Friday, September 23, 2016

The Truth About Social Security

Nancy Altman talks about Social Security.
We are committed to revealing to policymakers, the media, and the American people how distorted the debate about Social Security has been. For decades, the conversation has been falsely premised on the lies that Social Security will not be there for young workers, and that the program is unaffordable, and therefore must be cut or, worse, radically transformed into savings invested on Wall Street.
The truth, of course, is that Social Security's benefits are extremely modest by virtually any standard, and the program is extremely efficiently run, spending less than a penny of every dollar on administration. As the wealthiest nation in the world, at the wealthiest moment in our history, there is no question that the United States could have a vastly expanded Social Security program if it chose. The issue is one of values, not affordability.
The idea of expanding, not cutting, Social Security is an idea that, once spoken and understood as possible, makes sense to people. This year's Democratic Party platform, with its strong Social Security plank calling for expanding, not cutting, Social Security shows how the party now has coalesced around that position. And President Obama announced, in a speech on June 1, that he is in step with the rest of the party in advocating expanding, not cutting, Social Security. The current Democratic position is best seen as a return to the position it has held historically. In some ways, moving away from expanding, not cutting, Social Security was the surprise. After all, expanding, not cutting, Social Security is both profoundly wise policy and winning politics.
The next step is for Republicans to feel the heat, see the light, and join the bandwagon or be voted out of office.
Social Security is projecting a modest shortfall which will require legislation sometime in the next decade or so. It will be a victory if that legislation expands and does not cut Social Security while restoring the program to long range actuarial balance. Given where the debate has been, it will be a victory, though smaller, if the program is restored to long range actuarial balance by increasing Social Security's dedicated revenue without cutting benefits.
Now it is our turn. In addition to increasing benefit levels, we should add paid sick leave, paid family leave, caregiver credits, children's allowances, and more. We should also expand Medicare, including by lowering the age of eligibility from age 65 to age 62 and then to age 55, add a counterpart program for children, and eventually have Medicare for All. These and other expansions will take many decades, particularly in light of the moneyed interests that always have been and always will be arrayed against Social Security.
supporters of Social Security should be part of the fight to make college debt free and affordable. Indeed, the right to receive free public education through high school should be extended through the receipt of a bachelor's degree. Social Security supporters should be part of the fight for raising the minimum wage, as well. Those who care about Social Security should be part of the fight to protect workers' rights to bargain collectively, too.
And everyone should be part of the fight to expand Social Security, which is best understood as a family program. Social Security is a program for all generations.
In addition to providing the nation's most secure source of retirement income—income that cannot be outlived—it generally is Americans' most important, and often, only, source of disability insurance and life insurance.
It provides children with monthly benefits when a working parent dies, becomes disabled or retires. Those benefits now stop at age 18 (or 19, if still in high school). Those benefits used to continue until age 22, if the child was in college, university, or post-secondary vocational training. Those benefits should be restored. As I said in response to the last question, paid sick leave, family leave, and other benefits that assist all generations should be added.

Beyond the Foundations

Let's compare how the candidates have performed in their personal charitable giving.
The total of all Donald Trump’s donations since 2001 comes to  0.038% of his supposed net worth. That’s not pocket change. That’s pocket lint.

The Clintons have donated 37.6% of their net worth. Simple math shows that the Clintons are almost 1,000 times more generous with their money.

A Tale of Two Foundations

Clinton Foundation has an excellent track record of doing good. The Trump Foundation 
may soon be in legal trouble and has done little good. Hillary is the real deal, while Trump is nothing but a slimy imitation.

Sunday, September 11, 2016