Focus on Social Security and Retirement

Focus on Social Security and Retirement

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An October 5 paper from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities detailed the nature and operation of the Social Security trust fund.

An October 1 Gallup poll found that close to half of small business owners plan to never retire until forced by their health.

A September 22 report from Mercer examined the impact of low interest rates on the ability of corporate defined benefit pension plans to meet their obligations.

Also on September 22, economists Casper Worm Hansen and Lars Lønstrup posted a paper on the retirement age in OECD countries. They find that rising life expectancy is causing workers to stay in the labor force longer.

On September 20 economist Andrew Biggs published a study of the rising cost of entitlements. He urges targeting them more carefully to avoid the necessity of a 30 percent tax increase.

On September 15, Treasury’s Inspector General for Tax Administration issued a report on the assets of defined benefit pension plans. Many are woefully underfunded, it says.

An Allstate/National Journal poll released on September 10 asked people about the best course for stabilizing the finances of Social Security and Medicare; 35 percent favored raising taxes and opposed cutting benefits, 34 percent endorsed a combination of spending cuts and tax increases, and 22 percent said that only benefits should be cut with no increase in taxes.

On September 1, Mercer released new data on the adequacy of corporate pension funds. The S&P 1500 companies are collectively underfunded by more than $500 billion. Collectively, company pension funds have only 71 percent of the assets they should have to meet their obligations.

In an August 27 article, Urban Institute economist Eugene Steuerle responded to some common myths about the impact of raising the retirement age.

An August 4 report from Goldman Sachs examined demographic dynamics. These include the aging of the baby boomers and the rising global middle class.

An August paper from the Institute for the Study of Labor examined the impact on mortality of early retirement. All other things being equal, it finds that there is a 13 percent increase in the probability of dying before age 67 for men but no impact on women.

I last posted items on this topic on August 31.

Bruce Bartlett is an American historian and columnist who focuses on the intersection between politics and economics. He blogs daily and writes a weekly column at The Fiscal Times. Read his most recent column here. Bartlett has written for Forbes Magazine and Creators Syndicate, and his work is informed by many years in government, including as a senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House. He is the author of seven books including the New York Times best-seller, Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy (Doubleday, 2006).

Bruce Bartlett’s columns focus on the intersection of politics and economics. The author of seven books, he worked in government for many years and was senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House.