Tag: ‘Social Security’

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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Note to the Rich: Don’t Spend All of Your Payroll Tax Cut Yet

By :: December 28th, 2011

After much anguish, Congress finally extended this year’s payroll tax cut for two more months. The final bill passed in nearly empty chambers a couple of days before Christmas. But this version differed in an important way from the measure passed by the Senate just a few days earlier. The final bill removed a cap […]

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A Two-Month Payroll Tax Cut is Dumb, So Is How Congress Got There

By :: December 20th, 2011

House Republicans are right about one thing at least: Extending this year’s payroll tax cut for two months is ridiculous. The trouble is they are largely to blame for the very policy they are criticizing. Congress got itself in this mess because a few dozen self-styled tea partiers have refused since last summer to helo build a […]

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