Saturday, January 24, 2009

NCPSSM executive clarifies numbers of social security; it's a "moral" rather than actuarial problem

There is an organization and a website for NCPSSM, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, link here. The home page bears some investigation, with banner stories like “Congress shouldn’t exclude seniors in stimulus” and “we don’t have to trade health and retirement security for economic stimulus.”

This morning (Saturday, Jan. 24), Barbara Kennelly, the chief executive of NCPSSM and a former US Representative from Connecticut, has a letter to the Washington Post on p A11, “Let’s Not Cry ‘Wolf’ Over Social Security,” link here. She points out that Social Security will start shorting in 2017, not in 2011 as reported in the Washington Post on Jan. 16 (“Obama Pledges Entitlement Reform”). She also refers to the 2008 Trustees Report, which shows that Social Security is sustainable and able to provide current benefits until 2041.

The whole question of “earned entitlement” reform (and means testing) seems to have a social and political and even “moral” basis, rather than one based on actuarial reality. It seems to be motivated by intergenerational conflict and the “moral” notion (more commonly found on the right wing) that there ought to be limits on how much any one person can “consume”, or that blood family ought to resume more of the responsibility (perhaps the ultimate aim). This sounds like it edges toward the idea of rationing in Medicare, or age limits for procedures.

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