Focus on Social Security and Retirement

Focus on Social Security and Retirement

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On November 18, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report on raising the retirement age. It found that this would probably increase the number of people claiming disability, thus reducing the potential budgetary savings.

In a November 17 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, people were asked if they were comfortable with a proposal to raise the Social Security retirement age from 67 to 69 over the next 60 years in order to reduce the budget deficit. Only 41 percent were comfortable with the idea, 57 percent were uncomfortable.

On November 12, AARP published a study arguing that the current method of calculating the poverty rate understates poverty among the elderly.

On November 10, the Social Security Administration published a study on the distributional implications of reducing the Social Security benefit formula.

On November 10, the National Academy of Social Insurance published a study on strengthening Social Security for the long run. It cites poll data showing that people are willing to pay more to maintain the program’s solvency.

A November 9 Pew report urged quick action on Social Security’s long-term financial problem, even though its onset is well in the future.

Also on November 9, the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College released a study on responses to the economic downturn by those nearing retirement. It finds that many have suffered a dramatic loss in retirement savings and will have to work longer than they planned.

And on November 9, Mercer issued a report warning that the Fed’s policy of reducing interest rates exacerbates the problem of funding defined-benefit pension plans.

In a November 2 blog post, American Enterprise Institute economist Andrew Biggs was highly critical of a proposal by William Shipman and Peter Ferrara to privatize Social Security, saying that it is mathematically equivalent to abolishing Social Security and using the savings to give a big tax cut to today’s workers.

On September 30, MetLife published a report on early baby boomers that are now approaching retirement. It predicts that fewer of them are likely to be fully retired by age 70, in contrast to earlier generations, due to higher educational levels and a history of working in white collar jobs rather than manual labor.

On August 31, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago published a working paper on the effect of public pensions on the labor supply of older workers. It suggests that lower tax rates on such workers may be justified.

I last posted items on this topic on November 2.

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.