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October 5, 2005 | By David Ratner | Economic SnapshotSee Snapshots Archive. Snapshot for October 5, 2005. Social Security provides the primary life insurance protection for most children This year’s debate over Social Security has focused primarily on retiree benefits and has largely neglected the survivors and disability portions of the program. The fact that two-thirds of retirees receive at least half of their income from Social Security has become well-known.1 Yet many people seem unaware that about one in six Social Security beneficiaries receive survivor benefits as the spouses and dependents of deceased workers and another sixth receive disability benefits.2 In 2003, some 1.9 million children received survivor benefits at an average of $603 per month, totaling $14 billion a year.3 For many families, Social Security provides the only form of life insurance for their children. Analysis of the Federal Reserve’s 2001 Survey of Consumer Finance shows that 31% of families with children under the age of 18 have not purchased life insurance in the private market. This translates into roughly 24.5 million children without life insurance other than Social Security. Lower-income families are much more likely to lack private life insurance. Figure A shows the share of families in five different income ranges that lack private life insurance.
August 10, 2005 | By David Ratner | Economic SnapshotSee Snapshots Archive. Snapshot for August 10, 2005. Can CAFTA save textile and apparel producers? Some proponents of the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) believe that it will stimulate apparel industry employment in Central America. According to a University of Michigan study, CAFTA will increase textile and apparel employment in Central America by 283,000 jobs, or 41%.1 The U.S.
July 13, 2005 | By David Ratner | Economic SnapshotSee Snapshots Archive. Snapshot for July 13, 2005. Looking in the wrong places Why benefit cuts will not solve Social Security’s financing problem According to President Bush, Social Security’s long-term financial problems stem primarily from too many future beneficiaries receiving benefits that are too high for too long. The president proposes to solve the problem by lowering the share of income that Social Security insures for workers. Social Security was put in place to insure the incomes of American families in the event a worker could no longer work full-time due to death, disability, or old age. By cutting the income replacement rates—Social Security benefit levels—the president is cutting the income of families when a worker is no longer able to earn enough to maintain a family’s lifestyle the worker strived to achieve.