30 Issues: Social Security

True/False: Social Security is Easy to Fix

Friday, October 22, 2010

Peter Diamond, 2010 Nobel Prize-winning professor of economics at M.I.T., and the co-author with Nicholas Barr of Pension Reform: A Short Guide, weighs in on the debate over reforming social security.


Peter Diamond

Comments [10]

robin jones hanzelka from sunvalley addition off 820 in Fort Worth 76119,

dx' 83 w/m.s. , ambulatory but weakness blind in right eye occasionally , depression, as of 2005 unbearable lumbar back pain. Tear in lumbar spine, 18 7-9 mm bone spurs, turning into nerve root, 2003 dx' w/narcolepsy, blind in right eye from m.s. nerve damage, along with cataracts.
I was studied 1- -1001, recieved disturbing report. Dementia, no longer able to learn new skills, (dr. concerned R: Suicide) As a Christian I can fight it, w/antidepressants, how ever my husband and fifteen yr old are going with out, for ever it looks, Husb. makes forty thousand a year. I have only worked sparaticaly prior to 93, the fatigue I have suffered, an all consuming fog stayed surounded me, however in the last eight years I walk in fog, husband is in denial, and inconsiderate. He doesn't believe in dr.s I do, they have kept me alive prior to m.s. dx, blood clot in lung, baby boy healthy born, but placenta never pushed out, fever 105.4, fever and flue sympoms thirty min in recovery room, 1983,
two months after the M.S. sympoms arrived during the night. there is so much more to explain, I beg that you will help me, Binder and Binder just over the phone were loud and rude to me, Im 51yrs old, two sons, 27,15, marriage of 28 years, with an old house, he has no over time, without some independence by contributing to medical bills ect. at fifty one, All could be lost to me, on the streets I would be.
welfare is not what I am requesting, I have worked in the past in my teens, twenties, early thirties. Sparatic jobs, but I originally graduated in arlington highschool, got married, divorced, remarried to my husb. now. I would much appreciate someone kind and not hurriedly pushing me down an assembly line. I have pride, I have filed at least two times with out an attorney, I'm praying Brian Loncar will beat this one and make my family whole again. You see I have depression, feeling of worthlesness, marriage prob. all about money.

So I am asking just because he makes around forty thousand and two dollars yearly, no other income, coming into our home, owning two vehicles, got to get son to school. treated with narcolepsy meds. M.S. treated w/Avonex but not a cure, only slows the progression to dementia, wheel chairs, I am already in a diaper.
Depends.... well off brand, can't afford meds, his insurance has a ceiling on prescriptions, two thousand dollars. Avonex is 1700 a month for four injection material. I cannot even read, and I dare not walk down the front steps without guidance, that is when there is someone here.
so much more to explain, but please call me, most convenient would be between ten oclock to nine. p.m. My name is Robin, thank you

Oct. 26 2010 06:36 AM
John from Williamsburg

It's easy to fix Social Security. Lift the cap on withholding social securty tax on earned income to say, $500,000, or no cap at all, as is the case for Medicare. Why should someone earning $1,000,000 pay at a much lower rate than someone earning $50,000?

Oct. 22 2010 05:24 PM
Brian from Hoboken

How about the Tea Partyers who decry all government intervention in their lives walk the walk and give up their social security checks? As for removing te income limits, we aleady have a progressive income tax. Social security is a separate benefit. I am 35 - my wife and I already pay an enormous amount of income tax. I would have to be delusional to think I will see anything close to dollar for dollar returns on my SS taxes paid when we retire. I am ok paying progressive income tax but that is where I draw the line. Should we make property taxes progressive too? What about sales taxes? Where does it end? Raise the retirement age over time. Raise the income limit with an inflation index. Leave it at that.

Oct. 22 2010 11:02 AM
Susan from nyc

Borrowing money from Social Security is one thing, but is the government paying it back?

Oct. 22 2010 10:48 AM
Ann from Foirest Hills, NY

Sorry for the mis-type... I meant to say "earning up to $100,000+)....

Oct. 22 2010 10:47 AM
Ann from Forest Hills

What is the reason for stopping Social Security deductions for those earning over $100,000 +. Why not continue to deduct SS from wage earners up to $250,000? That would surely make a difference.

Oct. 22 2010 10:45 AM
John from New Jersey

Professor Diamond,

Am I insane to think that a progressive tax would fix a great deal (if not most) of our country's problems?

Oct. 22 2010 10:41 AM
RLewis from the Bowery

"...a private account whose portfolio would have to be made up of government approved investments..."

The details were never explored because its a really bad idea. It's a horrible idea for too many reasons: govt telling us what's "approved", govt sanctioned gambling of retirement funds", and who bails out these folks the next time the market crashes? etc.

Have you learned nothing in the past 2 years about the limitlessness of greed?

You just proposed taking the "security" out of Social Security. Please, next time think a lil' deeper before solving the country's problem.

Raise the age to qualify by 1 year for anyone under voting age and raise it by another year for anyone not yet born.

Oct. 22 2010 10:29 AM

if people are living longer why not work longer?

Oct. 22 2010 10:23 AM
ROBERT D. WEISS from New York CIty

Fixing SS is not easy but a start could be made.
Under President Clinton, there was the Breaux Commission that suggested that anyone who was not within 15 years of qualification for full benefits, could, at THEIR OPTION, put up to 25% of their social security premiums into a private account whose portfolio would have to be made up of government approved investments. The portfolio would not carry any explicit or implied guarantees. If you were within 15 years of collecting SS, this option would not be available to you, Again, if you did qualify for the option, but chose to stay with the current system, you would be allowed to do so.

The details were never really explored because the subject is so politically charged and neither of the two parties wanted to touch it; the so-called "third rail" of politics.

However, without some privatization, in some form, social security can not sustain itself and will eventually have horrific consequences in the years to come.

Oct. 22 2010 09:46 AM

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