FDL Movie Night: The ROMEOWS (Retired Older Men Eating Out Wednesdays)

By: Monday July 22, 2013 4:59 pm

The ROMEOWS: Retired Older Men Eating Out Wednesdays< ?em> is just that, and much more. The ROMEOWS follows a group of Brooklyn College alumna who have been been gathering weekly for fifteen or twenty years (not even the ROMEOWS are sure how long their weekly sojourns have been going on). Directed by Robert Sarnoff, one of the ROMEOWS, this gentle documentary is about friendship, with a good dose of meditation on the state of the world, politics, marriage, kids, movies, the future, and the past.


More on Chained CPI, the Benefit Cut for Social Security on the Table in Fiscal Slope Discussions

By: Tuesday December 18, 2012 8:25 am

First of all, this is a benefit cut of about 0.3% a year, as Dean Baker points out. He adds that “This loss would be cumulative through time so that after 10 years the cut would be roughly 3 percent, after 20 years 6 percent, and after 30 years 9 percent.” Actually if we started using chained CPI in 2002, we’d be 3.6% behind today. That’s well over $1,000 a year, and the situation grows worse over time. So the greatest impact would be on the oldest seniors, which happens to correlate with the poorest.

450,000 Seniors Would Lose Coverage Under Medicare Eligibility Age Increase

By: Wednesday December 12, 2012 7:00 am

The ferocious pushback on a trial balloon offer to raise the Medicare eligibility age continues, now at a very high level.

Responding to Jon Chait on the Suddenly Possible Idea of Raising the Medicare Eligibility Age

By: Saturday December 8, 2012 12:00 pm

So my old college pal Jon Chait has responded to my criticism of his endorsement of raising the Medicare eligibility age, America’s worst new idea. I’ll get to batting that around in a moment.

As the kerfuffle was happening, however, this has become less of an academic argument. Ezra Klein writes that raising the Medicare eligibility age could become the centerpiece of a deal, based on what “smart folks in Washington” say.

Mark Begich’s Plan to Stop the Effects of Inequality on Social Security Finances

By: Friday November 16, 2012 2:50 pm

I will be on Mark Thompson’s Make It Plain show on Sirius/XM – I’m actually on every Friday – and we tape early, so I can tell you that one of the things I’ll talk about is how Social Security’s long-term funding is an artifact of rampant US inequality. See, we have a payroll tax funding Social Security that gets capped at around $113,700 a year. That means that every dollar above that cap gets untaxed to pay for Social Security. When inequality widens, as it has, more and more compensation goes untaxed, draining the Social Security system of funds. Historically speaking, at least 90% of compensation gets captured by the Social Security system. Today that’s down to about 82%, the last I read.

So to the extent that Social Security needs to be fixed – and by “fixed” I don’t just mean brought into a 75-year balance, but made more adequate so less seniors slip into poverty – you need to raise that tax cap and capture more income. Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) has an excellent piece of legislation that would do just this.

Social Security COLA Increase for 2013: 1.7%

By: Tuesday October 16, 2012 9:35 am

Social Security beneficiaries will get a 1.7% cost of living adjustment in 2013.

The COLA is calculated by a measurement of inflation, which has risen slowly over the past year. However, the inflation calculation used currently, the Consumer Price Index for Wage Earners or CPI-W, may not take in the rise in cost of living for seniors, which most strongly depends on rising health care costs (a separate measure, the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly or CPI-E, accounts for this much better).

Medicare Advantage Example Yields Lessons for Both Parties

By: Monday August 27, 2012 9:45 am

The substance of the Medicare debate in the 2012 election is completely at odds with the realities. The Romney campaign hammers away at the $716 billion in “Medicare cuts” imposed by the Affordable Care Act, designed to blunt a traditional Democratic advantage on the topic, as it did in 2010. So far this has worked; the last two national polls show the Romney-Ryan ticket aheadof Obama-Biden on the subject of Medicare.

Romney Advisor: Use General Revenues for Medicare

By: Thursday August 23, 2012 6:20 pm

Brian Beutler advances the story about the manufactured Medicare crisis Mitt Romney has planned, and gets a curious response from one of Romney’s health care advisors.

Paul Ryan’s Budget Priorities: Transforming Government

By: Monday August 13, 2012 9:35 am

When you talk about “the Ryan budget,” you have to make a set of distinctions. There are actually at least three Ryan budgets. The first, which pre-dates his ascension to the chair of the House Budget Committee, was a ridiculous conservative fantasy that slashed taxes and increased deficits by something like $60 trillion over time. When he actually came into power, he had to come up with a more legitimate document, but only slightly. That led to the 2011 budget, which eliminated traditional Medicare entirely for people under 55 and turned it into a voucher program, and that frightening many Republicans. His latest version tries to hide the Medicare destruction and instead radically slashes everything else except the military.

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