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2012 Discussion Archive

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Giving Thanks: Key Programs Keep 26 Million Out of Poverty

Jasmine V. Tucker, National Academy of Social Insurance

This Thanksgiving, Americans across the country can be thankful for four critical programs that helped keep nearly 26 million people out of poverty in 2011, including three social insurance programs: Social Security, unemployment insurance (UI), and workers' compensation, and a related program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Quick Facts on Social Security’s 1.7% COLA for 2012

Elisa Walker, National Academy of Social Insurance

This morning the Social Security Administration announced that beneficiaries will see a 1.7% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) beginning in their January 2013 checks. Social Security benefits are automatically adjusted to keep up with the cost of living.

Key points from the release:

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Posted on October 16, 2012  |  Write the first comment
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Quick Facts from Newest Census Poverty Data

Jasmine V. Tucker, National Academy of Social Insurance

Today marks the release of new data from the Census Bureau on Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2011. Some key points from the report are:

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Women, the Vote, and Social Security: Celebrating Women’s Equality Day

Thomas N. Bethell, National Academy of Social Insurance

In 1875 the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution did not grant women the right to vote. It then took women 42 years to win that right — from May 16, 1878, when Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton persuaded a few members of Congress to introduce a women’s suffrage amendment, until August 26, 1920, when the 19th Amendment was finally adopted.

Two years later the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the amendment, demonstrating that the laws of the land can be changed — for good cause. And on August 26, 2012 — officially Women’s Equality Day, observed every year on August 26 — Americans of both genders once again honor those who devoted their lives to that cause.

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Posted on August 24, 2012  |  Write the first comment
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Retrenchment of Privately Managed Individual Accounts in Central Europe

Elaine Fultz, Former director of the International Labor Organization office for Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia

The partial privatization of Central European pension systems is now a well-known phenomenon.  Beginning in the late 1990s, with support from the World Bank, many Central European governments scaled down their public, pay-as-you-go pensions and established mandatory, privately managed individual investment accounts.  Hungary and Poland led this process, launching new second tier accounts in 1998 and 1999, respectively.  They were soon followed by Latvia (2001), Bulgaria, Croatia and Estonia (2002), Lithuania (2004), Slovakia (2005), the Republic of Macedonia (2006), and Romania (2008). Since capitalized accounts require three to four decades to accumulate sufficient funds to pay full benefits, this major pension restructuring is still at an early stage.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Results from the 2012 NASI Summer Academy: A Young Person's Perspective of Social Security

Chidi Ahaghotu, Halley Brunsteter, and Tessa Conroy

Every year the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) hosts Demystifying Social Security, a day-long academy for young people in Washington, DC.  During the event, attendees are asked to consider policy options for reform that would determine the future of Social Security.  The results indicate that young people, like other Americans, value Social Security and support moderate policy reform to strengthen the program.

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Posted on August 20, 2012  |  Write the first comment
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Friday, July 6, 2012

Three Years of Sluggish Recovery Means UI Benefits are Still Critical for Millions of Unemployed Workers

Jasmine V. Tucker, National Academy of Social Insurance

Three years into a very modest recovery, unemployed workers continue to experience hardship and are facing cuts to emergency unemployment insurance benefits.

June 2009 marked both the official end of the Great Recession and the beginning of the current recovery, which has been plagued by high unemployment rates, historic long-term unemployment, and sluggish job growth. The national unemployment rate in June 2012 was 8.2%, 3.2 percentage points higher than at the start of the recession in December 2007, and the employment situation in most states is still bleak. If we consider a broader unemployment measure that includes workers who have given up searching for work and those who are underemployed (employed but not working as many hours as they would like), the unemployment rate is much higher -- 14.6%.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Native Americans Voice their Support of Social Security

Jennifer Clark, National Academy of Social Insurance

Social Security was on the agenda this week at the mid-year conference of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) in Lincoln, NE. This conference is a chance for tribal leaders to vote on resolutions that will establish the organization’s position on issues relevant to Native people and tribal nations. One resolution, Social Security and American Indian Elders, called for NCAI to take a position against raising the retirement age, against reducing Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), and for finding broader sources of income to ensure Social Security’s solvency. In essence, the resolution asked NCAI’s member tribes to push back against cuts to Social Security.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Medicare and Medicaid Reforms That Can Help Curb Costs

Adam Jutha

Increased use of comparative effectiveness research in funding decisions for Medicare and Medicaid programs will ensure technologic advancements demonstrate cost containment strategies and improved quality of health care services when new medical innovation is proposed for use in the United States’ health care system, thereby reducing overall health care expenditures.

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Social Security: It’s for young people, too

Elisa Walker, National Academy of Social Insurance

I’m a young American; I value Social Security; and this week in particular, I’m feeling reassured that Social Security is on solid footing and will be there for me when I need it. In fact, I see it as a great investment. 

To some, these statements might seem unrealistic, especially given all the negative media coverage that followed the release of the 2012 Social Security Trustees Report last week. But despite the doomsday responses, the reality is actually reassuring – especially for today’s young people, who are used to hearing misleading accounts to the contrary.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

World’s best investment? Delaying Social Security

Thomas N. Bethell, Visiting Scholar, National Academy of Social Insurance

That headline – atop a recent Wall Street Journal column by Jack Hough, associate editor of SmartMoney.com – pretty much says it all.

Hough writes: “For an investment return that tops those offered by hedge funds, insurance firms or Wall Street banks, baby boomers should look to Social Security… All you need is a way to make ends meet while delaying the start of Social Security benefits from age 62 to as old as 70.”

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Posted on April 27, 2012  |  3 comments  |  Add your comment
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Monday, April 23, 2012

Social Security: Some Key Facts to Keep in Mind

Janice Gregory, National Academy of Social Insurance

With the release of the 2012 Social Security Trustees Report, we can expect to hear another round of sharp debates on Social Security’s financial picture. We must see to it that these discussions do not lose sight of some important facts.

Despite concerns in some quarters about Social Security’s long-term stability, the truth is that the program remains sound and, with some timely improvements, will continue to provide security to millions of Americans for generations to come.

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Posted on April 23, 2012  |  Write the first comment
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Monday, March 19, 2012

The Affordable Care Act Turns Two

Lee Goldberg, National Academy of Social Insurance

Sabiha Zainulbhai, National Academy of Social Insurance

March 23rd, 2012 will mark the second anniversary of the signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). This legislation represents one of the largest and most comprehensive reforms to the American health care system since the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. The ACA seeks to extend coverage to roughly 50 million uninsured Americans, slowing down the growth in the cost of health care, and improving the quality of care health care by changing the delivery system.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Young Person’s Debate

Alex Wirth

The young person’s debate on Social Security has been particularly one-sided lately.  Last fall at the Harvard Institute of Politics, I helped write and analyze a poll of over 2,000 young people ages 18-29.  We found that 78 percent of young people were concerned that the Social Security system would not be able to provide the benefits they expected when they retired.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Social Security Debate and American Democracy

Eloy Fisher

Social Security is not in crisis, as Ken Buffin reminded us in his presentation at NASI's 24th annual policy research conference on January 26 in Washington, DC. For the next 25 years, Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) trust funds are 100% solvent, and beyond that window, 90% solvent for two more decades.

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