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Don’t Hold the Debt Limit Hostage to Deficit Reduction

January 23, 2013

With the House voting today on a plan to temporarily suspend the debt limit, we’ve updated our paper that clarifies the debate.  Policymakers should not play politics with the country’s ability to pay its bills:...

Actuaries Confirm That Latest Scare Talk on Social Security Is Off-Base

January 22, 2013

We’ve debunked the claim in a recent New York Times op-ed that Social Security’s official long-term financial projections are based on outdated and inaccurate assumptions and thus are too optimistic.  The Social Security actuaries, who develop those projections, have...

Rich Man, Poor Man: Lawmakers Should Raise and Index the SSI Asset Limits

January 17, 2013

We’ve pointed out previously that the recent tax deal permanently granted a big estate-tax break to the very richest Americans while only temporarily extending credits that are...

The Geography of Disability

November 28, 2012

About 6 percent of the nation’s working-age population receive disability payments from Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), but some southern and Appalachian states have...

Why Is Labor Force Participation Shrinking? (Cont’d.)

November 13, 2012

We noted earlier that the recent drop in labor force participation — the percentage of people 16 or older who are working or looking for work — reflects not only the economic downturn and lack of job opportunities, but also the fact that more baby boomers are hitting retirement age....

Top Ten Facts About Social Security

November 6, 2012

We’ve updated our popular “Top Ten Facts About Social Security,” a highly successful program that marked its 77th birthday this summer:

  1. Social Security is more than just a retirement program.  It provides important life insurance and disability
  2. ...

Social Security Lifts 21 Million Americans Out of Poverty

October 16, 2012

Social Security lifted 21 million people out of poverty in 2011, according to our updated analysis (with state-by-state data) of Census data.  This includes not just 14.5 million elderly Americans but also many younger people, including 1.1 million children.  (See table below.)


Awaiting the COLA Announcement

October 15, 2012

Update, October 16:  The Social Security Administration announced this morning that the December 2012 cost-of-living adjustment (which recipients of Social Security and certain other programs will see in their January checks) will be 1.7 percent — as we estimated in this post below.  The maximum wage and...

House-Passed Buffett Rule Doesn’t Merit the Name

September 24, 2012

“Taxes,” Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. famously said, “are what we pay for a civilized society.”  His reflection comes to mind in light of legislation, which the House passed last week, that would make it simpler for Americans to make voluntary contributions to reduce the public debt.

9-24-12tax.jpgThough it’s...

Gini Index Confirms Rising Inequality Over Several Decades

September 13, 2012

As my colleague Jared Bernstein has noted, yesterday’s Census Bureau report gives further evidence that inequality is worsening.  Yet the bureau’s discussion of one measure of inequality, the...