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On Social Security, FactCheck Didn’t

March 2, 2011

“Democrats Deny Social Security’s Red Ink,” a recent FactCheck article blared. The article panned Senators Durbin and Schumer for stating that “Social Security does not add one penny to the deficit” and took Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew to task for calling Social Security “self-financing.” But the senators and the budget director are on solid ground: FactCheck’s figures ignore the substantial sums that Social Security earns — and will continue to earn for many years — on its investments in Treasury securities.

Bowles-Simpson a Bad Start on Fixing Social Security

February 17, 2011

Although the deficit-reduction plan from Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, co-chairs of the President’s fiscal commission, didn’t get enough votes to secure the panel’s endorsement, some people think it should form the nucleus of a big deficit-reduction package. But when it comes to Social Security, the plan is sorely out of whack.

Use a Scalpel, Not an Ax, for Any Social Security Cuts

January 11, 2011

Social Security benefits may be on the chopping block as policymakers tackle the nation’s long-term fiscal challenges. But before sharpening the ax, policymakers need to keep five key facts in mind, as we explain in a new report:

On Disability, Just the Facts

December 21, 2010

Demographic and economic factors explain much of the increase in the number of people receiving Social Security disability benefits in recent decades. But that’s not the impression you’d get from some alarmist recent reports. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), a member of the President’s fiscal commission, told the commission that disability payments were “out of control,” and authors of a new Brookings Institution report described the program as a “rapidly growing expense” that has “largely escaped the scrutiny of policymakers.”

Plans Differ on Social Security Fix

November 23, 2010

Two major budget plans issued in recent weeks would affect Social Security along with other federal spending and revenues. The President’s fiscal commission is weighing the draft recommendations of co-chairs Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles; the panel convened by the Bipartisan Policy Center — led by Pete Domenici and Alice Rivlin — has issued its final report. Though far from perfect, the Domenici-Rivlin plan’s Social Security proposals represent a much more balanced and better-targeted mix of benefit cuts and revenue increases.

Not-So-Progressive Price Indexing Is the Wrong Fix for Social Security

November 18, 2010

We issued a report yesterday debunking a proposal with a soothing name: progressive price-indexing. It has popped up frequently since 2005, most recently in the Roadmap for America’s Future, the budget proposal of Congressman Paul Ryan, who is expected to chair the House Budget Committee in the next Congress. In a nutshell, the proposal would tie initial Social Security benefits to future changes in prices rather than average wages. Despite the “progressive” moniker, this approach is seriously flawed:

No Fizz in Upcoming COLA

October 14, 2010

Tomorrow, new figures from the Labor Department are expected to confirm that for the second year in a row, Social Security recipients will receive no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in January. Nevertheless, people who have been receiving Social Security for a few years are still ahead of the inflation game. Here’s why:

For Thousands of Elderly or Disabled Refugees, the Check’s No Longer in the Mail

October 6, 2010

Several thousand impoverished elderly or disabled refugees who fled persecution in such troubled places as Afghanistan, Somalia, the former Yugoslavia, and Cuba lost their badly needed Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits last week. Thousands more will lose their SSI eligibility over the coming year. A last-minute push in Congress to preserve these modest benefits failed before lawmakers left town to campaign for re-election; restoring those benefits should be high on lawmakers’ to-do list when they return to work in mid-November.

Countdown Day 5: Top Ten Facts About Social Security

August 13, 2010

Today’s the final day of our countdown of the top ten facts about Social Security in honor of its 75th anniversary this weekend. We released a report today summarizing all ten.

Countdown Day 4: Top Ten Facts About Social Security

August 12, 2010

Continuing our countdown of the top ten facts about Social Security in honor of its 75th anniversary this weekend, here are today’s two: