Focus on Social Security and Retirement

Focus on Social Security and Retirement

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A March 17 Washington Post/ABC News poll found that the percentage of people who think Social Security is facing a crisis has risen to 81 percent from 71 percent in 2005. The option for fixing the program that has the strongest support would be to raise the amount of earnings that are taxed.

On March 16, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the age-adjusted death rate fell from 758.7 deaths per 100,000 in 2008 to 741 in 2009. Life expectancy at birth increased from 78 to 78.2 years.

On March 15, the Center for Retirement Research published a study on the rate of return on corporate equities, which account for the bulk of retirement saving. It anticipates that returns will rise to their historical trend in the next decade after being well below trend for the past decade.

On March 8, the Center for Economic and Policy Research published a study on means-testing Social Security benefits. It finds that it would save little money if limited to the well-to-do; to save real money, means testing would have to impact those in the middle class, who are the bulk of beneficiaries.

Also on March 8, Towers Watson published a study which found that the rate of return on defined-benefit pension plans consistently outperforms those on defined-contribution plans.

On March 3, the Social Security Administration published the latest edition of its periodic report on Social Security programs in Asia and the Pacific.

On March 2, Mercer reported that a rising stock market has reduced the pension funding deficit of major corporations for the sixth month in a row.

On February 23, the Social Security Administration released the 2010 edition of its Annual Statistical Supplement, which contains a vast amount of data on the operations of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other social welfare programs.

A February 17 study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that a higher percentage of the over age-55 population was in the labor force in 2010 than any time in the previous 35 years.

A February 17 study from the New York Medical College found that higher Social Security benefits increase longevity.

I last posted items on this topic on February 8.

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. 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, Imposter: 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.