Thursday, January 18, 2007

Barbara B. Kennelly, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare


I received a large package from Barbara B. Kennelly of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, around January 17, 2007. While I will discuss the lobbying that goes with this issue on a different blog, I just wanted so summarize a few points that she made here about her groups accomplishments:

(1) The most interesting accomplishment is eliminating the Social Security earnings test for those having reached full retirement age (not for those in early retirement). I was not aware that in the past, even those at full retirement had faced earnings tests. Yet some people who see Social Security as an "old age welfare" program (rather than as an annuity) would maintain that means testing ought to continue.

(2) Heading off a balanced budget constitutional amendment that would have reduced social security benefits

(3) Heading off an attempt to reduce Social Security COLA benefits

(4) Stopping a proposal to reduce Medicare spending by $270 Million a year.

Of course, the ideological issue is partially replacing social security with private accounts, which would reduce contributions to pay claims for persons already under the old system, which became, in a sense, a Ponzi scheme because the first beneficiaries back in FDR days had contributed nothing. And the other issue is demographics--lower birthrates and longer life spans. Those are being discussed in other postings.

Here is a related posting by me on these kinds of lobbying practices.

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