Thursday, May 22, 2008

Robert Samuelson on economic security (sorta):

Today Samuelson writes about the concerns of the middle class:
It's not just factory workers and low-paid service employees but also managers and engineers [who are worried]. Companies downsize. Older workers exit in buyouts. Companies raise health insurance premiums. The reliable "defined benefit" pension (which paid a fixed monthly amount) has given way to the riskier 401(k) -- vulnerable to bad investment decisions and sinking stocks.
One way of protecting against a total loss for retirement is the federal Social Security Insurance program. What does Samuelson have to say about that?

Nothing in today's column. But he has written about it before:
  • May 14 08: Of necessity, spending cuts should focus on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. These programs are projected to grow from about 45 percent of the present budget to 70 percent over a couple of decades. ... raising eligibility ages for baby boomers and cutting some benefits are unfair. People should have received more warning.
  • Feb 20 08: Spending for retirees -- mainly Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid -- is already nearly half the federal budget. ... we should gradually raise the eligibility ages for these programs and trim benefits for wealthier retirees.
  • Oct 3 07: Spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid -- three big programs that serve the elderly -- already represents more than 40 percent of the federal budget. In 2006, these three programs cost $1.1 trillion, more than twice defense spending. [One solution is] cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid -- higher eligibility ages or lower benefits for wealthier retirees
Samuelson doesn't like Social Security. Why else would he repeatedly lump it with Medicare and Medicaid, two programs that do have funding problems, and then call for cuts in all three?


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