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Monday, August 20, 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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Sunday, August 19, 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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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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Tuesday, June 19, 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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