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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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Sunday, August 7, 2005

A Slow Death

Walter Shur, New York Life Insurance Company (Retired)

One of the reasons the Bush Social Security plan is dying is that the public instinctively knows it is not being told the truth. Here is a prime example:

The President Giveth And The President Taketh Away.

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Thursday, February 3, 2005

Balancing Risk and Guarantees

Carson E. Beadle, Chairman The Health Project

As the least equipped of our distinguished writers I am perhaps least to be considered. That said, I have been struck over the years by one factor in the continuing debate on the extent of social benefits. And that is the balance between the degree of personal risk that keeps us alert and the comfort of guarantees to the extent they engender complacency.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Chilean prescription will worsen US social security ills

Carmelo Mesa-Lago, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Pittsburgh

Jośe Piñera, former minister of labor under Pinochet and the “father” of pension privatization in Chile, as well as a promoter of that approach throughout the world, has recently discussed his conversations with and encouragement to President Bush to apply the Chilean prescription to cure U.S. social security ills (New York Times, December 1, 2004, A81).

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