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Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Call for Proposals to Improve the Social Security Disability Insurance Program

Marc Goldwein, Committee for a Responsible Budget

My colleagues and I at the CRFB have been working on an initiative, led by former Congressmen Earl Pomeroy and Jim McCrery, to identify and put forward meaningful improvements that could be made to the SSDI program. The McCrery-Pomeroy SSDI Solutions Initiative hopes to generate the types of reforms that could accompany reallocation, interfund borrowing, or (preferably) a comprehensive Social Security reform package.

As part of the initiative, we have spoken with program experts, advocates, and practitioners of all different perspectives and ideologies. These discussions confirmed what we already knew to be the case: the SSDI program provides a vital support structure for many workers with disabilities and their families. But they also identified several areas where the program and the government could be doing better.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Big Tax Increase Nobody Noticed

Dean Baker and Nicole Woo, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

The 2011-12 Social Security payroll tax holiday ended in January 2013, which meant that the vast majority of working Americans faced a two percent cut in their take-home pay. 

Compared to past payroll tax increases, this was an extraordinarily large and sudden one. For example, from 1980 to 1990 the rate was increased gradually by a total of 2.24 percentage points; in no year did the rate rise by more than 0.72 percentage points, or just over one-third of the 2013 increase. (This combines the employer and employee side tax increases. In 2013, the whole tax increase was on the employee side.)

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Posted on September 30, 2014  |  6 comments  |  Add your comment
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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Rashi Fein, Ph.D.: A Remembrance

Joel Kavet, MPH, ScD, Madison Park Healthcare Consulting, LLC, Bethesda, MD

Alan B. Cohen, ScD, Boston University School of Management

Harold Luft, Palo Alto Medical Research Institute and UCSF

Victor Fuchs, PhD, Henry J. Kaiser, Jr. Professor Emeritus, Stanford University

Rashi FeinRashi Fein, our longtime friend and colleague, Professor of the Economics of Medicine, Emeritus, at Harvard Medical School, passed away on Monday, September 8, 2014, at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA.  He was 88 years of age, and the cause of death was melanoma.

Rashi was born in the Bronx, New York, and grew up in a number of cities in the U.S. and Canada.  He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and received his Bachelor’s and PhD degrees from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in Mathematics (1948) and Economics (1956), respectively.

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Posted on September 18, 2014  |  Write the first comment
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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bring Back Social Security Replacement Rates!

Alicia H. Munnell, Center for Retirement Research, Boston College

Each year, the Social Security actuaries project the system’s financial outlook over the next 75 years, and these projections are published in the annual Trustees Report.  Since 1989, these Reports have included data on future benefits as a percent of pre-retirement earnings – commonly called replacement rates – for workers at different places on the income scale.  That is, the Reports did include these data until this year, when the trustees decided to delete them.

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Posted on September 2, 2014  |  1 comment  |  Add your comment
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Monday, July 21, 2014

The Myth of Health Care Costs

James Westley McGaughey, Mills College

The 2014 NASI conference on “Strengthening the Web of Financial and Retirement Security for Today’s Working Americans” was an experience I will not soon forget. No doubt it was inspiring. When I think about the web of financial and retirement security instruments, whereas I used to perceive nothing short of an uncomfortable future, I now feel a bit at ease knowing that so many of the illustrious folks I met at the conference are hard at work safeguarding Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

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Posted on July 21, 2014  |  Write the first comment
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