Means Testing Emerges as a Social Insurance Pill Democrats Could Swallow

By: Friday December 14, 2012 4:34 pm

It certainly looked yesterday as if the White House had dropped any notion of using an increase in the Medicare eligibility age as a bargaining chip in future negotiations on a grand bargain. While the White House has not ruled out increasing the age, some of its leading allies did, and Dick Durbin went so far as to say this was “no longer one of the items being considered by the White House.” But the Press


Contra the Deficit Scolds, We Can Keep Medicare and Medicaid Strong Simply By Keeping Them Intact

By: Wednesday November 28, 2012 3:16 pm

This diatribe bestowed upon Rep. Raul Grijalva on CNBC, which has become Fiscal Cliff TV, is really priceless, with the anchor accusing Grijalva of tanking the market because he refuses to cut benefits for poor people and seniors. The means testing angle is really a joke here, too. Medicare is already means-tested. To means-test it more, in a way that will actually capture enough revenue to matter, you would have to dip into the middle class to make the math work. Similarly, this idea that this is the “wealthiest generation of retirees in history,” when they just suffered a financial crisis and the stripping of their wealth right before their retirements, is ridiculous.

In reality, we cannot be secure enough in the long-term projections about Medicare and Medicaid to take a hacksaw to the benefits today.

NYT Picks Up on Cuts to Current Medicare Beneficiaries Arising From Romney-Ryan Plan

By: Wednesday August 22, 2012 9:40 am

The story I covered on Sunday about how the Romney-Ryan campaign would have to cut current Medicare benefits because of the box they’ve shoved themselves into by promising to “restore $716 billion in Medicare cuts” finally gets picked up by the New York Times in a front-page story. If the story gets a bigger platform, all the better. But I don’t think Jackie Calmes did a complete job of explaining this, so let me try again.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Eric Laursen, The People’s Pension: The Struggle to Defend Social Security Since Reagan

By: Saturday May 12, 2012 1:59 pm

Social Security is one of those topics that most people think they know about. Everyone“knows” Social Security is “going bankrupt,” that the government “raided the trust fund,” and that “it won’t be there when we retire.” These folks include both the ideologues determined to dismember the program and the casual consumers of mainstream media, which has been largely content to write he-said, she-said stories giving equal weight to the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration and“experts” wearing tin-foil hats.

But there’s a potentially more dangerous cohort than the Fox-educated crowd out there, says Eric Laursen.

House Republicans Unveil Partisan Legislation on Payroll Tax Cut and UI

By: Thursday December 8, 2011 11:10 am

House Speaker John Boehner announced his party’s year-end legislation that would extend the payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance benefits and a patch to prevent a 27% cut in Medicare reimbursement to doctors. The legislation also includes poison pills which the President already vowed to reject, designed as sweeteners to get conservative members on board.

House Republican Version of Payroll Tax Legislation Littered with Poison Pills

By: Wednesday December 7, 2011 9:20 am

As a condition for extending the payroll tax cuts, the House will likely try to jam the Senate by passing some conservative piece of legislation with a bare majority and then leaving town, leaving a bill that includes means testing Medicare, reversing the EPA boiler rule, shifting authority for Keystone XL and cutting Affordable Care Act funds.

Senate Dems Provide Details on Smaller Payroll Tax Cut Package

By: Monday December 5, 2011 12:45 pm

Harry Reid plans to announce new terms for the payroll tax cut today, but while the overall size of the tax cut will be lower, and a few concessions will be made to chase Republican support, the bill will still be partially paid for with a surtax on millionaires.

AUDIO: Clyburn Supports Social Security Means Testing, Benefit Cuts

By: Thursday August 11, 2011 12:30 pm

James Clyburn has just been appointed to the Super Congress Catfood II Commission, and will now have powers above those or an ordinary member of Congress when it comes to determining the future of Social Security and Medicare. So I thought it would be a good time to re-run Mike Stark’s interview with Clyburn from May of 2010 regarding Clyburn’s support for cutting Social Security benefits.

James Clyburn Supports Means Testing for Social Security

By: Friday May 28, 2010 12:15 pm

James Clyburn is a senior member of the Democratic leadership in the House. He has been meeting with the Debt Commission. He’s close to the White House, and he very much knows what everyone is planning and discussing. The fact that he is on board with Social Security benefit cuts (no matter what he wants to call it) should be of concern to everyone who cares about the future of the program.

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