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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Addressing Inequality, Increasing Economic Security

William Arnone, CEO, National Academy of Social Insurance

A new study indicates that the United States continues to lose ground when it comes to addressing inequality. According to the latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) released in September 2019, the gap between the richest and poorest U.S. households is now the largest it has been in the past fifty years. Despite a national economy with low rates of unemployment, more than ten years of consecutive growth in gross domestic product (GDP), and median household income at an all-time high ($61,937 for 2018), disparities in income along racial, generational, and geographic lines grew.

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Recession Readiness: The Role of Social Insurance

William Arnone, Chief Executive Officer

Recession Watch

A defining trait of severe recessions is the staggering levels of long-term unemployment that follow. During the last recession, between 2008 and 2009, 8.4 million jobs, or 6.1% of all payroll employment at the time, were lost. Prior to the last recession, the largest share of the unemployed experiencing long-term unemployment was 26.0% in the early 1980s. The same long-term unemployment rate exceeded 40% into the early 2010s, amounting to over 4%of the entire labor force, and is only now falling to pre-recessionary levels.

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Friday, August 16, 2019

Expertise and Engagement

Bill Arnone, CEO, National Academy of Social Insurance

As we strive to enhance our Academy’s effectiveness in fulfilling our mission – increase public understanding of how social insurance contributes to economic security and advance solutions to challenges facing the nation – one of my major concerns in today’s polarized environment is the distrust of expertise among segments of the U.S. population.

Some of this distrust is due to deliberate efforts to undermine evidence-based research. My January 2017 message to Academy Members, “What does a “post-truth” era mean for the Academy?” addressed this. There are, however, other factors in such distrust.

Nervous States

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Friday, June 14, 2019

Strengthening Social Insurance: The Role of Policy Innovation Challenges

Elaine Weiss, Lead Policy Analyst - Income Security

The National Academy of Social Insurance and AARP will soon be announcing the winners of the 2019 Social Security Policy Innovations Challenge: Ensuring Adequacy for Workers. Through this Challenge, we will identify 3-5 feasible policy proposals that specifically address the income adequacy needs of older workers, who must claim Social Security retirement benefits before their full retirement age due to ill health, an inability to continue to perform physically demanding jobs, or other factors. (This 2019 Challenge in some ways builds on past crowdsourcing efforts the Academy has led over the past decade. As discussed further below, the Academy’s Challenges have produced a range of feasible ideas and policy proposals for strengthening Social Security.)

 

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Posted on June 14, 2019  |  1 comment  |  Add your comment
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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Socialism or Social Insurance?

Bill Arnone, CEO, National Academy of Social Insurance

The political air is charged these days with claims that various policy ideas, like Medicare-For-All and the Green New Deal, are “socialistic.” Such charges have been made in American history since the late 19th century, often in response to bold new policy concepts put forward to address gaps in income and health care security. This leads us to revisit a fundamental question – what differentiates Socialism from Social Insurance?

Social Insurance as Collective Action

In the words of Robert M. Ball, Founding Chair of our Academy: “Social insurance derives its unique strength from the principle that the best form of self-protection is mutual aid on a universal scale; when everyone contributes, everyone can be protected.” Academy Member and historian Edward D. Berkowitz also quotes Bob Ball:

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