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(14,923 posts)
Fri Apr 26, 2013, 11:49 AM Apr 2013

Elite Conventional Wisdom Is LOSING On Social Security [View all]


The crowd calling for cutting benefits is being overtaken by another movement: A proposal to expand the program

In the past two weeks, two radically different proposals for the future of Social Security have provoked widespread discussion in the media. One proposal was made by President Barack Obama, as part of his proposed budget. This called for using inflation adjustments to deprive the middle-class elderly of nearly 10 percent of their promised Social Security benefits if they lived to their 90s, while only the poor would be shielded from the cuts. Obama’s proposal was angrily denounced by progressives and conservatives alike. The rival proposal came in a policy paper called“Expanded Social Security, ” written by Steven Hill, Robert Hiltonsmith, Joshua Freedman and me, and published by the New America Foundation’s Economic Growth Program. Our plan called for a major expansion of Social Security benefits, on the grounds that Social Security is far more efficient and reliable than the other two “legs” of the retirement security “stool” — employer pensions (both defined-benefit pensions and 401Ks) and tax-deferred private savings accounts like IRAs.

Robert Kuttner praised the plan in a column for the Huffington Post:

If you don’t read any other piece of policy wonkery this year, you owe it to yourself, your parents, and your own golden years to read “Expanded Social Security.” It provides a politically serious blueprint for expanding the retirement income of the elderly, rather than selling them out. If we had a Democratic Party worthy of the name, it would get behind this proposal and change the entire dynamics of the Social Security debate.

A number of congressional progressives have defended their support for Social Security by citing our report, as did the AFL-CIO. Chris Hayes praised the report on MSNBC. On Washington Post’s “Wonkblog” Ezra Klein wrote:

This is the other, perhaps more pressing, Social Security crisis: It’s not generous enough to counteract the sorry state of retirement savings nationwide. In a report for the New American Foundation, Michael Lind, Steven Hill, Robert Hiltonsmith and Joshua Freedman survey this data and conclude that the ongoing debate over how to cut Social Security is all wrong: We need to make Social Security much more generous.

“Expanded Social Security” also received favorable mentions in the Washington Post, the Daily Beast, the American Prospect, the Nation, Mother Jones, Next New Deal, DailyKos and other venues. Nor has interest been limited to the center-left. The Expanded Social Security Plan was discussed seriously by Reihan Salam at the conservative magazine National Review’s blog and Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute. That makes it all the more important to note the weakness of most of the criticisms that Biggs levels against proposals like ours to expand rather than cut Social Security in response to the disappearance of traditional pensions, the failure of 401Ks and the inadequacy of private savings.



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Or we could force every employer to prefund retirement benefits BethanyQuartz Apr 2013 #1
Only if we let the Federal Government hold the benefits. rhett o rick Apr 2013 #2
If we let federal government handle it we'll need that lockbox BethanyQuartz Apr 2013 #5
Recent history proves you are correct. Lasher Apr 2013 #7
Or at least a third party bound by an air tight trust agreement. n/t Cleita Apr 2013 #8
That goes for the pension plans for public employees at the state level too. JDPriestly Apr 2013 #11
Raise-the-Cap!!! bvar22 Apr 2013 #3
Ugh. Hearing Hillary say raising the cap is "a 1 trillion dollar tax increase on the middle class" SunSeeker Apr 2013 #12
Have you posted that as an OP? JDPriestly Apr 2013 #13
Increase SS benefits? siligut Apr 2013 #4
Lost the Rec button, I'll Rec. it here Downwinder Apr 2013 #6
Rendell was also wrong on the Eagles draft FreeBC Apr 2013 #9
I often wonder if Obama was using reverse psychology on the GOP.... KauaiK Apr 2013 #10
If the GOP always does the opposite, why did he appoint so many Republicans, especially Bush AnotherMcIntosh Apr 2013 #16
Good point. Touche KauaiK Apr 2013 #17
K & R. I regret that I can only give this one Rec. freshwest Apr 2013 #14
Remove the cap entirely. And make capital gains and foreign source income subject to SS taxation. AnotherMcIntosh Apr 2013 #15
K&R That picture is like an ad for a horror film. forestpath Apr 2013 #18
My dad worked for Bethleham Steel for 35 years. They went under and stole the pensions. Dustlawyer Apr 2013 #19
A whole lot of America is going to have nothing but SS to retire on. Jasana Apr 2013 #20
Well, finally someone is making sense! It's obvious the program is excellent, successful, sabrina 1 Apr 2013 #21
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