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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Response to Larry Kotlikoff

Larry Thompson, Founding Board Member, National Academy of Social Insurance

Larry Kotlikoff advocates replacing the current defined-benefit [Fixing Social Security, May 20, 2014], mostly-pay-as-you-go Social Security system with a system of funded individual accounts financed by mandatory contributions. This general approach was first adopted by Chile almost 35 years ago, and soon became popular among that set of economists most enamored with the universal superiority of markets as a mechanism for allocating resources. In the latter half of the 1990s, the approach was promoted internationally by the World Bank.

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Posted on May 20, 2014  |  15 comments  |  Add your comment
Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Fixing Social Security

Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Boston University

Social Security is America's most cherished public policy program and one of the most successful. Today, and for several decades before, Social Security accounts for 55% of the annual income of U.S. households headed by adults ages 65 and older. The improved financial strength of our seniors has helped preserve a viable standard of living for many of them. In addition, it has reduced the financial and emotional stress of families trying to support multiple generations.

But past success is a poor yardstick for measuring the current viability of a social insurance program. Moreover, failure to identify current issues with Social Security and offer solutions can leave Congress under-informed and under pressure to produce a “quick fix.” No good can come of that.

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Posted on May 20, 2014  |  1 comment  |  Add your comment
Friday, May 9, 2014

Harry Clay Ballantyne, a Great Contributor to Social Security

Stephen C. Goss, Social Security Administration

Harry was such a class act. Many of us in the Office of the Actuary, where Harry served his entire career, learned so much from Harry, as we did from the Bobs- Bob Ball and Bob Myers.  Harry was a mentor to several generations in the office.

As longtime actuary at SSA, he worked on all components of the OASDI program. Harry was involved in every detail of the computations and the presentation and was hugely respected by all.  Harry was soft spoken, but he was strong and decisive.  His work until 1982 in the Short-Range estimates component of the Office of the Actuary spanned several major reforms, including the 1972 and 1977 Social Security Amendments.  His leadership and ability to command the respect and confidence of policymakers vastly expanded the ability of the office to assist and influence policy in Congress and in the Administration. 

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Posted on May 9, 2014  |  9 comments  |  Add your comment
Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Denying Unemployment Insurance to Millionaires

Stephen Wandner, Urban Institute and W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

“Unemployment compensation should permit such a worker, who becomes unemployed, to draw a cash benefit for a limited period during which there is expectation that he will soon be reemployed. This should be a contractual right not dependent on any means test.”

Report to the President of the Committee on Economic Security, January 1, 1935, p. 14.[1]

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