Reforming the Disability Welfare State?

The number of people ages 18-64 receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) under the Old-Age, Survivors and Disability (OASDI) program has increased dramatically in the recent past. Ana Swanson (Washington Post, Wonk Blog) has brief piece that focuses on SSDI. It includes a map (by Seth Kadish, Vizual Statistix) graphically representing the percentage of beneficiaries … Continue reading Reforming the Disability Welfare State?

Moving On from the Debt

There was a brief moment a few years back when concerns over the size of the budget deficit were leading to some discussions of the long-term fiscal imbalances and the potentials for a grand bargain. But with last month’s budget deal, the debt is no longer on the agenda.  As Alex Seitz-Wald notes in National … Continue reading Moving On from the Debt

Budgetary Realities

As you likely know, the Congress seems poised to pass a $1.012 trillion omnibus spending bill to avoid another shutdown (see coverage from the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Hill).  It appears that both the Democrats and Republicans will get things they hold dear in the spending provisions and the riders (Ed O’Keefe … Continue reading Budgetary Realities

The Debt Ceiling and Social Security

Forgive me if I am confused. On May 13, 2013, the Social Security Board of Trustees released its annual report on the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds. A few salient points: In 2012, the OASDI Trust Funds had $840 billion in income, including $509 billion in contributions, $27 billion from … Continue reading The Debt Ceiling and Social Security

The Motor City Mess—A Harbinger of Things to Come?

The Economist thinks so, and has dedicated a good deal of space to the question in the newest issue (here  and here). A few quotes: Other states and cities should pay heed, not because they might end up like Detroit next year, but because the city is a flashing warning light on America’s fiscal dashboard. … Continue reading The Motor City Mess—A Harbinger of Things to Come?

The Political Costs of Reform

President Obama’s budget proposal supports entitlement reform, in part, through the introduction of the chained CPI (rather than the current CPI-W) for calculating cost-of-living adjustments. This change has been part of various reform proposals over the years, although it has often been discussed as part of progressive indexing (i.e., maintaining the CPI-W for low wage … Continue reading The Political Costs of Reform

The Inaugural

There was little that I found surprising in President Obama’s second inaugural address (if you didn’t watch it or have a chance to read it, you can find it here). He clearly articulated—however vaguely—a center left agenda, much as one might have predicted.  Unless the Democrats capture the House in the 2014 midterms, I don’t … Continue reading The Inaugural