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Friday, January 11, 2008

Pensions for Everyone

Jonathan B. Forman, Alfred P. Murrah Professor of Law, University of Oklahoma College of Law

Only half of American workers have a pension plan, and only a fraction of those have traditional pensions that replace a meaningful part of their final pay. Instead, most workers with a pension today have a 401(k) plan or an individual retirement account, and according to a recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, only a fraction of those workers will save enough to get a meaningful monthly benefit.

This month the oldest baby boomers started turning 62, and millions more will follow in the coming decades. Before it is too late, we need to adopt policies to ensure that every worker has adequate retirement savings.

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Posted on January 11, 2008  |  1 comment  |  Add your comment
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Monday, August 8, 2005

Happy 70th Birthday to the Social Security program, and many happy returns!

Wilhelmina Leigh, Senior Research Associate, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

As I wish happy birthday to the Social Security program, I think of my maternal grandmother who died in 1993 at the age of 101. Grannie received an annual letter from the Social Security Administration to verify her continued eligibility for monthly checks. My mother and I chuckled as we proudly put the forms into the return mail on her behalf; Grannie puts the lie to the proposition that African Americans don't benefit from Social Security because of their shorter life spans.

My maternal grandmother was widowed in 1936, the year after Social Security's birth. After the death of her husband, grannie did what she had to do to support her three children: domestic work and taking in both laundry and borders. Although her hard work was never acknowledged by coverage under the Social Security program, her late husband's work was, and she was able to receive a modest benefit check based on his year of covered employment.

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Sunday, August 7, 2005

Yes, Virginia, There is A Trust Fund.

Walter Shur, New York Life Insurance Company (Retired)

In a tour of the Bureau of The Public Debt several months ago, President Bush, commenting on the Social Security Trust Fund said, “There is no trust ‘fund’ — just IOUs that I saw firsthand.” That statement is, in its intent and effect, a repudiation of the public debt, and a clear violation of Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states, “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law,...,shall not be questioned.”

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Posted on August 7, 2005  |  1 comment  |  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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Monday, May 23, 2005

The Right Tax To Pay for Social Security

Jon Forman, Alfred P. Murrah Professor of Law, University of Oklahoma

According to the 2005 Report of the Social Security Trustees, the Social Security system currently has a deficit of $4 trillion. To pay benefits for the next 75 years, the government needs $4 trillion more than it will collect in payroll taxes and interest over that period. How should the government raise that $4 trillion? The conventional wisdom says that we should either raise Social Security payroll taxes or cut Social Security benefits, but that's accounting nonsense. And it is keeping us from modernizing the Social Security system.

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