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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

AmericaSpeaks: Our Budget, Our Economy

Janice Gregory
President, National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI)

You might have heard about AmericaSpeaks: Our Budget, Our Economy, a national non-partisan conversation on June 26, 2010 on the federal budget. Thousands of people will weigh the options available, including options that affect our national social insurance programs, and will voice their priorities in 19 facilitated discussions in cities that are linked from location to location by satellite and webcast.

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Posted on June 9, 2010  |  1 comment  |  Add your comment
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Friday, May 14, 2010

Focusing on Lifetime Income is the Best Way Women and Men Can Manage Their Retirement

Cindy Hounsell
President, Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER)

The topic of retirement security has implications for a range of stakeholders—the financial services industry, employers, policymakers, individuals and their families, and societies in general.  For so many years, so much of the public discussion on retirement income security has been about inadequate savings.  This subject continues to merit significant attention, but now we are starting to look at the phase of retirement itself and asking what people can do to ensure lifetime income and protect themselves from poverty.  All stakeholders have a role to play in reframing the way people think about retirement income.

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Posted on May 14, 2010  |  1 comment  |  Add your comment
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Calling All Champions of Social Security

Harry C. Ballantyne
Cheif Actuary, Retired, Social Security Administration

In going to the Baltimore Museum of Art recently, I saw a painting that had, as an artist's name "Circle of Rembrandt." When I asked one of the docents at the museum what that meant, I found that originally, it was thought to be a painting by Rembrandt, but found later not to be. The painting turned out to be by one of Rembrandt's students, so they decided to credit the artwork to the name "Circle of Rembrandt."

Consequently, in honor of Bob Ball and his legacy, I think it would be fitting that future good (and, they would have to be good) ideas for improvements in the financing and adequacy of Social Security benefits may merit the name "Circle of Bob Ball."

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Steve Goss, SSA's Chief Actuary, on the Death of Robert J. Myers

Stephen C. Goss

Robert "Bob" Myers was indeed the father of all actuaries who have worked on Social Insurance. As a junior actuary he was deeply involved in the development of the Social Security program even before its inception in 1935. As Chief Actuary at SSA he later did the development work and estimates for Medicare. Although contentious at times in the past, his relationship with Bob Ball reflected mutual respect and principles that now seem far closer together than they believed at the time. Bob was active, engaged, and advising to those who followed to the end. He is singularly responsible for the strength and principles now cherished and guarded at the office he formed. But he will be best remembered by many of us for his simple and modest disclaimer at the beginning of public comments for decades where he proclaimed himself "a lifelong student of Social Security."
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Posted on February 17, 2010  |  5 comments  |  Add your comment
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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Why Do We Call Taxes a `Burden'?

Rashi Fein

This 1996 op-ed, originally published in The Washington Post, is as timely as ever.

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I learn a lot watching C-SPAN. The other night, one of Washington's leading economists was asked about using the tax system to help reduce environmental damage. The response? It certainly would be difficult, because it would increase the `tax burden.'

`Tax burden' is a phrase with which we are all so familiar that we don't stop to think what it means--nor what it implies. At first blush it seems value-free. But plainly a `burden' is something to be lifted. We don't refer to the monies we spend on movies, popcorn, milk or shoes as `burdens.' We refer to them--and think of them--as expenditures, some (movies and popcorn) optional, others (food, shoes) necessary. We don't speak of our `consumption burden.' Why, then, a `tax burden'?

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Posted on April 15, 2009  |  2 comments  |  Add your comment
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