Image Credit: 401 (K) 2013 (Flickr) CC

Image Credit: 401 (K) 2013 (Flickr) CC

Economics, Entitlements, U.S. Economy

The minimum wage and Social Security

In his race for the open Iowa Senate seat, Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley has put great emphasis on Social Security. That’s good – Social Security is a crucial program for millions of Americans and the biggest domestic line item in the federal budget. But Braley’s political focus on Social Security doesn’t mean he actually has a policy in mind to fix it. read more >

Economics, Entitlements, Pethokoukis

Here is the big driver behind government healthcare spending

Charles Blahous makes a number of great points in an e21 essay on the fiscal future of Medicare — and the US budget. While it is true, as a recent New York Times piece notes, that the Medicare spending projections has declined quite a bit since 2006 (see above chart), the program’s financial problems are still enormous. The whole piece is worth reading, but this is a particularly noteworthy bit given all the attention on the need to reduce health cost inflation. read more >

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Economics, Entitlements

Better no Social Security replacement rates than wrong replacement rates

Boston College economist Alicia Munnell’s recent writings on Social Security replacement rates – along with a defensive paper recently released by Social Security’s actuaries – have a “move on, nothing to see here” quality: SSA’s actuaries follow “international standards” and it’s just bad guys – like me, and presumably those arch-conservatives who make up Social Security’s Board of Trustees – trying to spoil a good retirement for everyone by removing replacement rates from the annual Trustees Report. In fact, there’s a lot to see on the replacement rates question, if you’re willing to look. read more >

Image Credit: Shutterstock
Economics, Entitlements

Responding (again) to arguments I didn’t make

A sign that you’ve hit the mark is when people respond to arguments you didn’t make rather than the ones you did. My recent Wall Street Journal piece on progressives’ response to the rising Social Security deficit made a very simple point: you’d think a bigger shortfall would cause progressives to take Social Security reform more seriously, but instead the consensus position is now to expand Social Security, paying for that expansion with the tax increases they once proposed to fill the program’s funding gap. read more >

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Economics, Entitlements

Couldn’t have said it better myself: Salam’s ‘The wrong kind of Social Security reform’

My recent Wall Street Journal op-ed noted that, while Social Security’s funding shortfalls are growing, progressives are showing even less seriousness with regard to fixing them. Indeed, the most common position among progressives today is toward increasing Social Security benefits. New York Magazine’s Jon Chait (who I usually enjoy reading) takes me to task for the piece but National Review’s Reihan Salam handily dismantles Chait’s arguments – more handily than I could have myself, I think. read more >