April 28, 1989 |
Treasury Secretary Nicholas F. Brady on Thursday rejected a proposal to reduce Medicare catastrophic health insurance premiums that congressional analysts expect will generate a bigger surplus than is needed. Brady, in a letter to Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Tex.), said the insurance program "is literally in its first few months of life" and the Bush Administration wants to be sure it is not left with insufficient reserves. The new insurance program, approved by Congress last year, provides extended coverage for the costs of hospital and medical care and drug benefits.
March 8, 2013 |
Everybody loves lists. Most of those you see in the papers or online tend toward the inconsequential (The Six Best "Fast & Furious" Movies). So here's a list with a bit more gravitas: The five biggest lies you're being told about entitlement programs. Never mind that the very word "entitlement" is a lie. Social Security and Medicare got that name because workers became "entitled" to those benefits by paying into the system. In recent years, however, the term has become distorted to signify benefits people are entitled to without earning them.
April 10, 2013 |
President Obama won't release his proposed budget for 2014 until Wednesday, but liberals and AARP have been howling all week about something they expect to be in it. What has our president done to provoke such outrage among his supporters? He's chained CPI. In an attempt to meet Republicans halfway in the battle over taxes and spending, Obama has offered to change the formula for calculating Social Security's annual cost-of-living increase - an "entitlement reform" GOP leaders have long asked for. The result would not change current Social Security benefits, but it would reduce future raises by an estimated three-tenths of 1% in the first year, or about $42 for the average beneficiary.
September 19, 2011
The conventional wisdom has long held that Social Security is the "third rail" of politics, so popular that criticizing it amounts to committing political suicide. Evidently no one bothered to warn Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who repeated his critique that Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme" shortly after entering the race for the Republican presidential nomination. His hyperbolic denunciation, which has resonated with segments of the GOP and the "tea party" movement, reflects some of the real problems in the 76-year-old program.
January 17, 2011 |
If you think Bluetooth is a rare dental condition and an app is what you eat before the entree, you might not be a candidate for today's high-tech, whiz-bang smart phones. Instead, you might be happier with a mobile phone geared toward seniors. Those phones typically don't have Web-surfing capability, GPS maps and video games. Instead they have large buttons, oversized digital readouts and hearing-aid compatibility, along with a relatively simple calling plan. Although senior-friendly phones aren't new, their lower prices and variety are. A recent price skirmish among wireless companies means seniors can get an easy-to-use cellphone and cheap service to go with it, said Mac Haddow, senior fellow on public policy for the independent and nonprofit Alliance for Generational Equity.
April 27, 2012
Re "Fix Social Security, now," Editorial, April 25 It's hard to take this editorial seriously because it fails to talk about the Social Security payroll tax holiday enacted in 2010. If you want to fix Social Security, the first thing you need to look at is rolling back this tax break. With every extension of the payroll tax holiday, the prospect that Congress will ever restore the tax to its statutory 6.2% of covered income becomes increasingly remote. In case you haven't figured it out yet, this is the tax that funds Social Security, so it should be no surprise that Social Security will run into trouble if we don't pay it in full.