"America is in the midst of two major changes to its population: We are becoming majority non-white at the same time a record share is going gray. Explore these shifts in our new interactive data essay
was born in 1921. She used to take the subway to the airport
when she started flying in 1936.She fought in World War II, and at the age of 92 is now fighting the government she served to obtain Social Security benefits following the death of her husband, Norwood.
The Social Security Administration states that she is ineligible because her legal 2004 marriage was not legal.
Rising Demand for Long-Term Services and Supports for Elderly People
, 574 kb) - "By 2050, one-fifth of the total U.S. population will be elderly (that is, 65 or older), up from 12 percent in 2000 and 8 percent in 1950. The number of people age 85 or older will grow the fastest over the next few decades, constituting 4 percent of the population by 2050, or 10 times its share in 1950. That growth in the elderly population will bring a corresponding surge in the number of elderly people with functional and cognitive limitations."
Boom, Bust, or What? Larry Summers and Glenn Hubbard Square Off on Our Economic Future
. Planet Money's Adam Davidson profiles Glenn Hubbard
(chair of the Council of Economic Advisors under George W. Bush, and advisor to Romney) and Lawrence Summers
(Treasury Secretary under Clinton, and director of the National Economic Council under Obama). After talking to them one-on-one for several months, he gets them together in the same room.
Hubbard suggested turning Social Security and Medicare into smaller programs that help “the least well off among us.” With smaller social-insurance programs, the government can prevent tax increases and shrink the debt burden. That, he said, would lead to broad economic growth. [more inside]
An intrepid American reporter tests out perineal re-education
, a state-sponsored wonder of the French health care system. She plays a game she nicknames Pole Position (and a friend gets to play Cooter Pac-Man). Bonus: many gentle euphemisms for vagina (Earlier test here from the NYT
"Workfare is the Conservative Government's
scheme to get unemployed people into work. Workfare
"was first introduced by civil rights leader James Charles Evers in 1968; however, it was popularized by Richard Nixon in a televised speech August 1969." [wikipedia] [more inside]
"As far back as the 1800s,
single mothers were receiving benefits. At that time, they would be paid up front and in cash, but were they better off than today?"
] [Spoiler Inside] [more inside]
"We’re not going to say, 'Give it to me and let my grandchildren suffer.' I think they underestimate seniors when they think that way."
But 71-year-old Barbara Sullivan cannot imagine asking people to pay higher taxes. And as she considered making do with less, she started to cry." (slnyt) [more inside]
The Gray And The Brown
- why the baby boom generation's concerns about race may mean that it's stabbing itself in the back as it moves into retirement.
An Australian Madoff? Trio Capital, an Australian fund manager, has been ordered to wind up
its funds after being unable to account for $123 million in its Astarra fund since investigations began in October. The fund "has a total of $426 million under management - including superannuation
savings of about 10,000 Australians." Some worry what this means for more potential frauds in Australia's "privatized social security." [more inside]
"No one guessed the truth, which was simpler, and therefore stranger, than their wildest theories: that the scared young woman so hotly pursued by South Carolina police, the Secret Service, federal marshals and even the U.S. Army was actually on a bizarre and misguided journey of self-discovery." Rolling Stone reports on the strange case of Esther Reed: The Girl Who Conned The Ivy League
. (via Metachat)
Researchers have found
that it is possible to guess many -- if not all -- of the nine digits in an individual's Social Security number using publicly available information, a finding they say compromises the security of one of the most widely used consumer identifiers in the United States.
Many numbers could be guessed at by simply knowing a person's birth data, the researchers
from Carnegie Mellon University said.
[E]ven if you are unemployed you still receive a base amount of [vacation money] from the government, the reasoning being that if you can’t go on vacation, you’ll get depressed and despondent and you’ll never get a job.
But does the cartoon image of [the Dutch system] — encapsulated in the dread slur "socialism," which is being lobbed in American political circles like a bomb — match reality? Is there, maybe, a significant upside that is worth exploring? [...] I think it’s worth pondering how the best bits might fit.
After a year and a half of living in the Netherlands, American writer Russell Shorto compares the Dutch "welfare state" to the tax, health care and social security systems of the United States
Is the U.S. Bankrupt?
[332Kb PDF] Laurence Kotlikoff, writing in this month's Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review
, says "yes" - to the tune of $66 trillion! [more inside]
Today (if it's still Aug. 13th where you are) is the 70th birthday of the Roller Derby
(being duly celebrated in Chicago
). Tomorrow (unless it's already Aug. 14th where you are) is the 70th birthday of the Social Security Act
. Compare and contrast... (Round-numbered birthdays and anniversaries, you gotta love em. Hard to believe Burt "Robin" Ward turned 60 last month... but that "American Gothic" paining is only 75 years old.)
Beware the Coming Propaganda Juggernaut...Social Security Under Siege
Salon.com's Joe Conason examines the coming wave of administration proganda aimed at social security. (Watch a commercial to read Salon for free.)
Yesterday President Bush said,
"Some in our country think that Social Security is a trust fund -- in other words, there's a pile of money being accumulated. That's just simply not true. The money -- payroll taxes going into the Social Security are spent." Is he advocating that the US default on its Treasury bonds?
I wasn't sure what Move On
would do after the election and inauguration, but it appears they are coming out with guns blazing over Social Security. Tomorrow they'll take out a full page ad in the NYT
(pdf) and start spreading a new commercial
(wmv) that is reminiscent of the "working kids" Bush in 30 seconds ad (I assume they hired the same director).
Congressman dies of rare disease
Congressman Bob Matsui, who was recently elected to a 14th term in Congress, has died due to a rare stem cell disease. Matsui, who was one of the leading opponents of President Bush's plan to eliminate Social Security, was the ranking Democrat on the Congressional subcommittee on Social Security.
AARP Says No To Bush ...
The AARP is coming out strong against private Social security investment accounts, saying they "will actually make the problem worse, not better." In January they plan to spend $50 million on an ad campaign
Kevin Drum of The Washington Monthly has also been awesome in pointing out that the common wisdom that Social Security is in trouble is just not true
One man's retirement math: Social Security wins
At the heart of President Bush's plan to sell Social Security private accounts is a simple notion: You're always better off investing your retirement money than letting the government do it.
By doing it yourself, you can stow some money in the stock market, and over the long run will get a better return on that investment than today's Social Security system offers.
The idea is broadly accepted. That's why the administration's plan to partially privatize the system sounds appealing to many. But that better return won't always happen.
Just ask Stanley Logue of San Diego.
For 45 years, the defense-industry analyst paid into the system until his retirement in 1994. But with all the recent hoopla over reform, Mr. Logue, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate, decided to go back and check his own records. Would he have done better investing his money than the bureaucrats at the Social Security Administration?
Tyler Cowen on Social Security Privatization.
He links to the opinions of Arnold Kling, Brad DeLong, Jane Galt, Matthew Yglesias, and Ed Prescott.
Greenspan was in favor of cutting future Social Security benefits to help ease the current budget deficit. Now
, he suggests: that household balance sheets are "in good shape," and perhaps stronger than ever, because the value of people's homes and stock portfolios have risen faster than their debts.
Screwing the young.
American government benefits will give a typical man reaching age 65 today a net windfall of more than $70,000 beyond what he paid in. A luckless 25-year-old, by contrast, can count on paying $322,000 more in payroll taxes than he will ever get back in benefits.
Emerging Storm Weblog
The Gartner Group
has put together a formidable weblog of sorts to discuss hot topics in workplace security, crises, and other happenings. The best part is that you can comment along with the "best" of the industry. check out the comments about Social Security. We knew blogging was mainstreaming, but this is a significant use of the application outside of the general media. I don't believe registration is required to view the weblog.
Princeton admissions officers broke into Yale's admissions system
using prospective students' birth dates and Social Security numbers. They "viewed Yale admissions decisions" of 11 students; Princeton's dean of admissions says "[i]t was really an innocent way for us to check out the security." The FBI is "assessing the information to see if there is a federal violation."
Name Distributions in the Social Security Area
doesn't sound like hours of fun, but it's wasted a lot of my time today. After visiting a list of the top 100 names for births in 2001
you can check out similar lists going back to 1880.
Fabricating a Crisis
(NYT link, registration required yada yada yada) -- With the baby boomers getting up in years, it's becoming increasingly obvious that something must be done about The Social Security Situation. But are privatization and personal funds really the answer?
Social Security Numbers and privacy.
I refuse to give my number out whenever possible, but it is getting worse all the time. Thankfully I can still buy batteries and refuse to give Rat Shack my telephone number, and tell Toy R Us where to go when they ask for my zip, but this is frustrating. Wasn't this what people feared about having identification numbers in the first place?