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View Diary: Social Security Operations to 1993: OR Trust Fund Hits and Myths (21 comments)

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  •  Agree. And a terrible move in 1983. (2+ / 0-)
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    kck, whaddaya

    But the whole Greenspan Commission process was a shambles.

    For the ultimate insider's view read "The Greenspan Commission: What Really Happened" originally written as a chapter in Bob Ball's autobiography but now out as a separate monograph/book.

    Bob Ball was a 40+ year veteran of Social Security and a former Commissioner of SSA when he was selected essentially to be Tip O'Neil's rep to the Greenspan Commission. Don't want to spoil the read, but the standard narrative that had Tip'n'Ronnie personally hammering out a deal over drinks is pure fiction. Basically the Commission deadlocked and Bob Ball for the Dems and non-Commissioner Dick Darman for the Reagan Administration with some assistance from Bob Dole and Jim Baker hammered out a deal that satisfied no one but did kick the can forward past the 1988 election. And as the Table shows with good results, ten years after 1983 the Trust Fund was back in actuarial balance. But no one in a position to understand the numbers ever believed this punt would pre-fund Boomer Retirement, indeed all projections during the 90s (as now) put Trust Fund Exhaustion in the late 2020s early 2030s or the point of maximum Boomer impact on the system. It wasn't until the late 90s that projections pushed that date back into the late 2030s and for a brief shining moment into the early 2040s when at least Peak Boomers would be expected to start Shuffling Off to Buffalo (and points beyond).

    It would have been a funny kind of pre-funding that had an exhaustion date in 2026, a point where Boomers would range in age from 62-80. Hence the "Hits and Myths" of the post subtitle.

    To get back to the point the marginal extra room provided by taxing benefits of higher income recipients wasn't worth the abandonment of the insurance principle. But the process was messy and the crisis really acute with the Trust Funds literally within weeks of going to zero in Summer 1983. Nothing like the situation today. - SocSec.Defender at - founder DK Social Security Defenders group - (hmm is there a theme emerging here?)

    by Bruce Webb on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 02:14:04 PM PDT

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    •  Means Testing Medicare makes sense (2+ / 0-)
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      kck, whaddaya

      Doubly so if like me you are a supporter of ultimate Single Payer financed by broad based society wide taxation. From that perspective the decision to layer Medicare over Social Security and Medicaid over Welfarewhile leaving the working class nakedly exposed to the Medical-Big Insurance Complex was a regrettable if perhaps unavoidable compromise.

      But there is no good reason to let the political realities of 1964 and 1983 just let us throw over the fundamental princples established for Social Security retirement in 1934 by the CES and put into law via the 1935 Act. It is worth remembering that Survivors Insurance wasn't added until the 1939 Amendments and Disability not until 1956. And in my view there was a solid case for leaving protection for "Widows, Orphans, and Cripples" on the public charge rather than essentially charging wage workers and only wage workers to fund what had historically been society wide obligations.

      On the other hand the case for making workers responsible for their own retirement with some payout progressivity in the mix to compensate for differential opportunity and life luck is strong. It is only the layering over of that with these other responsibilities that is problematic. For example the case for a payroll cap in the case of a pure retirement system is unassailable. But as a component of a much broader Social Insurance scheme not so much. And the same for means testing.

      In regards to SS the road to Mildly Problematic Heck was Paved with Good Intentions as to the proper societal care of the sick and helpless. - SocSec.Defender at - founder DK Social Security Defenders group - (hmm is there a theme emerging here?)

      by Bruce Webb on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 02:51:17 PM PDT

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