Make that 12%. No, 18%.

Sorry, this one needs a rethink.

How Obama aims to cut Social Security benefits by 10%

Word is that Obama is willing to cut a deal on the f***** c**** (I can’t bear to type the words) that would use the chained CPI (C-CPI-U) to adjust Social Security benefits for the cost of living. Let’s leave aside the technical details of the C-CPI-U vs. the standard CPI-U (the U stands for urban consumers, about 87% of the U.S. population) and the somewhat less standard CPI-W (the W stands for urban wage earners and clerical workers, about 32% of the population) for now. What attracts budget cutters to the… Read More

AARP: your nose is growing

In response to press reports that the AARP has given in to the elite consensus on the need for benefit cuts to Social Security, the organization released this statement: AARP Has Not Changed Its Position on Social Security. After loudly proclaiming its continuing devotion to protecting the program, the statement moves on to this disclosure: It has long been AARP’s policy that Social Security should be strengthened to provide adequate benefits and that it is sufficiently financed to ensure solvency with a stable trust fund for the next 75 years.  It has also… Read More

Latest on Social Security

Following on the NYT quote, I thought it’d be good to post LBO’s most recent take on Social Security: Is the real problem Social Security? Also, this is from my radio commentary for tomorrow: Speaking of austerity, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the AARP, nominally an interest group fighting on behalf of older Americans, has decided to stop resisting calls for cuts to Social Security benefits, reversing its long opposition to such a cruel move. The group’s policy chief, John Rother, said, “The ship was sailing. I wanted to… Read More

Immigrants swelling Social Security coffers

A few days late on this, but better that than never: taxes paid by so-called “illegal immigrants” have added massively to the Social Security system’s assets, reports Edward Schumacher-Matos in the Washington Post. Of course, somewhere between many and most of these immigrants will never draw benefits. As he points out, there’s a great political irony to this, since the most vocal nativists leading the charge against immigration “are mostly older or retired whites from longtime American families. The very people, in other words, who benefit most from the Social Security payments by unauthorized… Read More

Radio commentary, August 21, 2010

[Since today’s show was unusually filled with material—a rerun of the Diane Ravitch interview that first ran last April—I kept the introductory comments short. But I did want to get this on the record, for people who think I’m something of a happy-talker.] Evidence of an economic slowdown continues to roll in. First-time claims for unemployment insurance, filed by people who’ve just lost their jobs, have been creeping up for the last few weeks after falling for most of the year. It’s quite possible that the weak job gains of the last… Read More

Robert Reich on Social Security: no problem

Going through past LBOs in order to put together a greatest hits anthology to be published to mark the newsletter’s 25th anniversary next year, I came across this, from issue #92, November 1999: Reich on crisis This newsletter has long argued that the Social Security crisis is a concoction based on preposterously low economic growth assumptions. In the course of an interview with former Labor Secretary Robert Reich on a different matter, LBO was able to ask him a couple of questions on the topic. Here’s a transcript: For several years, you… Read More

Happy 75th, Social Security

Tomorrow marks the 75th anniversary of FDR’s signing of the bill that created Social Security. Despite—or perhaps—because of the program’s popularity and success, the austerity party has its knives out for it. Keyed to the anniversary, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has published a very useful factsheet on Social Security: how it’s reduced poverty among the elderly, and how it offers quite a few services for the young. It’s been a while since I did a piece in LBO on the preposterous assumptions behind the projections of the system’s imminent… Read More

Radio commentary, March 13, 2010

Recovery watch In a business cycle update, the grinding slog of a recovery continues. Last week, we learned that the job market looked got a little less bad in February than it was getting for most of 2009. On Friday, we learned that the retail sector had a not-bad February. Broad composite measures of the state of the U.S. economy, like the Conference Board’s Coincident Index and the Chicago Fed’s National Activity Index (CFNAI), are basically getting back to the zero line after deep collapses. Most measures, however, are behaving rather weakly… Read More