions.
This author read the Social Security Trustees' report and revealed the pessimistic assumptions that governed this year's research. Despite all that, the estimated long-run
Social Security deficit to 2079 still went down.
Social Security and the Income of the Elderly (March 23, 2005)
Under current law, the Social Security program ensures that Americans can maintain a basic quality of life if they, or a worker they rely on,
looses the ability to work due to age, disability, or death. Workers who become disabled or reach retirement receive a Social Security income based on how long they have worked and how much they have earned. Spouses and children of deceased, disabled, and retired workers also receive Social Security.
This study from the Economic Policy Institute explains how much Social Security is necessary, especially for the elderly, and why we have to protect it.
Social Security Holds High Stakes for Women (March 22, 2005)
"Social Security is not just a safety net for us but a matter of survival," said Alma Morales
Riojas, president of MANA, a national Latina organization. Indeed, women have a lot of reasons to fight Bush's project of privatization. Social Security is the only source of income for one of every four women 65 or older, according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research.
Bush's First Defeat (March 22, 2005)
It's not a good time for Bush. His project about Social Security may be fizzling out with
the opposition to privatization that is everywhere. Since his State of the Union message, Democrats have never been so unified and several Republicans are sharply against his position. As for public opinion, recent polls confirm their attachment to Social Security. The great system of FDR is standing firm---for the moment.
Wall Street's Mum on Social Security New York City Pension Trustees Ask Firms' Position on Privatized Accounts - and Get Little Reply (March 18, 2005)
The trustees of New York workers' pension funds and their labor union representatives who oppose Bush's plans for privatization want to know the views of financial firms that manage their pension funds on this central issue. That's why they wrote the firms a letter, asking their position, but they never got a clear answer. Silence may speak louder than words.
When It Comes to Managing Retirement, Many People Simply Can't (March 18, 2005)
Bush's plan about Social Security is not a real innovation. With 401(k) plans, millions of Americans have already had to deal with a system of private accounts. And this experience shows how hard
it is to manage savings. That's why privatization is very risky for a big part of the population. The "ownership society" demands a solid knowledge of financial investments, while Social Security doesn't require any complex decisions every month to know how to have enough money for your retirement.
Voters Voice Sentiments on Social Security (March 17, 2005)
National polls reflect the skepticism of Americans about Bush's plan to introduce a system of private accounts. Indeed, it is now very clear to many people: while Social Security represents a guaranteed benefit, privatization endangers retirements
due to a risky stock market. And it seems crazy to play with a system that is the only retirement
resource for a large share of the elderly in the US.
For Social Security, 2 Crucial Weeks Near (March 16, 2005)
Advocacy groups on both sides of the Social Security debate are planning extensive grass-roots lobbying campaigns during the Congressional recess that starts this weekend. They consider this recess a critical opportunity to shape public - and Congressional - opinion. And it seems that the advocates of privatization are losing ground.
Senate Splits in Test Vote on Social Security (March 16, 2005)
In a test vote on Capitol Hill, Bush's plan about Social Security appeared almost dead. Opponents of privatization have unified against the Administration proposal. "I think this is another marker on the road to rejection of the president's plan," said Mr. Schumer, the New York Democrat who has been a leading opponent of the plan.
Don't Play Political Football with Social Security Reform (March 16, 2005)
"Social Security reform should not be a political football (.). It is not a game for "winners" and "losers." The American people must be the winners."
That's why we have to reject completely Bush's plan of private accounts. We have to think about the situation of the next generation who will need Social Security as much as elderly
need it today.
Skepticism of Bush's Social Security Plan Is Growing (March 15, 2005)
Three months after President Bush launched his drive to restructure Social Security by creating private investment accounts, public support for his program remains weak, with only 35 percent of Americans now saying they approve of his handling of the issue, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The $600 Billion Man (March 15, 2005)
The debate about the future Social Security represents a real chance for Democrats to win the public's support. Indeed, a lot of Americans disagree with the system of private accounts, especially when they can hear distortions from
Bush such as: "According to the Social Security trustees, waiting just one year adds $600 billion to the cost of fixing Social Security." While this was not an accurate, leading Senators of both parties have repeated
In Britain and Chile, Lessons
for Revamping Social Security (March 14, 2005)
As the US weighs partially privatizing Social Security, other countries
have lived under similar systems for decades. US citizens can learn from
them that the system talked up by Bush is not a great idea to resolve any
pension problems. Compared to the current Social Security system, it's a
25 Years Reveal Myths of Privatized Federal Pensions in Chile (March 10, 2005)
What can we learn from the Chilean pension system, this "great example" for social security reform in the United States according to Bush? Read the recent studies about the privatization of pensions in Chile enacted by dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1981. Consider this quote: "(.) if two work colleagues reach retirement age in Chile today, both with the same salary and the same number of years contributing to social security, the one who changed to the privatized system back in 1981 will receive less than half of the pension amount
than the one who remained in the old pay-as-you-go system will receive.". US citizens can learn a lot from Chile's experience.
Social Security's Generation Gap (March 9, 2005)
"Why dismantle something that has worked so well?" wonders Robert B. Reich, a former US Secretary of Labor, and a former trustee of the Social Security Trust Fund. After the Great Crash of 1929, President Franklin Roosevelt organized with his Labor
Secretary Frances Perkins, a very successful system that allowed each generation to be secure in their retirement. But now, Bush pretends that he will fix the system - that doesn't need to be fixed-by diverting trillions of dollars out of it. Once again, older persons will have to face poverty, just like before 1929.
Group Opens $2 Million Drive for Bush Social Security Plan (March 8, 2005)
The debate over Social Security has become both an ideological but also a financial fight in both camps. More than a social issue, Social Security's future is now a commercial business. US citizens must figure out how to deal with a lobbying duel in which millions of dollars are going to be spent and many lies told. It's best to look at their practical experience: how would our elderly neighbors survive without Social Security? Do younger citizens want to contemplate such a bleak future for themselves? We think not.
Women's Pension Helpline Reveals Worrying Trend (March 8, 2005)
The social position of the US women is worrying. Especially their financial situation. And it's true all throughout their lives: when they're young, they have lower paid jobs, and when they get older, they have lower pensions than men. And for a lot of them, Social Security is the only income that permits them to survive! Privatization would risk this essential support for many mid-life and younger women.
Q&A: The Great Social Security Debate (March 3, 2005)
It's important to understand what Social Security is and what the privatization would mean. This debate shows how this great system is much more than a retirement program: it's a way to survive for disabled, widows and widowers, survivors of deceased workers, and all pensioners. It shows how this program has been and can be still successful. Then, it explains why it's impossible to change just a part of Social Security without affecting the entire system, and why Bush's proposals are not solutions for the future.
Disability Insurance Side of Social Security Raises Questions (March 3, 2005)
There are a lot of aspects in Bush' program to destroy Social Security that show how private accounts are a bad idea. Disability insurance is one of the arguments to use to fight against privatization. The overhaul of the current Social Security "could have serious unintended consequences." This article details many of those consequences.
For President's Social Security Proposal, Many Hurdles (March 2, 2005)
President Bush's drive to overhaul Social Security is in trouble, and while it is far too soon to declare it doomed, it faces obstacles on all sides. Perhaps this begins the collapse of the Bush's Privatization policy. Stay alert for its resuscitation.
Manufacturing a Crisis: The Neocon Attack on Social Security (February, 2005)
This report confronts the view by neoconservative on Social Security and its huge financial shortfalls predicted in the future. According to authors, despite the sensational acclaim by neocons that Social Security is going to collapse by 2018 due to the payroll tax revenues shortfall, simple math claims that the system is going to be fine until 2079. In addition, future financial shortfall is not going to be caused by the increasing numbers of baby boomers. Rather, it is going to happen as a result of “low economic growth, rising longevity, and continuation of today’s low fertility rates”.
Flare-Ups in Battle Over Bush's Social Security Plan (February 24, 2005)
The public relations war over President Bush's Social Security plan escalated on Wednesday, as a liberal advocacy group, Campaign for America's Future, attacked the Republican chairman of the House Social Security subcommittee, and conservative groups fought among themselves over strategy.
Waging Inequality (February 24, 2005)
President Bush recently indicated that additional taxation of top wage earners is "on the table" in future negotiations to address Social Security's financial shortfall. Public discussion must focus on the dramatic growth over the last two decades of wages at the top, while middle-class wages have been relatively stagnant. The consequences? Extraordinary inequalities and the undermining of Social Security's financing!
Appeal to Young on Pension Plan Gets the Attention of Their Elders (February 23, 2005)
Republican Senator Rick Santorum is trying to convince younger people that privatization is a good thing for them, but he's not having much success: even if Bush has repeatedly promised that he would make no changes affecting Americans over 55, older persons are a lot more involved in this issue. But many union members and aging advocacy members staunchly oppose privatization - for themselves and for their grandchildren.
Wall Street's Right-Hand Man (February 23, 2005)
Rep. Jim McCrery, a relatively unknown US Representative recently won appointment to head the Social Security Subcommittee in the House Ways and Means committee. That means he's Bush's chief ally in the push to get the President's privatized Social Security plan through Congress. More disturbing is the fact that McCrery has put his political agenda ahead of his constituents' needs. He's received $200,000 in campaign contributions from banking interests. He's voted for legislation that benefits his corporate donors. He meets regularly with lobbyists and has even said he'd like to be one. The Campaign For America's Future released a new report detailing McCrery's conflicts of interest and how he's leaving his constituents to fend for themselves. Democracy at work?
States' Private Pensions Make a Weak Showing (February 22, 2005)
President Bush believes Americans are so eager to join the "ownership society" that, given a chance, two-thirds of those eligible would divert funds from Social Security into the personal investment accounts he proposes. But when public employees in seven states were offered the opportunity for similar accounts during the last decade, nowhere near two-thirds signed up for them. In many instances, the figure was closer to 5%. Important information for the future!
Private Accounts: Tried and Failed (February 22, 2005)
It's interesting to see the US states and counties that have experimented with private accounts for their state and county pensions over the past couple of decades. The results are not especially pretty-in fact, downright poor!
About Those 'Greedy' Seniors (February 22, 2005)
This is one of the arguments to privatize Social Security: the "greed" of the seniors. Here is a new "ruse to distract our attention from broader issues of equity and fairness." Those who want to cut programs for the elderly are afraid of paying high taxes to support high-living seniors, so they found this argument. But it's necessary to understand that most of the older persons are not rich. On the contrary, the majority of them need Medicare and Social Security to survive and to stay out of poverty. For two-thirds of the elderly, Social Security represents half or more of their income.so "greedy is not a word that comes to mind to describe such people."
Social Security A 'New Business Opportunity'
Managers Stand To Gain Millions in Private Accounts (February 21, 2005)
Guess who is going to be happy with Bush's proposal about Social Security? Workers? Are you sure? No. The answer is simple: Financial firms. And it's not about a few dollars. Privatization represents a big deal for them: They could earn hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees and other revenue with private accounts.so now where is the social issue that the great FDR's system represented before? The Bush Privitization plan throws a big part of American society into economic danger.
Unmasking That Pension Consultant (February 20, 2005)
Obviously, one never knows if the pension funds are safe. But at least we can understand why their cost is so huge, and the reason is not reassuring . The board of the Public School Teachers' Pension and Retirement Fund of Chicago is thinking about conducting a comprehensive conflict-of-interest audit of its investment consultant, Mercer Inc., a unit of Marsh & McLennan. Why? Because persons who run pension funds need consultants to find the best money managers "with whom they should invest." But the problem is that those consultants work also for the money managers. This makes the situation complicated with ample space to influence consultants and compromise investment performance in the "Pay to Play" game.
Whose Cap Is It Anyway? (February 18, 2005)
Nothing demonstrates the stranglehold of the richest US citizens over ordinary working people who must pay the fixed percentage of their salaries toward
their Social Security contribution and their future social insurance. But there is no tax on any salary or income over $90,000 per year. Just think how solvent Social Security would be if the richest paid their "fair share?"
Three-Card Maestro (February 18, 2005)
Greenspan is still for privatization, but not like in 2001. It seems that his point of view has changed. Before, he agreed with the Bush administration about everything and supported all their plans. Now, he appears more skeptical about Bush project on Social Security, and worried about the cost of such a big change.is it perhaps the beginning of a reversal.?
Busting the Social Security Myths (February 18, 2005)
Proponents of Social Security privatization have claimed that the current program is unfair to African Americans and that a privatized program would serve African Americans better. This argument lends support to the privatization agenda while at the same time giving its advocates a compassionate gloss. But the claims about African Americans and Social Security are wrong. This article exposes the fallacies.
Tricky Politics of Social Security (February 18, 2005)
Seeking support for his plan, Bush ruled out a rate increase, but not a higher cap on taxed income. He is fond of saying that he doesn't want to "negotiate with himself" - especially over the issue of restructuring Social Security, his top domestic priority.
Some Bush-Style Social Security Scenarios (February 17, 2005)
Here, David Wessel is trying to explain how "Bush style scenario" is full of risks, especially for younger workers who are going to live under a new system, without Social Security monthly payments. When those younger workers will be older, the US will have a new - and large -- generation of poor elderly with no more guaranteed benefit for every worker in old age or in case of disability.
Greenspan Backs Idea of Accounts for Retirement (February 17, 2005)
The Federal Reserve's chairman, Alan Greenspan, said Wednesday that while he supports private accounts within Social Security, he is worried about the trillions of dollars in borrowing that the government would have to undertake to finance the transition. (The US is now running the highest deficit in its history.) Greenspan also signaled that he wants Social Security changed more gradually than the President does.
American Retirement Increasingly Rides the Market (February 16, 2005)
As Americans increasingly focus their attention on the future of Social Security, a growing number of states and companies are also looking at the health of their own retirement plans - and pushing further away from traditional paid benefits in favor of models more akin to President Bush's. Dependence on the vagaries of the stock market will not substitute for the steady stream of guaranteed funds safely invested in low-risk government securities. Look out, workers! Poverty may greet you in old age!
Protesters Blast Social Security Overhaul (February 16, 2005)
President Bush claims his plan would strengthen Social Security, but Dover resident Caroline French believes the opposite is true. She's was part of the protesters who want to explain how Social Security is important for elderly, widows, and children.
Immigrants Are Social Security 'Boost' - Study (February 15, 2005)
Immigrants to the US contribute to Social Security but may not get the chance to get its benefits when they retire, either in the US or Mexico. A number of Senators oppose permitting "illegals" who have contributed to Social Security to collect benefits because they are not citizens. How about a global system for social insurance?
Independents and Young People (Not to Mention the General Public) Display Little Enthusiasm for Bush's Social Security Plan (February 14, 2005)
Three recent polls shows how most of the public does not agree with Bush on privatization. Indeed, they reveal that 43 percent call for only minor changes, that Bush's election victory is not a reason to support all his ideas, and especially his project on Social Security. Then, the majority thinks that the most important issue is keeping a program with a guaranteed monthly benefit like Social Security, instead of having a risky investment for younger workers. Bush has a lot to do if he wants to convince people about his plan.
Social Security Problems Not a Crisis, Most Say (February 10, 2005)
This article explores how language describing the Bush attempt to privatize Social Security affects US citizens' current views. The Washington Post, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University conducted these polls. As the debate goes forward, the "marketing of the message" will change as well.
Social Security's Racial Divide Members of The Congressional Black Caucus Contend That Bush's Plan Jeopardizes Disability And Retirement Benefits For Those Who Earn Less (February 9, 2005)
As President George W. Bush launched his campaign last week to sell his plan to overhaul Social Security, African-American members of Congress vowed to counter his proposal, taking their message to town halls and media outlets across the country.
Spearing the Beast (February 8, 2005)
According to Paul Krugman, President Bush isn't trying to reform Social Security. His plan is simply to destroy the current system, without replacing it by any form of security for older persons. For Bush, it's not a financial or social issue. This privatization would be just a way to continue the Right Wing's fight against the Post-Depression Era State.
President Bush Sent Congress on Monday a $2.57 Trillion Budget For 2006 That Calls For Deep Cuts Across a Large Part Of Government (February 7, 2005)
CBS News Correspondent Peter Maer reports that the budget plan would eliminate or dramatically cut 150 government programs. Farm subsidies, healthcare payments for veterans and poor people, and spending on education and the environment are all targeted for cuts. Spending for defense and homeland security would increase.
Bush to Propose Billions in Cuts (February 6, 2005)
President Bush will propose a 2006 budget that, despite record spending of about $2.5 trillion, will call for billions of dollars in cuts that will touch poor people on food stamps and farmers on price supports, children under Medicaid and adults in public housing.
Gross Criticizes Social Security Plan (February 4, 2005)
Bill Gross, manager of the world's largest bond fund, is criticizing President Bush's plan to privatize part of Social Security. He's accusing Bush of pushing privatization to bolster his notion of an ownership society, to the detriment of older persons. There are important problems to do, solve, such as the budget deficit, but it seems that Bush ignores them.
Cool Reception on Capitol Hill to Social Security Plan (February 4, 2005)
Democrats want to denounce the White House's plan for Social Security. That's why they wrote a letter explaining how the privatization would create financial and social problems. Now the real fight begins between the Republicans who will try to convince Americans that there is a crisis and the Democrats who want to defend a very popular and solid system created by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. This debate could create divisions in both camps, but above all in the Republican one. Bush already faces opposition from Ms Snowe, for example. She's a moderate Republican who serves on the Senate Finance Committee representing a State with a sizable elderly population. She said she had "serious concerns" about the idea, and strongly favored continuing the current system in which retirees receive a guaranteed payout every month.
George Bush Insists to Change the Pension's System (February 3, 2005)
(Article in French)
The opposition to pivatization is increasing while the stake for the administration is enormous. Even in the Republican camp, the prospect of facing well-organized older persons is worrying.
Democrats Take Aim at Social Security Proposal, Calling It a Risky Gamble (February 3, 2005)
President Bush's address on Wednesday left some already-anxious Republicans worried about the difficulties of pushing through Social Security privatization. Democrats hammered Mr. Bush's proposal as a risky gamble that would swell the nation's deficit and imperil the retirement of millions of Americans.
From Nations That Have Tried
Similar Pensions, Some Lessons (February 3, 2005)
Lessons from 20 countries that have embraced private accounts will play a role in what's shaping up as the first big domestic issue of the second Bush term. Each side is looking to them for ammunition. A review of seven nations' experience illuminates some of the major issues that must be resolved. None show a golden result for the golden years! But plenty of room for corruption, mismanagement, and high risk!
Bush's Dirty Little Secret (February 3, 2005)
Here's what the president didn't tell you in his State of the Union address: His plan toprivatize Social Security will be hugely expensive and will make the average worker worse off.
The New Bush Agenda: A Debate on Social Security with Paul Krugman vs. the American Enterprise Institute (February 3, 2005)
President Bush devoted a large portion of his State of the Union address to his push for restructuring Social Security, kicking off a campaign to advocate for the privatization of the system. Here is a debate between Paul Krugman of The New York Times and Eric Engen of the American Enterprise Institute.
Q&A: The US Social Security System (February 3, 2005)
George Bush has proposed the biggest overhaul of the US public pension system since its creation in 1935. Mark Tran explains what is at stake: the origin of the system, what Bush wants to change, what are his arguments, and what would be the results of his plan.
Social Security Privatization's Motherhood Penalty (February 2, 2005)
William Spriggs, from the Economic Policy Institute, explains how privatization puts a disadvantage for women compared to men. The new "modern working women" still take on the majority of child rearing and also provide elder care, having much lower employment rates than men. That's why Social Security is so important for them: with this solid system, the benefits are promised under current law, and they can actually be
paid if no changes are made to the current system.
We've Already Tried Private Accounts! (February 1, 2005)
The 401(k) experience shows that individual account holders often make unwise decisions and are at the mercy of ﬁnancial markets. In theory, private accounts can appear attractive. But in reality, it's
very hard to manage. Without a minimum of financial knowledge and experience, it could create a social disaster.
on Social Security (February 2005)
Read the questions and answers that US citizens gave to a survey that
examined the public's understanding of Social Security, its benefits,
its funding, its personal cost and social cost. Very interesting work! The
Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University Survey
Projects jointly design and analyze surveys examining public knowledge,
perceptions, and misperceptions on major issues on Social Security reform.
They conducted two surveys: the first survey was answered by 1,236 adults
who were selected randomly, 18 years and older, and the second survey was
answered by 1,231 adults selected randomly, 18 years and older. This
report only contains the questions and results of the surveys (no
discussion) including some past surveys in 1997 and 1999.
Social Security-Mend It, Don't End It (January 31, 2005)
Carmelita Tursi's family is a good example of how Social Security is important for a lot of Americans, and especially for older women. As a widow with dependent children, her mother received Social Security benefits for herself and for her children until they reached the age of 21 thanks to her father's contribution into the Social Security system. And today, at 93, her mother sole source of income is again Social Security. So now she knows how widowed, divorced, and never-married women in particular need this successful system that keeps women age 65 and older out of poverty.
"Social Security is the mainstay of retirement-income support for millions of older women and has kept significant numbers of women out of poverty," and it would be a disaster if Bush would destroy it.
Democrats Bash Bush Social Security Plan (January 29, 2005)
Senate Democrats on Friday criticized President Bush's plan to add personal accounts to Social Security and accused his administration of improperly using the Social Security Administration to promote the idea. At Friday's session, several Democrats said they disagree with the Bush plan because "it undercuts the nature of Social Security as an insurance program that guards against poverty in old age." And James Roosevelt, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's grandson said, "He was adamant that Social Security was an insurance program ... not an investment plan," said.
Privatizing Social Security: 'Me' Over 'We' (January 27, 2005)
Opponents to Social Security privatization have laid out the many risks of this project. But the most profound cost of privatization has been wholly ignored: "the systemic cost to our public way of life." Opting for "market Darwinism," privatization breaks the social contract, turning the common "we" into a collection of private "me's" and pushes US citizens back into the state of nature, so negatively described by Thomas Hobbes: "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." Not a good place to live life.
5 Ways to Win the Privatization Debate (2004)
Small investment accounts are very expensive to administer. With privatization, broker commissions and fees could easily burn up as much as 15 cents out of every dollar of a worker's annual investment as they do in some countries with privatized systems. Wall Street brokers and fund managers would stand to make billions of dollars a year thanks to privatization, so it's no surprise that they strongly support the privatization movement! Use these five arguments to win over those who have fallen for privatization propaganda!
Chile's Retirees Find Shortfall in Private Plan (January 27, 2005)
"If people really had freedom of choice, 90 percent of them would opt to go back to the old system," said a Chilean government official who specializes in pension issues. This words sound very strange when we know that Bush said
the "United States take some lessons from Chile, particularly when it comes to how to run our pension plans."
When dictator Augusto Pinochet first advertised the Chilean system of pension, there were the same promises
as now in United States: private investments will be very good for the economy, generating higher returns, and generating pension benefits larger than Social Security's ones. But the Chilean example shows that privatization is a bad idea. The system is not yet self-sustaining, the money spent on pensions represents more than a quarter of the national budget and many elderly live in wrenching
poverty. And this is good for US citizens?
Ten Myths about Social Security (January 26, 2005)
Numerous myths perpetuated by both privatization's advocates and the media have confused the current debate over privatizing Social Security. Here the Century Foundation looks at 10 commonly accepted assertions and points out why each has little to do with reality.
General Protest against the Possible Indexation of
Pensions According to Race (January 26, 2005)
(Article in French)
As the Administration suggested indexing of future Social Security payments according to race and gender, the Democrats demanded that the Chief Executive abandon this proposal. It appears that women would get smaller payments because they live longer while minorities would receive more since they die earlier. How about creating a good society that treats everyone well-health, education, jobs, housing and more-and everyone gets the chance to live a long life?
Free Lunch Plan to Privatize Social Security Is Risky (January 24, 2005)
The Bush's administration proposal about Social Security privatization has not been welcomed. Even the Republicans disagree with him. For the moment, people disagree about the existence of a Social Security crisis. But they will have soon other reasons (such as lower benefits, high fees for private accounts, and a trillion dollar borrowing to finance the transition) to be worried about this reform when they hear Bush's concrete proposal to change the system.
Social (in)Security on Wall St. - Firms shy to openly back Bush plan - (January 23, 2005)
Now that Bush is trying to convince people about a Social Security crisis, much of the U.S. financial-services industry
is very silent. This shows how the nation's brokerages and mutual-fund companies know that they could make a lot of money with privatization. They keep "a very low profile," said Greg Valliere, chief strategist at Stanford Washington Research Group. "They don't want to be identified as proponents, because of the potential backlash." But behind the scenes several companies are lending support to the privatization effort.
What's Behind It? - A Bit Of Social Engineering In Disguise - (January 23, 2005)
For Republicans, Social Security reform could be the kind of donnybrook that health care reform was for Democrats in 1994. The magnitude of the political risk is staggering. On Capitol Hill, many Republicans wonder if they are being led off a cliff. What does President Bush think he's doing? Privatization will increase misery, move poverty, and perhaps racial and class strife as most families see the most effective retirement program in the USA destroyed.
Stakes High for Women in Social Security Battle (January 21, 2005)
"Sixty percent of Social Security beneficiaries are women. A quarter of all women 65 and over depend on the program as their sole income and most of these women are poor." The Bush administration is now campaigning to justify privatizing Social Security. But a lot of organizations like AARP disagree, saying that, without Social Security, there will be a very bad situation, especially for women, disabled persons and older persons. There is a high risk
of increased poverty for all these persons; for example, an analysis of U.S. Census Data shows that fully half of
older women over 65 would be in poverty without Social Security income.
How Bush Wants to Transform the Social Security System (January 20, 2005)
(Article in French)
"If we would like to make bets, we would go to play the money of our pensions in fruit machines," said David Certner, the Director of Federal Affairs of AARP. This words show how many people oppose privatization. Indeed, the entire country is divided about the system proposed by Bush, and the opposition, embodied by the Democrats and the most powerful lobby of pensioners, is still hard. Furthermore, even the Republicans do not agree about the reform. Only the Wall Street companies stay silent: privatization could give them billions of dollars to run. Everything depends now on the capacity of Bush and his administration to convince American people that there is a "scheduled bankrupt" of the Social Security.for the moment, it seems to be very difficult.
Cuts in Disability Benefits Seen in Social Security Plan (January 18, 2005)
Disability benefits may not be safe from the across-the-board cuts in President Bush's proposal to allow personal investment accounts in the Social Security program. Retirement and disability benefits are calculated using the same formula, so if future promised retirement benefits are cut, then disability benefits also would be reduced, unless the program is somehow separated. Read the fine print on this issue because anyone, including the able-bodied, can get disabled in an accidental moment.
Wall Street Lying Low on Social Security (January 18, 2005)
What is the real issue of this Social Security privatization? According to Tom Petruno and Walter Hamilton, the pensioners won't be the winners with the proposed changes. It's not a coincidence if Wall Street's largest firms, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Inc. and Prudential Financial Inc. all declined to comment on the Social Security debate. Actually, it's not a social issue that is going to be treated by the government, but a real "conflict of interest" for the financial companies, who could generate a lot of money from the private accounts, says University of Chicago economics professor Austan Goolsbee.
Social Security Not Facing Crisis, Democrats Say (January 17, 2005)
"The crisis is now," President Bush warned a few weeks ago in support of his proposal to overhaul the 70-year-Social Security system with the introduction of private accounts. Congressional Democrats and their allies counter that there is no Social Security crisis, that the idea has been manufactured by the president to rev up support for a privatization plan that would destroy Social Security.
How to Retire Rich (January 16, 2005)
It's going to be very difficult to retire rich in the United States. Indeed, if the benefits from Social Security do not mean a rich retirement for every older person, they "do provide a guaranteed basic level of financial stability for all old people and, in so doing, enhance the socioeconomic well-being of everyone." But with the plan of privatization, a lot of financial and social problems are going to appear. Both dignity and well-being of pensioners are threatened.
The Bush Proposal Is a Smokescreen for Slashing Benefits (January 14, 2005)
The Bush administration's plan to privatize Social Security is socially and financially absurd. If the current formula for benefits is changed, people won't really have access to the money in individual retirement accounts, they'd have to risk playing the stock market without the chance to strike it rich. Then, it seems that there is no crisis of Social Security: the program "is in strong footing." That's why the opposition is growing. Even Republicans disagree with the project. Perhaps we see the beginning of a big break with Bush on this bedrock social program.
Cutting the Lifeline (January 12, 2005)
Bush has to convince a lot of people if he wants to privatize Social Security, "a lifeline for more than 47 million retirees, disabled workers surviving spouses and children of workers who died young." Even a Republican congressional leadership doesn't agree with this project to destroy "the country's most popular and successful anti-poverty program" that permitted old-age poverty to decline to just over 10 percent in the 1960s. The result of this privatization would be catastrophic for millions of persons, and this because the benefits promised by Bush administration are pretty modest and wouldn't create a sufficient income for older persons. The unhappy results of other countries who have tried going the private account route show that it's not a good idea, except for interest groups and the finance/insurance/real estate who supported Bush during his presidential campaign.
For the Record on Social Security (January 10, 2005)
There is a real problem that need to be solved and that is much more pressing than Social Security reform: Medicare. But it seems that the administration is manipulating information to create the impression of a Social Security system crisis, exaggerating the timing of the system's shortfall for example. And all this manipulation and bad policies are going to drag American people into an economic and social disaster.
Social Security 'Reform': Neither Social nor Secure
- Blind Faith in the Marketplace Would Destroy a Resounding Government Success - (January 6, 2005)
People too young today to have struggled with adult problems back in 1960 will have a hard time imagining what life was like for more than half of the nation's elderly. But they should know, as the Bush administration gently prepares the public for Social Security "reform," that they would not want to go there. And the administration is slowly paving the way.
Another Other America? (January 6, 2005)
Social Security privatization could set US seniors' quality of living back 40 years.
Do you remember the time when half the elderly were poor and older persons represented the age group with the highest rate of poverty? Difficult to retrieve that!...just because a great system called "Social Security" has been created and eradicated one
sad aspect of the American society. And they want to change this big successful system? Are they crazy?
Lynching Social Security - To Eliminate Nation's Safety Net, Bush First Has to Convince Us it's Bad - (January 6, 2005)
"We live in a great country that has got the best health care system in the world, and we need to keep it that way." First, this is not true: as we can see in Donald Bartlett and James Steele's new book "Critical Condition: How Health Care in America Became Big Business -- and Bad Medicine," many countries around the world take better care of their people. Then, it's not by destroying Social Security that American people will "keep it that way." The only ones who are going to benefit from privatization are several GOP groups close to the White House, according to the Washington Post.
Social Security Battle Likely (January 5, 2005)
Two groups of prominent Democratic centrists plan to oppose the centerpiece of President Bush's proposal to privatize Social Security, potentially limiting administration hopes of building bipartisan support. But will the Democrats hold the line to protect Social Security? If you or your loved ones want Social Security intact, then call and write your Senators and Representatives to let them know your strong views supporting Social Security. It's a social justice issue!
Stopping the Bum's Rush (January 4, 2005)
Bush and his administration are going to "hustle America into a tax cut," instead of doing something about the real fiscal threat. The Social Security system doesn't face an imminent crisis: it is in much better financial shape than the rest of the federal government. The real problems are here: the deficit of the general fund due to cutting taxes while carrying out an expensive war and the rising cost of Medicare and Medicaid.
Social Security is NOT the problem!
Social Security Formula Weighed - Bush Plan Likely to Cut Initial Benefits (January 4, 2005)
The Bush administration will likely propose changing the formula that sets initial Social Security benefit levels-- cutting promised benefits by nearly a third in the coming decades, according to several Republicans. This key issue will impact future retirees significantly. The Republican "price-indexing" would help seniors keep up with inflation but it would not allow them to keep up with the "standard of living," as is possible today with wage indexing. This key issue could blind-side future seniors. Price indexing will result in an impoverished old age in the midst of well off working citizens: Keep your ice-box because you won't be able to afford a refrigerator!
Retirement Security worth the Battle to Defend Social Security (January 3, 2005)
AARP spokesperson, Lois Aronstein, says it will vigorously oppose the creation of private accounts that take money out of Social Security. Taking some of the money that workers pay into the system and diverting it into newly created private accounts would weaken Social Security and put benefits for current and future generations at risk.
Warning Over Us Pension Insurance Fund Liabilities (January 2, 2005)
The US pension insurance fund faces a possible tax payer-financed bail-out similar to that of the savings and loans industry in the late 1980s unless Congress changes the rules that govern its funding, prominent economists have warned. What better argument for a national public pension system not tied to the fortunes of a particular industry?
Seniors Gear Up For Fight - Some Elderly Shudder At Thought of Privatization - (January 2, 2005)
Merlin Zollars and friend Lila Hudson are two Navy veterans. They're both nervous about the president's plan to privatize Social Security that would privatize part of social Security contributions into investment accounts, subject to the ups and downs of the stock market. The largest organization in the country representing seniors - the AARP - opposes privatization as well.
A Big Push on Social Security - Private Accounts Are Bush Priority (January 1, 2005)
President Bush's political allies are raising millions of dollars for an election-style campaign to promote private Social Security accounts, as Democrats and Republicans prepare for what they predict will be the most expensive and extensive public policy debate since the 1993 fight over the Clinton administration's failed health care plan.
Can any US citizen look at the cast of corporations paying for the glitzy public campaign and not be suspicious: What's in it for them? More profits and earlier mortality, misery and poverty for "unproductive" older citizens.