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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Social Security and Budget Deficits: Don’t Lose Sight of the Facts

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

With the release of the new Social Security Trustees annual report, we can expect to hear sharp debates on Social Security’s financial picture. We must ensure these discussions do not lose sight of some important facts. Despite concerns about Social Security’s long-term stability, the truth is that the program is in good financial shape and, with some sensible improvements, will continue to provide security to millions of American’s for generations to come

As in previous recessions, Social Security income and outgo today are performing as they were designed, as a counter-cyclical insurance program. That is, with more people out of work, contributions from wages decrease and more program participants retire sooner than they had planned. These facts are not a cause for alarm. Rather, they demonstrate the insurance function of Social Security and how critical it is to the economic security of American workers and their families.

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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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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Social Insurance Approach to the Problem of Paying for Long-Term Care

Bob Rosenblatt
Senior Fellow, NASI

The United States is going to try something new – a social insurance approach to the problem of paying for long-term services and supports. As more and more of the 76 million baby boomers move into their 60s and beyond, there will be a growing population of people who need help with the activities of daily living (using the toilet, dressing, bathing, eating, getting in and out of bed, walking around in the house or apartment). To date, this has been a private responsibility, with individuals and families providing care or paying for it out of their own funds. The government gets involved only if you go into a nursing home and “spend down,” using all your money until you have just $2,000. Then you qualify for Medicaid, the government’s health program for the poor.

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Posted on June 2, 2010  |  Write the first 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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