Tag: ‘Social Security’

How Obama’s Inaugural Address Frames the Policy Debate for the Next Decade

By :: January 22nd, 2013

 “We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit.  But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.” With those words in his 2nd inaugural address, […]

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What Adjusting the Price Index Would Mean for Taxpayers

By :: December 18th, 2012

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner may be close to agreeing on a plan that, among other things, would revise the way government programs are adjusted for inflation. Most attention is focused on what this means for Social Security recipients. But the Tax Policy Center estimates that changing the cost-of-living measure would also result […]

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How to Control Entitlements: A Challenge Ike Did Not Face

By :: December 18th, 2012

Yesterday, I described President Eisenhower’s remarkable success in turning  a large deficit in fiscal 1959 into a balanced budget in 1960.  It was one of the biggest fiscal consolidations since World War II.  Although it was a very different time, there are lessons relevant to today’s fiscal challenges.  One is that a president need not […]

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Congress Can’t Avoid Tax Rate Hikes By Closing “Loopholes”

By :: November 13th, 2012

You can tell when Congress and the President have tough choices to make. That’s when they trot out the euphemisms—all aimed at making what they are about to do sound as benign as possible.  Case in point: the impending fiscal cliff. If you listened to President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner’s radio addresses last Saturday, […]

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Social Security & Medicare Lifetime Benefits

By :: November 5th, 2012

How much will you pay in Social Security and Medicare taxes over your lifetime? And how much can you expect to get back in benefits? It depends on whether you’re married, when you retire, and how much you’ve earned over a lifetime. I recently published with Caleb Quakenbush “Social Security and Medicare Taxes and Benefits […]

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A Modest Proposal: Five Ways to Tax the 47 Percent

By :: September 27th, 2012

Let’s say you are truly offended that 47 percent of Americans don’t pay income tax. Just complaining won’t fix the problem. All those freeloaders are still out there, dodging their responsibilities as red-blooded taxpaying Americans. So, let’s stop fooling around and do something about it. Here is my modest proposal. Five solutions to make sure everyone pays […]

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Payroll Taxes Cover About a Third of Medicare Costs

By :: June 15th, 2012

I get the impression that many Americans believe Medicare is financed like Social Security. They know that a portion of payroll taxes goes to Social Security and a portion goes to Medicare. So they conclude workers are paying for Medicare benefits the same way they are paying for Social Security benefits. That isn’t remotely true, […]

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Will the 2010 Health Law Cut the Deficit or Add to It?

By :: April 10th, 2012

In a new study, Chuck Blahous, who is a public trustee for Medicare and Social Security, concludes that the 2010 health law will add at least $340 billion to the federal deficit from 2012-2021. This is contrary to the official estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, which initially figured the Affordable Care Act would reduce the […]

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Time to End Washington’s Trust Fund Gimmicks

By :: March 16th, 2012

Why do we bother with government trust funds? As the Senate’s just-passed highway bill proved yet again, Congress is turning these funds into little more than accounting shams. In theory, it makes sense to establish special accounts where designated revenues are set aside for a specific purpose. But in practice, Washington is grossly abusing the […]

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Should States Use Tax Breaks to Woo Seniors?

By :: February 9th, 2012

We’ve all seen the articles in Forbes, Kiplingers, or U.S. News trumpeting the best states to live in retirement. A key measure for them all: Low taxes. What you may not know is that states actively compete with one another to provide tax breaks to older residents—especially to wealthy seniors. This competiton is similar to the way […]

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