Social Security--Fix it or scrap it?
Signing the Social Security Act of 1935
Ford Hunger March
Dorthea Lange Depression Photo
Walter Reuther on Labor Day in Cadillac Square
World's Largest Container Ship
Social Security Needed Now More than Ever
The debate on changing Social Security from its original social insurance concept to one of individual savings and investment has focused on the numbers and how best to assure that funding is sufficient for future benefits.
Equally important is a recognition and understanding of the conditions that led to the adoption of Social Security in 1935 and recognition that workers today still face great insecurities as globalization and trade change the face of American industry. Examining the forces that gave rise to Social Security provides perspective to the debate over our country's needs today.
During the early 20th century, the United States evolved quickly from an agrarian and small-business economy in which people lived independently on farms and in small towns, to an urban society in which workers in industrial centers such as Detroit found themselves dependent for their livelihood on the state of the economy, on the viability of their industry and employer, and on their own good health.
Detroit's population grew from 285,000 in 1900 to 1.6 million in 1935 as workers flocked from farms in the South and Midwest to work for big wages on Ford's assembly lines, but, far from their farms and relatives, they faced new insecurities.
For example, after attracting thousands of workers to Detroit, Henry Ford shut down his Rouge plant for six months in 1927 to change from the Model T to the Model A and had massive layoffs again in 1931, dumping 60,000 workers onto the relief rolls without income to sustain them, far from their farms where they could have grown their own food.
New Deal measures such as the Wagner Act, Social Security, unemployment and workers' compensation provided security in the event of layoff, injury on the job and arbitrary firing and when, as Walter Reuther put it they were "too old to work and too young to die."
Also forgotten in this debate on Social Security is the role played by New Deal programs in the preservation of the free enterprise system.
When Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated, unemployment in the United States was 30 percent, and many people were embracing socialism or communism as a model for our country. On March 7, 1930, John Schmies, Communist Party candidate for mayor of Detroit, led a Ford hunger march from Detroit to Dearborn. After the Wagner Act was passed assuring the right to organize unions and bargain collectively and the steel, auto, electrical and rubber industries were quickly unionized, union leaders such as Walter Reuther cleaned the communists out of the labor movement and proceeded pragmatically to address the needs of union members.
The result was the construction of a remarkable edifice by employers and union leaders through free collective bargaining that included paid holidays and vacations, health care and pensions, highly-paid jobs and a private system of industrial jurisprudence that provided due process in the workplace. These measures provided answers to universal questions such as: What happens to my family if I'm injured or get sick and can't work? When I'm too old to work? And what protection do I have if I'm fired arbitrarily?
Now, thanks to global competition, the foundation of our industrial edifice is cracking. Detroit's population has fallen from 1.6 million in 1935 to 899,000 today, and the city's finances are in dire straits. Less than 10 percent of the private workforce in the United States is unionized. Manufacturing jobs are scarce. More and more Americans get low-wage jobs with few benefits through temp agencies. Car industry pensions are underfunded, as is the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, and health care benefits aren't funded at all but paid out-of-pocket only so long as the companies are able.
In the golden '50s and '60s, retirement security was viewed by the companies and the UAW as based on a three-legged stool: Social Security; a non-contributory pension plan (plus lifetime health benefits); and personal savings.
With our industry under global siege, defined benefit pensions underfunded and disappearing, and personal savings declining, now is not the time to weaken the Social Security leg of the retirement stool by subjecting it to the risks of private securitites markets operated by investment bankers and for-profit mutual funds where serious conflicts of interest have been revealed in the past couple of years.
Private savings and investment accounts, IN ADDITION to Social Security and employer pensions and increasing the national savings rate are important. But nothing in Bush's privatization plan would do this. Greater participation in 401(K) plans and IRAs by low income workers should be encouraged by offering immediate eligibility and automatic enrollment with better tax incentives for participation and additional regulations to curb excessive administrative and trading costs.
President George W. Bush's proposed "reform" of social Security springs from longstanding haters of FDR and the New Deal and from hopes of enhancing the appeal of the GOP to young voters. The libertarian CATO Institute has been waging a public relations campaign effort to gut Social Security for several years. The Bush administration proposals failed to recognize that Social Security, as originally conceived, has served us well and is as needed now as it was in 1935. A few minor adjustments are all that's needed to put Social Security on a sound financial footing for the forseeable future.
[This article was adapted from one that appeared as an op-ed by Ralph Deeds in the Detroit Free Press February 23, 2005]
Social Security in an Election Year NYT Editorial
- Log In - The New York Times
Nearly all Republican candidates have called for cuts to Social Security benefits.
PBS--Frontline "The Retirement Gamble"
- The Retirement Gamble | FRONTLINE | PBS
The Retirement Gamble raises troubling questions about how America’s financial institutions protect our retirement savings.
6-19-13NYTimesEDITORIAL "What's Next for Social Security?"
- What’s Next for Social Security? - NYTimes.com
Benefits are shrinking while retirement needs are growing. There are sensible ways to fix Social Security without undermining it as a support against hardship in old age.
6-9-13NYTimes--Robert Schiller on How to Fix Social Security
- To Fix Social Security, Use the Right Wrench - NYTimes.com
Switching to a new index for calculating Social Security benefits is a hot topic in Washington. But maybe we should consider a much different benchmark--tying SS benefits to GDP.
6-3 thru 6-9 Bloomberg Businessweek "In Australia, Retirement Savings Done Right
- In Australia, Retirement Saving Done Right - Businessweek
Australia has a superior retirement savings system with features the U.S. would do well to emulate.
6-3-13NYTimes OP-ED by Paul Krugman, The Truth About Social Security and Medicare
- The Geezers Are All Right - NYTimes.com
News flash: Social Security and Medicare aren’t doomed!
4-20-13NYTimes "Obama's Budget Negotiating Chip Has Big Downside for Old and Poor" by Tara Siegel Bernard
- The Potential Effect of Obama’s Social Security Proposal - NYTimes.com
Many of those who would be affected by President Obama’s Social Security proposal face higher health costs and have little hope of working again.
How President Obama's Chained CPI Proposal Would Affect Social Security
More Details: How plan affects Social Security
A key feature is a revised inflation adjustment called chained CPI.
This formula would curb annual increases in a broad swath of government programs but would have its biggest impact on Social Security.
On average, annual increases in Social Security payments, government pensions and veterans benefits would be about 0.3 percentage points smaller each year, the Social Security Administration says.
The cost-of-living adjustment for 2013 was 1.7%, or about $21 a month for the average Social Security retiree. Under the new measure of inflation, it would have been about 1.4%, or a little more than $17 a month. (Associated Press 4-6-13)
COMMENT: Sounds to me as if President Obama got some bad advice from Geitner, Rattner, Bowles or other Wall Street Banksters!
Robert Reich on Chained CPI
3-30-13NYTimesEDITORIAL "Social Security, Present and Future"
- Social Security, Present and Future - NYTimes.com
There are sensible ways to reform Social Security, but it is not driving the deficit. It should not be part of the deficit discussions, and benefits should not be reduced by chained CPI or any other method.
3-20-13WallStreetJournal "Democrat Seeks Panel on Bolstering Social Security"
- Democrat Seeks Panel on Bolstering Social Security - WSJ.com [Kudos to Senator Durbin]
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, said he would ask lawmakers to create a commission to recommend ways to shore up the finances of Social Security.
Kudos to Senator Dick Durbin for His Social Security Proposal
WASHINGTON—Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, said Wednesday he would ask lawmakers to create a commission to recommend ways to shore up the finances of Social Security.
A commission would remove negotiations over the retirement program from the broader discussion in Congress of what changes to taxes, entitlement programs and other federal spending should be enacted to reduce the deficit. Separating Social Security from those emerging discussions could prove to be a contentious idea.
Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Majority Whip in the U.S. Senate, has announced plans to introduce a bill creating the formation of a Social Security Commission to address the program's long-term solvency.
Mr. Durbin described his proposal at breakfast sponsored by The Wall Street Journal and said he would file legislation in the coming months. It would create a bipartisan panel that would have 180 days to approve a plan to ensure that Social Security is solvent for 75 years.
Both chambers of Congress would be required to vote on the plan—or an alternative that achieved the same result—on an expedited basis.
Mr. Durbin envisions an 18-member commission, with six people appointed by President Barack Obama and the remaining 12 divided equally between House and Senate lawmakers. The task force would have to come up with 14 votes for Congress to consider the plan.
"If we're going to seriously take on these entitlement programs, we need buy-in from both parties," Mr. Durbin said. "There's a path in the middle here."
A Social Security commission in the early 1980s led by Alan Greenspan, who later went on to be Federal Reserve chairman, proposed benefit cuts and other changes that were credited with placing the system on firmer footing. But recent panels charged with solving fiscal problems have failed. The 2010 Simpson-Bowles deficit panel failed to advance a sweeping debt-reduction plan. Now, Mr. Durbin is trying to line up co-sponsors to test whether a panel with a narrower mandate could succeed.
Some members of that 2010 panel are skeptical a Social Security commission would succeed. The outcome "tells you how good commissions are," said Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), a panel member.
Other colleagues are rooting for Mr. Durbin. Sen. Mark Warner (D., Va.) said he expects to be a co-sponsor. Sen. Mike Johanns (R., Neb.) said that "if somebody can convince me that is the best pathway, because it takes away from the deficit-reduction talks, I'm open to that."
The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about a new commission, but Mr. Obama's recent statements suggest he might be reluctant to back one.
Mr. Obama has said he would back a significant change to Social Security, switching to a new measure of inflation, under which benefits would rise more slowly, but only if Republicans agree to support new tax revenues aimed at cutting the deficit. That suggests Mr. Obama sees the Social Security changes as part of a broad discussion of multiple fiscal matters.
Turning Social Security over to a commission would remove a negotiating chip and make it harder for Mr. Obama to offer anything in exchange for the tax increases Democrats say are necessary for deficit reduction.
Some other Democrats are wary of a commission, seeing it as a step toward cutting benefits. "I don't trust a lot of these commissions," said Sen. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa.) "They look at the books and they try to figure things out from numbers without thinking about what's happening to real people. I'm afraid that they might take a look at Social Security in a way that does not relate to what people's lives are like."
Mr. Durbin was a first-term lawmaker when the Greenspan commission's recommendations were put to a vote. New to Congress in 1983, Mr. Durbin said he was in a "cold-sweat panic" when he found out he would have to vote to increase the retirement age to 67 from 65. He voted for it—and was re-elected.
One lesson, he said, is to move forward on tough changes with support from both parties. "There wasn't anyone who lost the election over that issue. Why? It was bipartisan," he said.
Write to Siobhan Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org
A version of this article appeared March 21, 2013, on page A4 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Democrat Seeks Panel on Bolstering Social Security.
2012-2013 Fiscal Cliff Negotiations and Social Security
President Obama made a serious policy mistake and and a negotiating error when he offered to adopt "chain CPI" for future Social Security cost of living adjustments as a part of a "grand bargain" to resolve the "fiscal cliff" negotiations. It would be unconscionable to reduce the benefits of Social Security recipients many of whom have little else to rely on for support because their defined benefit pensions have been discontinued, their 401k or IRA savings are miniscule or non-existent whose health insurance has disappeared and who may be facing foreclosure of their home. When inequality of wealth and income has reached historic proportions in this country is hardly the time to pick the pockets of our most vulnerable citizens in order to pay off debts attributable, in part, to tax breaks for the top 2 percent of Americans.
Moreover, changes in Social Security should be handled separately from overall budget or "cliff" negotiations because the Social Security trust fund is capable of paying full benefits through 2033. That is, there is no emergency, and Social Security cannot be blamed for the current deficit situation which was caused by the Bush administration's addition of an un-funded Medicare drug program, two wars and tax cuts. There is plenty of time to make the small adjustments required to put Social Security on a sound financial footing for the forseeable future, considering all the "fixes" which have been suggested including removing or increasing the earnings cap, raising the retirement age and the tax rate and adopting a means test.
Discussions of Social Security changes should be held entirely separately from the deficit discussions, perhaps together with discussions of badly needed changes in 401k plan regulations. However, even though the GOP didn't agree to President Obama's proposal, it will be difficult for him to remove it from the negotiating table. Even if the change in the CPI was deemed advisable, that concession should have been used as a "pearl without a price" to seal an overall "grand bargain."
Here are some facts form the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
Fact #1...Social Security's trust fund has historically taken in more money than it pays out in benefits. During the troubled 2011 economy--and even with the Social Security payroll tax holiday in effect--trust fund assets increased because total revenue exceeded expenditures for benefit payments and administrative expenses.
Fact #2...Without making any changes whatsoever, surrent projections show Social Security able to pay full benefits through 2033.
Fact #3...Beyond that, the actuaries prject a relatively modest gap between taxes collected and benefits paid, but there are reasonable, solid, relatively modest adjustments that would endure the viability of Social Security for many years to come. So it follows that...
RADICAL CHANGES ARE NOT NECESSARY TO "SAVE" SOCIAL SECURITY. Indeed, proposals to privatize Social Security would deeply undermine the program's long-term health, and most Americans have flatly opposed this harmufl idea. However, some in Washington continue to push harmful changes to ward off a "deficit crisis"...
Fact #4...For the past several years, the debate has centered around sweeping reform proposals based on the false claim that spending on ALL social insurance programs--Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid--is a grave challenge to9 the nation's economic health. And the powerful forces in Washington perpetuating this myth say we must CUT SPENDING on these programs, but the truth of the matter is...
Fact #5...Even before the Wall Street crisis crippled our economy, the Bush Administration's tax breakes for mostly wealthy Americans were a major reason behind our historic national debt and the resulting pressure to rein in spending.
Fact #6...Spending cuts on Social Security are an unfair approach to deficit reduction as they would not only weaken this program but be used to finance TAX BREAKS FOR MILLIONAIRES! and yet
Fact #7...One proposal under consideration would REDUCT THE ANNUAL SOCIAL SECURITY COST-OF-LIVING (COLA) as a way to pay down federal debt. Proponents of this plan want to change the current COLA formula by tying it to a "chained CPI." Under this dangerous proposal the typical 65-year-old who filed for benefits at age 62 could ultimately see an annual benefit cut of nearly $1,400
IF YOU CARE ABOUT THE FUTURE OF SOCIAL SECURITY, YOU BELONG IN THIS DEBATE. ...It probably seems like the politicians, Wall Street and the policy experts have all the answers and all of the clout when it comes to deciding what is best for Social Security. But, do they?
Fact #8 ...While Congress may hold the levers of power concerning Social Security, it's you who they listen to most.
11-16-12NYTimes--Life and Death Deficits?? Paul Krugman
- Life, Death and Deficits - NYTimes.com
Raising the retirement age on Social Security and Medicare would be a harsh blow to Americans in the bottom half of the income distribution.
10-20-12WallStreetJournal--"How Much is Social Security Worth?" Ellen E. Schultz
- Conquering Retirement: How Much Is Social Security Worth? - WSJ.com
A 50-year-old might have accrued a SS benefit worth $1,750/mo at full retirement age. Assuming annual cost-of-living adjustments of 2% a year and a life expectancy of 90, the present value of his SS benefit would be $588,551.
How Social Security Taxes Are Invested
- Trust Fund FAQs
By law, income to the trust funds must be invested, on a daily basis, in securities guaranteed as to both principal and interest by the Federal government. All securities held by the trust funds are "special issues" of the US Treasury.
4-23-12Social Security's Financial Health Worsens
- Financial Outlook Dims for Social Security - NYTimes.com
The Obama administration reported a significant deterioration in the financial outlook for Social Security, and that the financial condition of Medicare was stable but still unsustainable.
4-24-12WallStreetJournal--Stress Rises on Social Security and Medicare
- Social Security, Medicare's Outlook Worsens - WSJ.com
Social Security and Medicare continued to deteriorate, with the programs' trustees projecting the combined Social Security retirement and disability programs will exhaust their trust fund three years sooner than thought.
NY Times 12-16-11 Disagreement Over Payroll Tax Cut's Effect on Social Security
- Disagreement Over Payroll Tax Cut’s Impact on Social Security - NYTimes.com
Critics predict one extension will lead to another as politicians balk at raising taxes to their former level, especially if unemployment remains high. The chief actuary for the Social Security Administration say the proposal will do no such thing.
1-10-11HuffingtonPost--Zero Hour for Social Security
- Zero Hour for Social Security by Robert Kuttner
Pres. Obama seems on the verge of needlessly cutting America's most valued social program and the one that best differentiates Republicans from Dems. It's a vain effort to appease deficit hawks in his own party and on Wall Street,and Republicans who.
4-5-11NYTimes Op-Ed--"To Cut the Deficit, Look to Social Security"
- To Cut the Deficit, Look to Social Security - NYTimes.com
Solving Social Securitys problems would reassure Americans about their retirements and improve the countrys creditworthiness.
11-20-10 Letters to the NYTimes on Social Security Reform Proposals
- Letters to the NYT on Social Security Reform Proposals
Its time to scrap the cap, that is, to require contributions on all earnings above $106,800. Doing so would fully address the projected shortfall for 75 years. And it would provide a few extra dollars to improve benefits. Eric Kingson, Syracuse Univ
Letter to the NYTimes from Eric Kingson, Professor, Syracuse University
I disagree with Peter Orszag’s assertion that the co-chairmen of the deficit-reduction commission have handed the White House “a highly progressive reform plan for Social Security” (“Safer Social Security,” column, Nov. 15). At least, not unless you really believe these notions:
¶Annual cost of living adjustments, which do not fully reflect the rising cost of health care, are too generous.
¶Future retirement benefits for low- and moderate-income people under the age of 50 should be reduced because the life expectancies of the better off are increasing at a greater rate than theirs.
¶Retirement, disability and survivors protections should be cut by as much as 36 percent for young people entering the work force today.
Americans should not be stampeded into cutting increasingly critical Social Security protections. It’s time to ask those who have reaped the benefits of runaway tax cuts and growing income inequality to pay their fair share, not cut Social Security.
It’s time to “scrap the cap,” that is, to require contributions on all earnings above $106,800. Doing so would fully address the projected shortfall for 75 years. And it would provide a few extra dollars to improve benefits.
Manlius, N.Y., Nov. 15, 2010
The writer, a professor of social work at Syracuse University and co-director of Social Security Works, was adviser to the 1982 National Commission on Social Security Reform and to the 1994 Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform.
3-4-99Detroit News " How the Great Depression Changed Detroit" (and the nation)
- detnews.com | Michigan History
On March 7, the Ford Hunger March from Detroit was organized by John Schmies, communist candidate for mayor of Detroit, and led by Albert Goetz. Three thousand marched from Detroit to Dearborn asking for union recognition, full employment (Ford had h
11-15-10NYTimes--Peter Orzag on Fixing Social Security
- Orzag Critiques Debt Panel Recommendations on Social Security
Social Security isn't the key fiscal issie facing the nation. Payments to beneficiaries are 5 percent of the economy now; by 2050, theyre projected to rise to 6 percent. In the same period, federal health care costs will increase six times as much.
11-10-10NYTimes--Bi-Partisan Deficit Panel Draft Recommendations
The plan would reduce projected Social Security benefits to most retirees in later decades — low-income people would get higher benefits — and slowly raise the retirement age for full benefits to 69 from 67, with a “hardship exemption” for people who physically cannot work past 62. And it would subject higher levels of income to payroll taxes, to ensure Social Security’s solvency for the next 75 years.
But the plan would not count any savings from Social Security toward meeting the overall deficit-reduction goal set by Mr. Obama, reflecting the chairmen’s sensitivity to liberal critics who have complained that Social Security should be fixed only for its own sake, not to balance the nation’s books.
11-9-10 WashingtonPost-- Bipartisan Deficit Panel Recommend Cuts in Spending, Cuts in Social Security and Medicare and Elimination of Tax Breaks
- Deficit Panel Recommends Cuts in Social Security and Medicare
The retirement age is set to hit 67 under current law; the Erskine-Simpson plan would raise it to 68 in 2050 and to 69 by 2075. The early retirement age - the age at which recipients can first claim benefits - would hold steady at 62...
11-5-10NYTimes--"Is Social Security Really a Pension?"
- Is Social Security Really a Pension? Floyd Norris
SS isn't a pension plan, though it resembles one because the benefit level is related to the recipients income while working. It's a plan to to tax working Americans to pay benefits to retired and disabled workers and their families.
8-10-10NYTimes Editorial--The Latest on Medicare and Social Security
- Medicare and Social Security
Social Security is holding up in a weak economy. The date of insolvency for Medicares hospital fund was pushed back, from 2017 to 2029, because of cost-saving measures in health reform. SS, un-changed, will be able to pay full benefits until 2037.
8-6-10NYTimes--Medicare Stronger, Social Security Worse in Short Run
- Short run outlook for Medicare funding better than Social Security according to report by trustees
Medicare will remain financially solvent for 12 additional years, until 2029, because of the cost-cutting measures in President Obamas recently enacted health care legislation, the programs trustees projected on Thursday.
8-6-10NYTimes--"Attacking Social Security" by Paul Krugman
- Conservative Debt Hawks are Attacking Social Security
S.S.s attackers claim theyre concerned about the programs financial future. But their math doesnt add up, and their hostility isnt about $ & c. Its about ideology and posturing. And underneath is indifference to the life realities of Americans.
7-31-10NYTimes--Social Security Jitters? Prepare Now.
- Social Security Adjustments Needed
Options include increasing Social Security payroll taxes, subjecting more income to the tax, reducing initial benefit payments or cutting cost-of-living increases (which would affect current retirees) and increasing the retirement age.
2-23-09 Obama Finds Resistance in His Own Party on Addressing Social Security Jackie Calmes in the NY Times
- Democrats Resist Social Security Benefit Cuts
Obama is facing resistance from liberals in his own party to Social Security "help" from Lindsay Graham e.g. benefit reductions for future retirees.
Presidential Candidates Need to Take a Position on Social Security and Medicare
- Social Security & Medicare Issues in 2008 Election
This is a link to a video from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare with the message that presidential candidates should tell us their plans for preserving Social Security and Medicare.
401k Plan Regulations Need Reform
The current recession 2008-09 has decimated the 401K savings of many if not most Americans. This may present an opportunity to make needed changes in 401k regulations. Changes are needed because the plans are not performing their intended function--participation is not as high as it should be; the costs of many plans is too high; and participants too often must choose among a bewildering array of investment options including the stock of their own employer. Savings have been invested inappropriately for retirement accounts, and the results have been abysmal for many if not most participants.
Last month John Bogle, inventor of the no-load, low cost, tax efficient index mutual fund and founder of the VanguardGroup, which is the not-for-profit, investor-owned, second largest mutual fund group in the world, recommended to Congress a number of improvements in the regulations governing 401k plans. Unsurprisingly, Bogle recommended automatic enrollment and limiting investments to broad stock and bond index funds. A link to Bogle's testimony is provided below. [John Bogle has been called "The Warren Buffett of mutual funds." He has devoted his life to reforming the mutual fund industry.]
Statement of John T. Bogle Before the Education and Labor Committee, U.S. House of Representatives Feb. 24, 2009
- STRENGTHENING WORKER RETIREMENT SECURITY
Bogle recommends automatic enrollment in 401k plans and limiting investments to approved broad bond and equity index mutual funds.
Social Security Facts
- Social Security Facts
"Social Security Facts." By James D. Agresti and Stephen F. Cardone. Just Facts, January 27, 2011. Revised 4/2/11. http://justfacts.com/socialsecurity.asp NOTE: This research contains comprehensive details about Social Security.
11-6-11NYTimes--Rick Perry's Risky Social Security Proposal
- Many See Risk in Rick Perry’s Plan for Social Security - NYTimes.com
Gov. Rick Perry’s risky plan to let state and local wokers opt out of Social Security runs counter to recommendations from bipartisan debt reduction commissions.
McCain Supports Privatization of Social Security
CNN/Fortune--Privatizing Social Security is Still a Dumb Idea!
- Privatizing Social Security: Still a dumb idea - Fortune Finance
Why is privatizing Social Security such a turkey? Because retirees shouldn't have to depend on the market's vagaries for survival money. More than half of married couples over 65 and 72% of singles get more than half their income from Social Security
How the Great Depression Changed Detroit
Is Social Security Broke?
A Stalwart of Retirement Planning: the IRA by J. Alex Tarquinion in the NYTimes 4-27-07
Alex Tarquinio points out that the Individual Retirement Accountor IRA is often overlooked in retirement planning. More than 90 percent of IRA money comes in the form of roll-overs from 401k plans. Only 14 percent of American households that were eligible to make direct IRA contributions did so in 2006....Fifty-seven percent of "prime working-age Americans," had no retirement plan at work. Contributing to an IRA makes senses for such people.
Read Tarquinio's excellent article here;
That Looks Too Risky!
9-3-09 NYTimes Reluctance to Retire Due to Declining 401k Balances
- Increasing Reliance on 401k Plans May be Accentuating Economic Cycles
“One unappreciated side effect of the 401(k) system is that it’s a sort of reverse automatic stabilizer,” says Teresa Ghilarducci, an economics professor at the New School.
Veteran of 1930s Detroit Labor Wars
- Detroit Labor Wars
96 year old Dave Moore tells of his experiences in the Ford "hunger march" and the turbulent Detroit auto industry in the 1930s.
Who Needs Retirement, Anyway Phyllis Korkki in the NYTimes 4-19-09
- Who Needs Retirement, Anyway?
"I will not retire while I've still got my legs and my makeup box,"said Bette Davis. "Retirement is the ugliest word in the English language,"said Ernest Hemingway. "Sooner or later I'm going to die," said Margaret Mead,"But I'm not going to retire."
"Looting Social Security, Part 2, William Greider in "The Nation" 1-4-10
- Pete Peterson says: "Scrap it!"
He's baaack--the Wall Street billionaire who wants to loot Social Security. This time, Pete Peterson has invented his own "news network" to promote his right-wing rants about shrinking the only retirement security system available to millions of work
Looting Social Security, Part 1, William Greider in "The Nation" 1-9-09
- Looting Social Security, Part 1
Governing elites DC and Wall St have a fiendishly clever "grand bargain" they want Obama to embrace in the name of "fiscal responsibility." The government, they argue, can recover the billions spent bailing out the banks by looting Social Security.