Social Security is the largest source of retirement income for seniors, widows and those with disabilities. However, lawmakers continue to consider cuts to this social safety net. Social Security is the primary source of income for most women 65 years and older. Contrary to many notions, Social Security does not contribute to the federal deficit. Congress should protect this program: by not raising the retirement age, by not decreasing benefits for the middle class, but rather by raising the cap on the amount of wages subject to payroll tax and by ensuring that spouses and caregivers are given special consideration.
You May Retire in Poverty (August 7, 2012)
Women Get More Out of Social Security (July 26, 2012)
Security’s Master List Littered with Dead People (July
New Yorkers Angry as Crisis Hits Poorest (July 5, 2012)
The Pension Bubble (June 29, 2012)
With the housing market collapse and the European debt crisis, another financial disaster looms. Recently the Governmental Accounting Standards board highlighted the reality of mismanagement of state and local government pension programs. It reported on a $1.38 trillion gap between the assets states have set aside for retirement payments and health care programs compared to the amount of their obligations to retirees. Without changes,, many State and local governments will find themselves filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. At the same time, these gaps likely cannot be resolved without cuts in benefits or increases in taxes. US elected officials need to realize that the government must act before the entire system collapses.
Retirees Taking Early Social Security Benefits Hits 35-Year Low (May 23, 2012)
According to the Government Accountability Office study, Americans nearing retirement are delaying their Social Security benefits. Financially speaking, this means more retirees will be more secure in the long term. The Urban Institute reports that those taking benefits fell to 27% in 2011. About every financial adviser believes it is best to delay benefits as long as possible, assuming good health. Working longer helps delay these benefits; those that wait will enjoy higher benefits when they hit their 70s.
Social Security--A “Crisis” Only in Super PAC and Politicians’ Rhetoric (March 19, 2012)
To the many supporters of both parties in the presidential election this year, the reality of Social Security is skewed alongside dubious claims. Proposals to fix Social Security by reducing benefits would largely impact ethnic and racial populations. What makes this worse is the introduction of the Super Political Action Committee into the electoral system. This concentrates political power among the wealthy, a predominantly white and male group. They give mostly to conservative causes that favor the reduction through changes in programs like Social Security and Medicare. Political rhetoric regarding Social Security not only runs counter to actuarial projections of the program but it also contradicts public opinion.
Higher Contributions Part of a Trend (March 6, 2012)
Federal and state governments are moving to increase employee contributions towards retirement programs, albeit in a limited way. Some of these increases are affecting only those hired after certain dates and some are affecting current employees only temporarily. The challenge is to provide adequate contributions to sustain pension funds. The increase in contributions was part of a bill extending unemployment benefits and keeping the Social Security payroll tax low. This change can affect employee recruitment and retention over the long term because those in the new plan will realize lower future benefits.
Next Pension Clash: Law Firms (March 5, 2012)
At some of the country’s top firms, younger lawyers will be responsible for pensions that are largely unfunded. There is no money saved to pay retirees. Instead, most law firms with such plans pay the benefits using current profits. Some firms are shrinking benefit amounts or lowering caps that limit retiree payments to a certain proportion of profits. However, getting rid of unfunded pension plans altogether is a difficult notion.
Struggle for Equality Continues for Civil Rights Generation (March 3, 2012)
America’s retirement security crisis disproportionately affects African-Americans; an increasing number are retiring in poverty after a lifetime of work. More than half of African-American and Latino retirees are poor due low income and high housing and health care costs. Often they have no employer- sponsored retirement plan ensuring adequate retirement income. Instead, they are more reliant on Social Security. The long arm of racial prejudice continues to impact US citizens.
Not Saving Social Security, Again (February 15, 2012)
The payroll tax reduction has been extended. However, there has been so much misinformation about the program over the last three decades, there is no surprise that people are confused. For a case in point, look at how Social Security surpluses are interpreted. The trust fund surplus is often mistakenly considered a debt because it has been spent--given to Wall Street and military affairs.
Why Social Security Is A Better Investment Than The Stock Market Reveals The Current Absolute Wealth Newsletter (February 11, 2012)
The current Absolute Wealth Newsletter talks about how Social Security is actually a great investment compared to the stock market and personal retirement plans, once inflation is taken into account. In fact, did you know that Social Security has outperformed the stock market by approximately 5 percent per year over the last decade?
Ethnic Experts Say Strengthen, Don’t Cut, Social Security (February 6, 2012)
According to members of the Commission to Modernize Social Security, politicians need to strengthen Social Security, especially for lower-income women, youth and ethnic elders. The experts found that elderly people and their families who come from ethnic communities enter late life with fewer resources than white seniors. The recommendations to modernize Social Security include increasing benefits for people once they reach age 85 years, with five years’ credit for child or elder care for women and increased benefits for widows.
State of the Union: Scant Mention of Medicare, Social Security (January 25, 2012)
President Obama called for proactive government action to strengthen the economy in his State of the Union address. However, he devoted little attention to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. President Obama did bring forth the prospect of changes in the three programs only in the context of a pact to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Republicans oppose these tax rate hikes. The official GOP response to the President’s speech emphasized changing Medicare and Social Security through a possible means testing, where those who need help the most would get assistance, while the wealthiest would get reduced or no benefits.
Billions of dollars taken from paychecks issued to illegal immigrant workers flow to the US Social Security Administration every year. Furthermore, these workers almost certainly will never see that money again. In 2009, there were reported wages of $72.8 billion for millions of workers who could not be matched to legal Social Security numbers. Social Security and Medicare deductions had to be made from this wage information.