The annual Social Security and Medicare trustees’ reports will be released today, prompting the usual scaremongering enabled by a widespread misunderstanding of how these programs operate and what deficits mean. As is always the case, it is helpful to separate out analyses of Social Security from Medicare, as they are different institutions facing very different challenges.
This week marks the beginning of summer—family reunions, barbeques, and beach vacations— for those who can afford it. Those who can’t include hotel housekeepers, who like many U.S.
Thank you for inviting me to testify today.
My name is Monique Morrissey. I am an economist at the Economic Policy Institute and author of The State of American Retirement: How 401(k)s Have Failed Most American Workers, an interactive chartbook accessible through EPI’s website, www.epi.org.
The Washington Post’s editorial board has been arguing for Social Security benefit cuts for years, so their negative reaction to the president’s call to expand the program should come as no surprise.
A rule requiring investment advisors to act in the best interest of clients saving for retirement was released today despite a six-year campaign to weaken or kill it. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and his staff deserve enormous credit for persevering.
Women age 65 and older are much more likely to be poor than their male counterparts—and older, minority and unmarried women are at greatest risk.
The shift from pensions to account-type savings plans has been a disaster for lower-income, black, Hispanic, non-college-educated, and single workers, who together add up to a majority of the American population. But even among upper-income white college-educated married couples, many do not have adequate retirement savings or benefits.
The gap in retirement savings is even larger than the gap in retirement plan participation. In 2013, white families between the ages of 32 and 61 had nearly five times as much wealth in retirement accounts as their black counterparts—or nearly $100,000 more in retirement savings.
Many American seniors are not retired: 30 percent of 65–69 year olds in the United States are employed, versus 20 percent in OECD countries on average. This ranks the United States eighth among 35 OECD countries in the share of 65-69-year-olds who are employed.
The president issued a proposed rule requiring all financial advisors to have a fiduciary responsibility to the people they’re advising. This is a no-brainer, even if it’s only a small step toward addressing conflicts of interest in retirement saving. Specifically, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and Assistant Secretary Phyllis Borzi hope to curb the practice of inducing people to roll over 401(k) funds into high-cost IRAs, a practice that the president’s Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) estimated costs Americans $17 billion a year.
Many of us reacted to the tentative budget deal with surprised relief. Assuming the agreement holds, the White House was able to lift the debt ceiling and end the sequester without losing limbs in the process, as my colleague Ross Eisenbrey aptly put it.
401(k)s have largely displaced traditional defined benefit pensions among private-sector workers, but they are not a major source of retirement income for seniors.
Alarming statistics that show large declines in the employment and labor force participation of Americans with disabilities are often cited to support the claim that workers in poor health but able to work are increasingly opting out of the workforce to claim disability benefits.
Eighty years ago today, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law. Four and a half years later—after the German invasion of Poland but still two years before Pearl Harbor propelled the United States into war—65-year-old Ida May Fuller received the first Social Security check for $22.54. She would live to be 100 years old.
It is reasonable to ask why there has been an increase in the share of awards for musculoskeletal conditions, and why increases in life expectancy due to such factors as a steep decline in smoking and advances in the treatment of cardiovascular disease haven’t led to a decline in overall disability, especially since fewer jobs now require hard physical labor.
Is it possible that SSDI has a noticeable impact on labor force participation, a measure that includes unemployed workers actively looking for work? It might, but as will be detailed in this blog post, there are more likely explanations for the relative decline in labor force participation in the United States compared to Europe, including more supportive labor market policies in Europe.
(This is the third of six blog posts on disability.)
In two earlier blog posts, I look at evidence compiled in Senate testimony by Stanford economist Mark Duggan arguing that financial incentives are driving a growth in disability rolls.
Are disability benefits becoming more generous? The average benefit awarded is roughly a third of the average wage, a ratio that has remained essentially unchanged since 1985. And as Harvard economist Jeffrey Liebman points out, rising inequality and other factors have reduced the value of disability benefits relative to productivity per worker.
A closer look at the evidence shows that SSDI benefits have become, if anything, less generous. Moreover, even research cited by critics shows SSDI receipt has a negligible impact on work effort because few applicants, including marginal applicants who were denied benefits, are able to earn a living afterward.
I testified last week in Harrisburg on a 410-page public pension “reform” bill (SB1) that neither I nor my fellow witnesses had read.
This week marks the 50th anniversary of Head Start, a Great Society program that despite spotty funding has brightened the lives of millions of preschoolers.
As I noted in earlier blog posts, Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute and retired Towers Watson executive Sylvester Schieber have been leading a chorus of retirement crisis deniers, based in large part on the claim that income surveys don’t count lump-sum distributions from retirement accounts.
The Great Recession sparked a debate over the use of traditional defined-benefit (DB) pensions in states and municipalities across the United States.
The White House finally weighed in on the new House rule preventing a simple fix to extend the life of Social Security’s Disability Insurance (DI) trust fund.
In Monday’s Wall Street Journal, Andrew Biggs and Sylvester Schieber cited these statistics from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD):
“Despite a supposedly stingy Social Security program and ineffective retirement-savings vehicles, the average U.S.
The recent release of the Federal Reserve’s triennial Survey of Consumer Finances has many retirement researchers scratching their heads. As expected, GenXers’ savings (shaded blue lines in Figure 1) benefited from the rebound in stock prices and the economic recovery.
In honor of Social Security’s 79th birthday, here’s an update to a 2011 blog post refuting Social Security myths spread by critics of the program.
The big news in the Social Security and Medicare trustees reports released this afternoon is the improvement in Medicare’s finances due to slowing health cost inflation.
The release of the Social Security Trustees Report, just announced for July 28, usually prompts alarmist commentary on the burdens of supporting an aging population.
In the past several years, fears that underfunded public pensions are a growing burden on taxpayers have led to calls to cut employer-provided pension benefits through increased employee contributions, increased retirement ages, reduced cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs), or other changes.