Social Security’s One-Two Punch

You may not think of Social Security as an economic stimulus program, but it is. A new report from AARP, in fact, shows that every $1 paid out by Social Security generates, in turn, about $2 of total output for the U.S. economy – or nearly $1.4 trillion in 2012. Economists call this the “multiplier effect.” Simply put, that’s when one person’s spending (in this case, spending generated by Social Security benefits) becomes a second person’s income, then the second …

Is Poverty Among Older Americans Undercounted?

Poverty levels are much higher for older Americans when you factor in how much they need to spend on health care, the Census Bureau has found. While 9 percent or so of all Americans 65 and older were below the official poverty threshold in 2011 ($10,788 for an individual), 15 percent were below an alternative threshold that takes into account spending on health care. The alternative measure also takes into account variations in the cost of living, taxes, whether a …

A Retirement Reality Check, Courtesy of Gallup

Thinking about your eventual retirement? If you’re relatively well-off, you’re probably confident that your tax-deferred savings will provide your major source of income. But if you’re at the other end of the income ladder, you’re more likely to count on Social Security benefits to tide you over. Those are some of the findings of a newly released Gallup poll that reveals glaring contrasts between how nonretired Americans from different income levels expect to fund their retirement years. The key takeaways: Among …

Chained CPI: 4 Opinions From the Press

It’s not only politicians who have mixed reactions to a different way of calculating cost-of-living adjustments to Social Security benefits. Newspaper editorial writers and columnists are conflicted, too. The chained consumer price index, included in President Obama’s budget proposal, would mean that seniors’ checks would go up a little slower each year. The chained CPI assumes that as prices go up, consumers buy cheaper substitute goods to make up for it. Here’s how it’s playing among the mainstream press’s opinion …

Social Security Benefit Cuts Would Have Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Impact on Women

The Social Security benefit cut known as Chained CPI remains a piece of the deficit puzzle for reasons that baffle conservatives, veterans, progressives, and almost everyone in between.  The $85 billion in sequester cuts for 2013 have begun and many in Washington have still said they’re willing to cut the modest Social Security benefits we’ve earned by $127 billion over 10 years, even though Social Security by law remains separate from the budget and its deficit.  Let’s give every woman …

Poll: Boost Social Security, Improve Benefits

We’re shelling out about $2,000 a year more in Social Security taxes in 2013 (based on $50,000-a-year earnings) now that the tax break expired. But guess what? Most workers say they don’t mind paying into the Social Security system, and in fact, they’re willing to dig deeper into their pockets to eliminate a projected financing gap and to improve benefits, a new survey finds. More than three-quarters of  2,000 people polled, age 21 and up, say they value Social Security …