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2020 Discussion Archive

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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Friday, July 24, 2020

Caregiving needs across the country, Biden’s $775 billion proposal, and a social insurance approach

Bethany Cole, Research Assistant for Health Policy

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted both severe inadequacy and major inequalities in our country's caregiving infrastructure. Prior to the pandemic, needs for child care, as well as long-term services and supports (LTSS) for older adults and adults living with disabilities, were already growing.

For many families, care demands may become unmanageable, or manageable only at significant cost to family members’ health, well-being, income, and careers. This is especially true for women — especially women of color — who face stark disadvantages in terms of financial security and labor force attachment when meaningful access to affordable early child care and education (ECCE), and to paid family and medical leave (PFML), are lacking.

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Posted on July 24, 2020  |  Write the first comment
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Monday, July 20, 2020

A Message from the Chair and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Academy of Social Insurance

As our Academy starts a new fiscal year, we wish to express deep gratitude to our Members and colleagues for their ongoing support of our work, especially during this time of economic and health catastrophes.

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Posted on July 20, 2020  |  Write the first comment
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Monday, July 20, 2020

In Memoriam: John Lewis

William Arnone, CEO, National Academy of Social Insurance

We have lost a true hero. Representative John Lewis passed away on Friday, July 17, 2020.

One of the leaders of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the last surviving speaker from the 1963 March on Washington, Congressman Lewis represented the state of Georgia in the House of Representatives since 1987. He was often referred to as “the conscience of Congress.”

An ardent supporter of Social Security, his Congressional website includes the following statement:

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Posted on July 20, 2020  |  4 comments  |  Add your comment
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Friday, June 19, 2020

How the Unemployment Insurance system is failing workers of color

Elaine Weiss, Lead Policy Analyst for Income Security

The protests sweeping the United States (and cities around the world) over the past couple of weeks reflect not just rightful outrage over the heinous murders of George Floyd and others. They are the product of pent-up rage at systemic disparities that make daily life unstable, undignified, and unsafe for people and communities of color. 

As we at the Academy grapple with how our work has sought to help reduce these disparities, and how we have fallen short, the most recent data on joblessness and poverty trends shine a spotlight on both, illuminating the urgent work ahead of us.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Reflecting on the Academy’s commitment to the Movement for Black Lives

We remain outraged and pained by the heinous murders of Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black people in the United States, killed by police brutality and racial injustice. We send our heartfelt condolences to the families and communities directly and deeply impacted by these travesties of justice. We stand with the many communities, organizations, and activists leading the fight for racial equity and justice.

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Friday, May 15, 2020

Focusing efforts on reducing costs of COVID-19 for those least able to bear them

Elaine Weiss, Lead Analyst for Income Security

Over the past two months, it has become clear that, like many other crises to hit the United States in recent decades – Hurricanes Katrina, Harvey, and Maria and the floods and droughts that have wiped out farms across the Midwest and California – the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately hurting those with the fewest resources to cope. The second Virtual Roundtable in the Academy’s Responding to COVID-19 series highlighted these realities.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Social Security's Financing and Benefits

William Arnone, Chief Executive Officer

The 2020 Report of the Social Security Trustees, released on April 22nd, notes that, using its best-estimate assumptions, the reserves of the combined Old Age Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds along with projected program income are sufficient to cover projected program cost over the next 10 years. By 2035, however, these combined reserves are projected to be depleted. Unless Congress acts, the projected revenues will be sufficient to pay only 79% of scheduled benefits.

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Posted on May 12, 2020  |  1 comment  |  Add your comment
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