Fri Dec 21, 2012, 10:02 AM
grantcart (41,111 posts)
Lawrence O'Donnell and Robert Greenstein on the FACTS of the Soc Sec CPI
Posted in GD and reposted here as I expect it to sink in GD:
DU has largely had a rush to judgment on the changes on the Social Security CPI.
I haven't had much time to read them all but the threads that I have read were very heavy on opinion, outrage and emotion and very light on facts.
Here is LO and Robert Greenstein discussing the technical parts of it. First, who is Robert Greenstein? LO introduces him as one of the 'go to' experts on the left when it comes to Social Security. Here is his Wiki page
Robert Greenstein is founder and executive director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a Washington, DC think tank that focuses on federal and state fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families and individuals. According to his CBPP bio, Greenstein is "an expert on the federal budget and in particular, the impact of tax and budget proposals on low-income people".
Greenstein was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1996, and the 14th Annual Heinz Award in Public Policy in 2008. In 1994, he was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve on the Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform. Prior to founding the Center, Greenstein was Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service at the United States Department of Agriculture under President Jimmy Carter. In November of 2011, Greenstein was included on The New Republic's list of Washington's most powerful, least famous people.
Here is the 10 minute web only discussion.
1) Greenstein agrees that the change would make the CPI indicator more accurate, and that has been proven by economists.
2) He also suggests that the current CPI MAY be more accurate to some segments of society, like the elderly, but there is no proof of that yet.
3) He also discusses something about a 5% offset, an additional income payment for elderly and poor SS recepients that would almost entirely offset the changes in the CPI, something I have not seen in any other DU thread (but again I read only a few).
4) He understands that there would be other parts of the package included, including raising the contribution cap that a) we want and b) would strengthen SS.
5) If it is part of a larger deal that increases tax revenue and cuts defense spending, etc then it is something he would support because it has a very minimal impact and "you can never get everything that you want".
O'Donnell again concludes with the obvious, but universally overlooked at DU, bromide: "nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to". You cannot take one item out of the package without looking at the whole package, and the whole package isn't agreed to until everything is agreed to.
It is a highly technical discussion from one of the country's leading liberal defenders of Social Security.
When asked about his opinion of the proposed change on the Rachel Maddow Show, Howard Dean said (paraphrasing, couldn't find the video)
"Well its very involved and I haven't seen the details. It is something that Leader Pelosi is always on top of and if she says that it doesn't represent a major change to the benefits then I trust her".
LO said that actual impact to Social Security recpients would be less than 1%, amounting to about $ 3 a month in the following year.
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