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2020 Discussion Archive

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Reflecting on 2020

William Arnone, CEO

Latin offers us a phrase that aptly captures 2020: “annus horribilis.”

The COVID-19 pandemic, the severe economic catastrophe it is causing, and the ongoing violence directed at people of color combined to bring anguish, illness, and death to millions of people across the United States. Hardships have been numerous, and unevenly experienced. Such widespread pain is taking a toll on our society.

In view of these unprecedented and intertwined threats, the Academy reoriented our work to elevate the critical role of social insurance in addressing these crises. Our range of activities and new research projects this past year included:

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Posted on December 17, 2020  |  Write the first comment
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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Building Equity: Overcoming Disparities for Longer, Healthier Lives

Jean Accius, Senior Vice President, AARP Thought Leadership and International Affairs

Julia Elrod, Senior Program Analyst, AARP Thought Leadership and International Affairs

As the year draws to a close, our nation is still grappling with a trilogy of crises: an explosive increase in COVID-19 cases, deepening economic instability that has people waiting hours in line at food banks, and ongoing geographic and racial disparities that disenfranchise the most vulnerable among us.  In response to these serious issues, AARP has been working to respond over the last several months through our Building Equity series with the Social Innovation Summit.  We have engaged global thought leaders across sectors, developed thoughtful analysis, and worked to identify innovative solutions to meet this moment and promote meaningful change.

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Monday, December 7, 2020

OECD’s Misleading Retirement Replacement Income Statistic for the United States

James Russell, Portland State University

According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s influential Pensions at a Glance, the United States has a gross retirement income replacement rate for average-income workers of 70.3 percent (see table 5.3). On the face of it, a 70.3 percent replacement rate is impressive. It matches the 70 percent replacement rate that most financial advisors consider to be the goal of retirement planning strategies. That will surprise those who believe there is a growing retirement crisis in this country. Given the prestige of the OECD, it would seem to be prima face evidence that the retirement crisis is a myth.

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Saturday, November 21, 2020

Event Recap: 2020 Ball Award Virtual Ceremony

Posted on November 21, 2020  |  Write the first comment
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Friday, November 20, 2020

Social Insurance and the 2020 Election

William Arnone, Chief Executive Officer

This is the first in a series of articles about the 2020 election, its aftermath, and implications for social insurance policy.

Despite a relentless attempt to undermine the results of the 2020 election, our nation is preparing for the start of a new Administration and the 117th Congress.

The National Academy of Social Insurance plays a valuable nonpartisan role in this process by providing policymakers, journalists, educators, other leaders, and the public with knowledge about the nation's social insurance programs. We work with Academy Members and partners to provide objective, evidence-based analyses, policy options, and answers to questions facing policymakers.

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Posted on November 20, 2020  |  Write the first comment
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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

In Memoriam: Thomas Golden & Michael Wiseman

William Arnone, Chief Executive Officer

We recently learned of the passing of two Academy Members: Thomas Golden and Michael Wiseman.

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Posted on November 18, 2020  |  Write the first comment
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Monday, November 9, 2020

In Memoriam: Phil Lee

William Arnone, CEO, National Academy of Social Insurance

Academy Founding Member Dr. Philip R. Lee passed away last month. The New York Times obituary described him aptly as “a fighter for social justice.”

As Phil wrote in the summer 2015 issue of Generations, the journal of the American Society on Aging: “Medicare was my entrée into a long and exciting career in health policy. The efforts I was involved in to advocate for, implement, and refine the program had a profound impact on me.” He noted that, as a proponent of universal health care legislation in the 1960s, he was “repeatedly accused of being a socialist.”

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Posted on November 9, 2020  |  2 comments  |  Add your comment
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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

A Triple Play: New Academy Task Forces

William Arnone, Chief Executive Officer

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare major weaknesses and gaps in our existing social insurance ecosystem.

The National Academy of Social Insurance is responding with the launch of three new Task Forces to examine critical social insurance issues over the next year.

  • The first will be an will be an interdisciplinary task force on how the crises driven by COVID-19 interact with social insurance programs.
  • The second will explore potential large-scale reforms to the Unemployment Insurance system.
  • The third will explore options to improve retirement security for older workers who are in physically demanding jobs.

 

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Posted on October 20, 2020  |  Write the first comment
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Monday, September 21, 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Social Security

William Arnone, Chief Executive Officer

Among Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s many legal accomplishments was her role in successfully challenging gender discrimination in the Social Security Act.

In 1974, as a law professor at Columbia University and founder of The Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, she filed suit against Caspar Weinberger, then Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, on the basis that Social Security’s treatment of surviving spouses violated the equal protection and due process clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

At issue was the Social Security Act’s provision of surviving spouse benefits (Section 402(g)). In this case, the plaintiff was a widower who claimed that he should receive survivor benefits determined the same way as for widows, so that he would be able to care for their child.

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Posted on September 21, 2020  |  1 comment  |  Add your comment
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Friday, September 11, 2020

Book Review: The Vanishing American Dream

William Arnone, CEO, National Academy of Social Insurance

Over Labor Day, I read The Vanishing American Dream, by Gene Ludwig (Disruption Books, 2020). He is Chief Executive Officer and Founder of IBM’s Promontory Financial Group and served as the Comptroller of the Currency during the Clinton Administration. He is a long-time colleague and Promontory was a sponsor of the Academy’s 2013 Ball Award.

The book relates the proceedings of an April 2019 symposium at Yale Law School in which just over two dozen thought leaders, including Academy Members Larry Summers and 2020 Ball Award recipient Jacob Hacker, offered their perspectives on “the economic realities facing middle- and lower-income Americans.”

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Posted on September 11, 2020  |  Write the first comment
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Friday, September 11, 2020

How do today’s injured workers fare, compared to yesterday’s pirates?

Elaine Weiss, Lead Policy Analyst for Income Security; Jay Patel, Research Assistant

Workers’ compensation experts have expressed concern in recent years about the impact of decades of state cost-cutting measures and resulting uneven and increasingly inadequate benefits for injured workers.[1] Indeed, a ProPublica investigation reveals the steep decline in compensation for disabling injuries, including cutting off benefits long before many workers have recovered and refusing coverage for necessary aspects of care: “Over the past decade, state after state has been dismantling America’s workers’ comp system with disastrous consequences for many of the hundreds of thousands of people who suffer serious injuries at work each year.”[2]

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Friday, September 4, 2020

Highlights from our 2020 Virtual Internship Programs

Barbara Goldschmidt, Programs Coordinator

Despite the pandemic, and in some ways because of it, the Academy’s 2020 Summer Internship Programs offered unique opportunities. Although many internships were canceled, the Academy was able to launch a 100% virtual program with eight students from across the country.

2020 INTERNSHIP PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

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Posted on September 4, 2020  |  Write the first comment
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Thursday, September 3, 2020

In Memoriam: Stan Ross

William Arnone, CEO, National Academy of Social Insurance

Stanford G. Ross, a former National Academy of Social Insurance Board President (1990-1992), passed away last week. Stan’s remarkable career included serving at the U.S. Treasury Department, on the White House domestic policy staff, as the seventh Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, as Chairman of the Social Security Advisory Board, and as a Public Trustee of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds.

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Posted on September 3, 2020  |  1 comment  |  Add your comment
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Friday, August 14, 2020

COVID-19 has Weakened Key Elements of Retirement Security, but We Can Strengthen Them

Tyler Bond, Research Manager, National Institute on Retirement Security

Elaine Weiss, Lead Policy Analyst for Income Security, National Academy of Social Insurance

Many Americans had reason to be concerned about their retirement prospects long before 2020. For decades, the racial wealth gap between Whites and African-Americans has increased, while the gap between Whites and Latinos has not diminished. Workers of color and low-income workers have long had less stable jobs, which provided fewer supports and exposed them to higher risks.

Now, communities that were already the most vulnerable to being insecure in retirement have been hit hardest by COVID-19. This is especially concerning for women of color, who tend to have low-wage, front-line jobs.

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Friday, August 14, 2020

Social Security at 85: Trump’s executive order and the program’s future

William Arnone, Chief Executive Officer

August 14, 2020, marks the 85th anniversary of the Social Security Act. Today, Social Security is one of the nation’s most popular government programs. 

The Trump Administration recently issued an executive order temporarily suspending workers’ contributions to Social Security– a move without bipartisan support. President Trump has also indicated his desire to permanently end these dedicated contributions from workers and employers.

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Posted on August 14, 2020  |  Write the first comment
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