On Tuesday, November 7, the Academy hosted an educational forum for 30 members of a delegation of government officials from the Guangdong Province of China. The officials, representing various departments within the provincial government, were participants of Georgetown University’s Global Education Institute, which provides an executive program for Chinese provincial civil servants. Academy members and staff provided an overview of four key areas of the American system of social insurance.
Last Thursday, big thinkers from around the country joined the Academy in Washington, DC to discuss how Social Security policy could respond to prevailing demographic, economic, and workforce trends. Video of the event can be accessed here. The policy options discussed were not the familiar “Lego pieces” of Social Security policy, as AARP’s Chief Public Policy Officer, Debra Whitman, put it in her closing remarks at the forum.
Having recently completed my first year as the Academy’s Chief Executive Officer, I’ve reflected on my many interactions with Academy Members at our annual Membership meeting, Policy Conference, 30th Anniversary celebration, and other events that we have sponsored, as well as emails and phone conversations.
Among the questions most frequently posed to me are:
- Why has the Academy chosen “inequality” as our overarching strategic theme and framework?
- What does this mean for the Academy’s policy work?
I first addressed this issue in a letter to the New York Times published in February 2015.
During the 2016 campaign, President Trump promised not to cut Social Security. Yet the White House’s FY 2018 Budget proposes up to $64 billion in cuts to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) expenditures. The cuts stem mostly from measures to “test new program rules and processes and require mandatory participation by program applicants and beneficiaries,” with the objective of moving disabled beneficiaries from the SSDI program into fuller labor market participation.
A decade ago when Congress debated President George W. Bush’s proposal for partial privatization of Social Security, U.S. pension analysts scrutinized the experience of countries that had replaced, or partially replaced, social insurance with privately managed investment accounts, seeking lessons for the United States. In the years since Congress rejected the Bush proposal, U.S. analysts have focused less on these foreign systems. Yet they continue to offer rich insights into the challenges of ensuring retirement security through individual accounts.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us recall the contributions to our nation’s vibrant social insurance infrastructure by those women who are no longer with us, but whose legacies remain strong.
Among these often unsung heroines are:
What issue did Bob Ball say we couldn’t win and therefore wanted off of the front page? Who said “every good principle can be carried too far?” Find out in the third in a series of podcast interviews, when Academy CEO William Arnone sits with Founding Member Larry Thompson. Thompson is a former U.S. government official and former Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC. Listen now.
In the first of a series of podcast interviews, National Academy of Social Insurance CEO William Arnone interviews Founding Member Nancy Altman about the early days of the Academy. Altman is co-director of Social Security Works and author of The Battle for Social Security: From FDR’s Vision to Bush’s Gamble (John Wiley & Sons, 2005). Listen now.
Tomorrow's announcement by the Social Security Administration about the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security benefits, effective January 2017, is likely to be met with questioning and concerns by many current beneficiaries, particularly in an election year and after no COLA was received in 2016. (That marked only the third year without a COLA in four decades.)
Social Security’s annual COLA is intended to protect the purchasing power of benefits against erosion by price inflation. It is important to many beneficiaries that benefits keep up with the cost of living, because other sources of income typically decline with age. As individuals grow older, their pensions are eroded by inflation, employment options end, spouses cope with widowhood, and savings are depleted - and they rely even more on Social Security.