Monday, March 2, 2015
Social Security

Weekend Reader: ‘Get What’s Yours: The Secrets To Maxing Out Your Social Security’

Introduced as a New Deal program in 1935, Social Security has been a capstone after a career (or several) — and for many retired Americans, it is the difference between comfort and poverty. Knowing how to navigate and properly execute one’s retirement is imperative as 10,000 Baby Boomers reach retirement age every day. The value of making the “right decisions, […]

March 1, 2015
Mitt Romney speaks to fellow Republicans at a dinner during the Republican National Committee's Annual Winter Meeting aboard the USS Midway on January 16, 2015 in San Diego, California (AFP/Sandy Huffaker)

End Poverty? Reduce Inequality? What Republicans Must Do First

Republican candidates say they want to reduce poverty and inequality. But how can they become the change?

January 27, 2015
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) answers questions during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 7, 2015 in Washington, D.C. Boehner discussed priorities of the new U.S. Congress, and the recent attack in Paris during his remarks. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

The Right’s Idea Of ‘Governance’

The new Congress has already proved that it won’t govern responsibly.

January 8, 2015

How Are Federal Dollars Divided Among States?

Find out which states rely the most on government spending.

December 10, 2014
social security

How The Safety Net Cuts Poverty Rates

The safety net is saving Americans — but Republicans are still obsessed with cutting it.

October 28, 2014

Cyberattacks On State Databases Escalate

Only 24.5 percent of information and security officers are confident they can protect against the prevalent cyber threats made to state databases.

October 6, 2014
Seniors walking

Norway Ranks No. 1, Afghanistan Last, In Quality Of Life For Over-60s

See which other countries take care of their senior citizens — and which ones don’t.

October 2, 2014
social security

Social Security’s No-Bad-News Day

By Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times The annual trustees reports for Social Security and Medicare customarily give rise to an outburst of disinformation from the enemies of social insurance programs — that comes with the territory when you’re putting out hundreds of pages densely packed with graphs, charts and statistics. There may be less of […]

July 31, 2014

Medicare Finances Improve As Health Care Inflation Slows, Trustees Say

By David Lauter, Tribune Washington Bureau WASHINGTON — Improvements in health care costs have extended the life of Medicare’s main trust fund by four years, the annual report of the Social Security and Medicare trustees said Monday, a further sign of the positive effect of lower medical inflation. Medicare Part B premiums are expected to […]

July 28, 2014
social security

Social Security Computer System Still Not Working After Six Years

By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun BALTIMORE — The Social Security Administration has spent nearly $300 million to develop a computer system to speed processing of disability claims, but the system still isn’t working after six years, according to a newly released report. An independent analysis commissioned by the agency found that the project has […]

July 25, 2014
At scene of Nevada ranch standoff, ‘citizen soldiers’ are on guard

Cliven Bundy’s Window Into The War On The Poor

Republicans were quick to distance themselves from the Nevada rancher after his remarks about slavery, but he points to a deeper issue with conservative policy. It’s tempting dismiss Cliven Bundy – the Nevada rancher who last week suggested that blacks were better off under slavery – as a fringe conservative unworthy of any more airtime. […]

May 5, 2014

5 Things You Need To Know About New GOP ‘Frontrunner’ Rand Paul

A new CBS/New York Times poll has bad news for the man who can only now be called a former frontrunner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination — Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ). With 41 percent of Republicans saying they don’t want the governor to run and only 31 percent saying they do, he’s the only […]

February 26, 2014
Barack Obama

Obama Drops Proposal For Entitlement Trims From Budget Plan

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has dropped a proposal included in previous budget offers that would have changed the way entitlement benefit increases are calculated, an acknowledgment that the era of “grand bargain” fiscal talks with Republicans has ended — at least for now. The decision also comes as the White House has worked to […]

February 20, 2014

How Paul Ryan Helped Save Medicare And Social Security By Trying To Gut Them

President Obama’s new budget will not include a proposal to implement “chained CPI” to slow the growth of Social Security benefits, according to White House officials. And there’s one man who deserves most of the credit for making sure there will be no cuts to benefits to seniors until at least 2017 — ironically the […]

February 20, 2014
Marco Rubio

Republicans Say U.S. War On Poverty Hasn’t Measured Up

Washington (AFP) – U.S. conservatives seized on Wednesday’s 50th anniversary of the launch of president Lyndon Johnson’s “war on poverty” to dispute the effectiveness of existing policies, and urge a welfare state overhaul. “Five decades and trillions of dollars after president Johnson waged his war on poverty, the results of this big-government approach are in,” […]

January 9, 2014

Tips On Filing For Social Security Disability Benefits

About a month ago, I answered some questions from people who were wondering if I thought they might be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. I essentially told them that the only way they would know for sure is to actually apply for such benefits. I took flack from some readers who thought my answer […]

October 12, 2011

Social Security’s Misunderstood Suspense File

Q: I recently heard a news report that said Social Security has several billion dollars in something called a suspense file. It has something to do with the taxes collected on fraudulent Social Security numbers. The report said this money is just sitting there, not earning interest and not being used for any constructive purpose. […]

October 5, 2011

Columnist Is Right — Most People Do Not Pay Taxes On Their Social Security

Q: In a recent column, you wrote, ‘The vast majority of Social Security recipients do not pay taxes on their monthly benefits.’ That is a lie. I know for a fact that just the opposite is true. The vast majority of people pay taxes on their Social Security benefits. My parents pay taxes on their […]

September 28, 2011

Foreign-Born Parents Not Mooching Off Social Security System

Q: I am sick and tired of all these people who bring their parents over here from foreign countries and then immediately put them on their Social Security account. No wonder Social Security is going broke! I personally know two couples in my neighborhood who get Social Security. They brought their parents up from Mexico […]

September 21, 2011

Ponzi Schmonzi

Will all my readers out there who think Rick Perry’s ruggedly handsome mug should be carved onto Mount Rushmore please stop sending me emails about Social Security as a Ponzi scheme? The astute governor from Texas, apparently one of the country’s leading experts on Social Security, has been running around comparing the federal retirement program […]

September 19, 2011

Why Republicans Can’t Stop Trash Talking Social Security

Truly bad ideas never die; they are recycled in Republican presidential primary campaigns. The example at hand is privatizing Social Security, a long-time obsession of the American right that briefly resurfaced at the beginning of George W. Bush’s second term, and then disappeared just as quickly after a brisk rejection by the public. Now that […]

September 9, 2011

Mitt Romney Wins Republican Debate… By Defending Social Security

Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts Governor and one-time frontrunner for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, stood out at a candidate debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California Wednesday night by displaying a solid command of the issues and appearing less abrasive and extreme than his fellow candidates — and specifically by defending Social […]

September 8, 2011

Quick-And-Dirty Social Security

As my longtime readers know, I usually answer only one or two questions in each column. That’s because most Social Security rules are so complicated, and I try to cover as many “ifs, ands, or buts” as possible in my answers. That inevitably limits the number of topics I can handle in any one column. […]

September 7, 2011