Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New CRR fact sheet: “The NRRI and Annuities”

The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has released a new Fact Sheet:

"The NRRI and Annuities"

The Fact Sheet's
key findings are:

  • The NRRI assumes that households buy an annuity at retirement.
  • The NRRI (the percent of households 'at risk' in retirement) increases from 51 percent to
    • 53 percent if households withdraw 4 percent per year; or
    • 60 percent if households live off their interest.
  • Not annuitizing hurts high-income households the most, because they rely more on their nest eggs in retirement.
  • While few buy annuities today, annuities could improve retirement security for future retirees.

The Fact Sheet is available here.


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Academy of Actuaries says: Raise the Social Security Retirement Age

Actuaries to Fiscal Commission: Increase the Retirement Age for Social Security

WASHINGTON – 25 Oct. 2010 – The American Academy of Actuaries is urging the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to address the financial condition of Social Security and to restore actuarial balance to the program by including an increase in the retirement age in its final recommendations. The actuaries said that increasing life expectancy has led to an expansion of lifetime benefits and system costs, but that an increase in the retirement age would help curb this cost growth.

"Longevity has increased and continues to increase meaning retirees will be spending more time collecting benefits in the system than prior generations," wrote Tom Terry, chairperson of the American Academy of Actuaries Public Interest Committee.  "Increasing the retirement age can contribute significantly to stemming this trend and make the program solvent and sustainable."

The actuaries said that workers could still retire with approximately the same degree of retirement security, if a change in the retirement age causes workers to delay retirement. They recommend that an increase in the retirement age be phased in gradually over an extended time frame to accommodate the changes in retirement behavior that would be necessary to make the policy successful. The actuaries acknowledged that there is potential for certain populations to be adversely affected, but that changes to Social Security can be coupled with other policy options to address these concerns.

The complete letter from the American Academy of Actuaries Public Interest Committee to the fiscal commission is available at: http://www.actuary.org/pdf/Fiscal_Commission_Retirement_Age_102510.pdf

The actuaries have been advocating for increasing the retirement age since August 2008, when it released its first position statement on behalf of the U.S. actuarial profession. The statement is available at: http://actuary.org/pdf/socialsecurity/statement_board_aug08.pdf

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CBO releases new Social Security projections

The Congressional Budget Office has released new projections for the Social Security program's long-term finances. Here's how CBO summarizes the current situation:

In calendar year 2010, Social Security's outlays will exceed tax revenues (that is, the trust funds' receipts excluding interest) for the first time since the enactment of the Social Security Amendments of 1983. Over the next few years, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects, the program's tax revenues will be approximately equal to its outlays. However, as more of the baby-boom generation (that is, people born between 1946 and 1964) enters retirement, outlays will increase relative to the size of the economy, whereas tax revenues will remain at an almost constant share of the economy. Starting in 2016, CBO projects, outlays as scheduled under current law will regularly exceed tax revenues.

Looking at the longer term, here's a chart showing possible paths for Social Security's net cash flow – that is, its tax income minus the benefits the program owes. The middle line is CBO's "best guess," while the upper and lower lines represents what CBO thinks could happen in the 10th and 90th percentiles of a distribution of possible outcomes. In other words, there's around a 10 percent chance that Social Security's cash flows could be better than the upper line and a 10 percent chance they'll be worse than the lower line. (For what it's worth, this approach is FAR better than the "low cost" and "high cost" scenarios used by SSA, since it assigns a probability to different outcomes rather than rather arbitrarily calling them "low" and "high.")

So while there's around a 10 percent chance that long-term deficits won't be so bad, there's also a 10 percent chance they'll be really bad – think 2.5 percent of GDP as of 2050. Most people would want to insure against the really bad outcomes by fixing the program today. If we end up with a really good outcome we can give everyone a tax cut or a benefit increase, which is better than having to give everyone a sudden tax increase or benefit cut if things turn out badly.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Coons and O'Donnell Debate Social Security

From the Wall Street Journal, Delaware Senate Candidates Chris Coons and Christine O'Donnell talk Social Security reform:

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Video: Former CBO director Rudy Penner explains Social Security COLAs

From the Urban Institute, Rudy Penner explains why we won't be seeing a Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment this year.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Economist: “A gold-plated burden”

The Economist has a nice write-up of the problems facing public sector pensions and how their fishy accounting plays into things, including a few quotes from me and a link to some of my work with Eileen Norcross of the Mercatus Center at George Mason. It's a good summary of the accounting debate and how it affects how we view pension funding levels. Check it out here.

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Now THAT'S what I call taking Social Security reform "off the table"

I usually kind of like Russ Feingold. He's about a dozen notches to the left of me, but seems like an honest guy and doesn't pretend he's something he isn't (until recently, being a Senator from Wisconsin allowed you that luxury).

But today he's down in the polls relative to his challenger, businessman Ron Johnson, and Feingold's new ad on Social Security reform goes just a little bit over the top.

So you'd really take everything off the table? Given that the system is going insolvent -- just in time for the retirements of people like, say, me? -- doesn't rejecting everything seem a bit extreme? Probably, but that's what happens in the end of a campaign when someone is far behind.

But Feingold's opponant Johnson isn't pulling any punches either. His own ad doesn't back down at all from his claim that Social Security is a "ponzi scheme." Check him out.

Say what you will about either of these guys, these are both pretty good ads. Sure beats the usual "Congressman [insert name] voted with [disliked party leader] 96% of the time..."
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Bloomberg poll on Social Security/Medicare reform options

Hot Air points to a new Bloomberg poll regarding the budget deficit, highlighting several results that seem to indicate that – despite everything Americans have been through regarding the economy and financial markets – that they want "privatization" of Social Security and Medicare to be "on the table." For instance, Bloomberg says:

Almost three in five say privatization of the Medicare program, with assistance for low-income seniors, should be considered when lawmakers discuss how to close the budget gap. A majority, though, oppose raising the age at which people can start receiving Medicare benefits. Americans are narrowly against lawmakers considering Social Security privatization as a means to reduce the deficit. Forty-eight percent say that should be off the table versus 44 percent who want the possibility looked at. Almost three in four favor lawmakers studying removal of the Social Security tax cap so wages over $107,000 a year are taxable.

Some caveats. First, as Hot Air points out, the most popular option is to have someone else pay for it all, through an increase in the maximum taxable wage for Social Security. But since that won't be enough to fix the whole problem and comes with some pretty negative side effects, it's worth considering other options. But second, "privatization" of Social Security won't fix the program's funding gap. It might better help us build assets to pay for future benefits and it would allow low-earners to better diversify their retirement savings, but the underlying funding gap for Social Security is the same whether you have personal accounts or not. "Privatization" of Medicare – if it means shifting to a premium support model in which the government supplements the purchase of private health insurance -- has more potential because it would shift incentives to increase cost-effectiveness and, in any case, the government could place a limit on the growth of the supplements it pays.

And third, the poll's options – "strongly considered," "considered" and "off the table" – may not be the optimal ones for getting at these choices. But it is fair to say that if someone says a given option should be strongly considered or considered that it's at least "on the table."

Better measurement of public opinion would be really helpful in figuring out how to fix the entitlement funding gap. The government and the budget don't really "care" how these programs are balanced so long as it's done. But individuals care a lot about whether to pay higher taxes, receive lower benefits, or work longer. The more we know about what they want, the better we can tailor reform plans to meet their needs.

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Talking about public sector pensions

Over at The Atlantic, I'm interviewed regarding public sector pension financing. The short story:

What's the problem with these state and local pension programs?

There are two problems. First, they're underfunded. They only have about 75% of the money needed to pay liabilities. They need more money from either employee contributions or general taxes [employer contributions].

Second, states' accounting standards are inappropriate. They assume they can earn high returns on stocks and private equity investment without market risk. If the risky assets fail, the taxpayers have to pay the difference.

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Retirees won’t get a Cost of Living Adjustment this year. Should they?

On Friday, the Social Security Administration is likely to announce the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) that will be paid in 2011. It is almost sure to be zero. As no COLA was paid in 2010, this will be the second year in a row without an inflation adjustment.

From August 2009 through August 2010, the most recent data we have available, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Workers (the CPI-W) rose by 1.4 percent. Social Security uses the CPI-W to calculate COLAs, so how can there be no COLA scheduled for next year?

The reason is that in the prior year—August 2008 through August 2009—the CPI dropped by 2 percent. But since the Social Security law doesn't allow for a negative COLA, beneficiaries simply received a zero COLA for 2010. In effect, this means that the purchasing power of their benefits rose by around 2 percent. To make up for that, Social Security will continue to pay zero COLAs until the CPI catches up to its previous level. Overall, retirees aren't really being hurt, even if it looks bad.

Moreover, there is some good news for retirees: for around 90 percent of beneficiaries, Medicare Part B premiums do not increase in a year in which no COLA is paid. Since no COLA was paid in 2010, the scheduled increase in monthly premiums from $96.40 to $110.50 wasn't applied. This saves the typical retiree around $169 per year. In 2011, Part B premiums were scheduled to rise to $120.10 per month, but with no COLA paid that increase also will be averted. That will save retirees an additional $115 per year. Put together, next year's Part B premiums will be almost $285 lower due to the lack of COLAs being paid. 

For more on the Social Security COLA, see my New York Times
piece from earlier this year, co-authored with Alicia Munnell of Boston College, and my Retirement Policy Outlook.

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New papers from the Social Science Research Network


"Individuals' Uncertainty about Future Social Security Benefits and Portfolio Choice" 

RAND Working Paper Series WR- 782

ADELINE DELAVANDE, New University of Lisbon - Faculdade de Economia Email: a-delavande@fe.unl.pt
SUSANN ROHWEDDER, The RAND Corporation Email: Susannr@rand.org

Little is known about the degree to which individuals are uncertain about their future Social Security benefits, how this varies within the U.S. population, and whether this uncertainty influences financial decisions related to retirement planning. To illuminate these issues, the authors present empirical evidence from the Health and Retirement Study Internet Survey and document systematic variation in respondents' uncertainty about their future Social Security benefits by individual characteristics. They find that respondents with higher levels of uncertainty about future benefits hold a smaller share of their wealth in stocks.

"Retirement Income Adequacy for Today's Workers: How Certain, How Much Will it Cost, and How Does Eligibility for Participation in a Defined Contribution Plan Help?" 

EBRI Notes, Vol. 31, No. 9, September 2010

JACK VANDERHEI, Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), Temple University - Risk Management & Insurance & Actuarial Science
Email: vanderhei@ebri.org

The concept of retirement income adequacy for today's workers has been gaining increased interest in recent months with the prospects of lower investment yields as well as the limited employment options for Baby Boomers wanting to work past retirement. Earlier this year, EBRI updated its Retirement Security Projection Model® (RSPM) to show how the EBRI Retirement Readiness Ratings™ (measuring the percentage of households that are likely to have sufficient money in retirement to pay for basic expenses plus uninsured health care costs) have changed in the last seven years. The good news is that the portion of Boomers and Gen Xers "at risk" of having inadequate retirement income has actually decreased during that time, even after factoring in the recent decline in the financial markets and housing values. Early Boomers (those born between 1948 and 1954) had an "at risk" rating of 59 percent in 2003; however, by 2010 that number had dropped to 47 percent. The "at risk" ratings for Late Boomers (those born between 1955 and 1964) decreased from 55 to 44 percent, while those for Gen Xers (those born between 1965 and 1974) decreased from 57 to 45 percent. Unfortunately, that still leaves nearly one-half of the households in these age cohorts "at risk" of having inadequate retirement income, and the likelihood that the Early Boomers will run short of money within the first 10 years of retirement is as high as 41 percent for those in the lowest (preretirement) income quartile.

This paper builds on EBRI's Retirement Security Projection Model® (RSPM) to determine how much households need to save each year until retirement to maintain a probability level they will be able to afford simulated retirement expenses for the remainder of the lifetime of the family unit. The objective of this paper is to focus on the importance of future eligibility for a defined contribution plan, whether or not the employee actually chooses to participate. The RSPM model shows that eligibility for a defined contribution (primarily 401(k)) retirement plan has a significant positive impact on reducing the additional compensation most families need to achieve the desired level of retirement income adequacy. This finding has major implications for any policies that would decrease the percentage of workers eligible to participate in defined contribution retirement plans. Furthermore, it is clear from the results presented in the paper that the relative impact of future eligibility in a defined contribution plan will depend on several factors: the workers' ages; their relative income level; the probability of retirement income adequacy they desire; whether the appropriate target is the median additional percentage of compensation or one large enough that 3 out of 4 workers would have sufficient retirement income.

The PDF for the above title, published in the September 2010 issue of EBRI Notes, also contains the fulltext of another September 2010 EBRI Notes article abstracted on SSRN: "2010 Health Confidence Survey: Health Reform Does Not Increase Confidence in the Health Care System."

"When the State Mirrors the Family: The Design of Pension Systems" 

CESifo Working Paper Series No. 3191

VINCENZO GALASSO, University of Bocconi - Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research (IGIER), Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research) Email: vincenzo.galasso@uni-bocconi.it
PAOLA PROFETA, Bocconi University, CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research) Email: paola.profeta@uni-bocconi.it

This paper studies the transmission mechanism from family culture to economic institutions, by analyzing the impact of the within family organization on the original design of the public pension systems. We build a simple OLG model with families featuring either weak or strong internal ties. When pensions systems are initially introduced, in society with strong ties they replicate the tight link between generations by providing earnings related benefits; whereas in societies with weak family ties they only act as a safety net. To test this transition mechanism, we consider Todd (1982) historical classification of family types across countries. We find that in societies dominated by absolute nuclear families (i.e., weak family ties), pension systems act as a flat safety net entailing a large within-cohort redistribution, and viceversa in societies characterized by stronger family ties where pension systems are more generous. This link between the type of families and the design of pension systems is robust to testing for alternative explanations, such as legal origin, religion, urbanization and democratization of the country at the time of their introduction. Interestingly, historical family types matter for explaining the design of the pension systems, which represents a persistent feature, but not their size, which have largely changed over time.

"Insult to Injury: Disability, Earnings, and Divorce" 

PERRY SINGLETON, Syracuse University - Department of Economics Email: psinglet@syr.edu

This study examines the effect of work-limiting disabilities on the likelihood of divorce. Theoretically, the effect depends on the disability hazard at the time of onset and the impact of disability on marital value. The theory therefore implies, based on a set of empirically supported premises, that the effect of disability on divorce should decrease with age, increase with education, and increase with disability severity. Data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation support these predictions. The effect of a work-preventing disability is greatest among young, educated males, increasing the divorce hazard by 13.3 percentage points.

"Protecting the Social and Economic Interests of Persons Who Lose Their Employment in Kenya" 

STEPHEN THUKU MBAARO, affiliation not provided to SSRN Email: mbarost06@gmail.com

Social security has been defined as the protection which society provides for its members through a series of public measures against the economic and social distress that otherwise would be caused by stoppage, or substantial reduction of earnings resulting from sickness, maternity, employment injury, unemployment, invalidity, old age and death the provision of medical care and the provision of subsidies for families with children.1 It is the process through which the Social and Economic rights are continually assured of a population amidst a variety of situations some of which are unforeseen and unpredictable such as loss of employment or in any of the ways herein above mentioned. This paper explores some of the mechanisms that Kenya has put in place to see to it that her workers are somehow cushioned from the social shock that follows loss of jobs and also suggests ways in which the existing systems can be improved.

"Fertility Impact of Social Transfers in Sub-Saharan Africa – What About Pensions?" 

GÖRAN HOLMQVIST, affiliation not provided to SSRN Email: boxenabc@hotmail.com

The potential link between child-related cash transfers and increased fertility is often raised an issue of concern when debating their use. Old-age pension is a form of cash transfer where theory would suggest the opposite impact, i.e. pensions equal decreasing fertility. A handful of Sub-Saharan African countries have introduced non-contributory social pensions that cover the great majority of the older population. It makes them into a distinct group in relation to the rest of the region where public old-age security arrangements, if existing at all, are largely reserved for the formal sector. This paper attempts to trace any impact these high-coverage pension schemes may have had on fertility. Findings suggest that there has been such an impact, in the range of 0,5 to 1,5 children less per woman depending on model specification.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New paper: “The Impact of Public Pensions on State and Local Budgets”

The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has released a new Issue in Brief:  "The Impact of Public Pensions on State and Local Budgets" by Alicia H. Munnell, Jean-Pierre Aubry, and Laura Quinby.

The brief's key findings are:

  • Currently, state and local pension contributions equal 3.8 percent of total budgets.
  • To get back on a path to full funding, sponsors will need to contribute:

    5.0 percent of budgets if liabilities are discounted by 8 percent; or
    9.1 percent of budgets if liabilities are discounted at 5 percent.

  • But states with seriously underfunded plans and/or generous benefits – like CA, IL, and NJ – will need to contribute significantly more.

The brief is available here.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Article in which I talk about sex…

…discrimination, that is. In the new National Review I run through the "gender pay gap," the claim that women are paid only 77 cents for each dollar earned by men. It turns out there's a little bit more to it than that.

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New articles in the Journal of Pension Economics and Finance


Volume 9 - Issue 04 - October 2010

PDF version of this Table of Contents


The impact of aggregate mortality risk on defined benefit pension plans


Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Volume 9, Issue 04, October 2010, pp 481 - 503


Published online by Cambridge University Press 05 Mar 2010 [ abstract ]


Predicting cash flows related to defined benefit plan contributions


Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Volume 9, Issue 04, October 2010, pp 505 - 532


Published online by Cambridge University Press 15 Feb 2010 [ abstract ]


An empirical investigation into the performance of UK pension fund managers


Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Volume 9, Issue 04, October 2010, pp 533 - 547

Published online by Cambridge University Press 10 Aug 2009 [ abstract ]


Coping with Spain's aging: retirement rules and incentives


Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Volume 9, Issue 04, October 2010, pp 549 - 581

Published online by Cambridge University Press 09 Oct 2009 [ abstract ]


Microsimulation of pension reforms: behavioural versus nonbehavioural approach


Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Volume 9, Issue 04, October 2010, pp 583 - 607

Published online by Cambridge University Press 23 Nov 2009 [ abstract ]


Pension type, tenure, and job mobility


Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Volume 9, Issue 04, October 2010, pp 609 - 625

Published online by Cambridge University Press 06 Apr 2010 [ abstract ]


Book Reviews


Forgive Us Our Debts: The Intergenerational Dangers of Fiscal Irresponsibility. Andrew Yarrow. Yale University Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0-30012-353-1, 184 pages.

Chuck Blahous

Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Volume 9, Issue 04, October 2010, pp 627 - 629

Published online by Cambridge University Press 04 Oct 2010 [ abstract ]


The Oxford Handbook of Pensions and Retirement Income. Gordon L. Clark, Alicia H. Munnell, and J. Michael Orszag, eds. Oxford University Press, 2006, ISBN 978-0-19927-246-4, 936 pages.

Anna M. Rappaport

Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Volume 9, Issue 04, October 2010, pp 629 - 630

Published online by Cambridge University Press 04 Oct 2010 [ abstract ]


Annuity Markets. Edmund Cannon and Ian Tonks. Oxford University Press, 2006, ISBN 978-0-19921-699-4, 320 pages.

Jean Lemaire

Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Volume 9, Issue 04, October 2010, pp 630 - 631

Published online by Cambridge University Press 04 Oct 2010 [ abstract ]


Demographic Forecasting. Federico Girosi and Gary King. Princeton University Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0-691-13095-8, 288 pages.

Alice Wade

Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Volume 9, Issue 04, October 2010, pp 631 - 632

Published online by Cambridge University Press 04 Oct 2010 [ abstract ]


US Pension Reform: Lessons from other Countries. Martin Neil Baily and Jacob Funk Kirkegaard. Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2009, ISBN 978-0-88132-425-9, 384 pages.

Estelle James

Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Volume 9, Issue 04, October 2010, pp 632 - 634

Published online by Cambridge University Press 04 Oct 2010 [ abstract ]


Portfolios of the Poor: How the World's Poor Live on $2 a Day. Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutherford & Orlanda Ruthven. Princeton University Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-691-14148-0, 320 pages.

Isaac Lemor

Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Volume 9, Issue 04, October 2010, pp 634 - 635

Published online by Cambridge University Press 04 Oct 2010 [ abstract ]


Developments in the Economics of Aging. David A. Wise, ed. The National Bureau of Economic Research and University of Chicago Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-226-90335-4, 432 pages.

David McCarthy

Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Volume 9, Issue 04, October 2010, pp 636 - 637

Published online by Cambridge University Press 04 Oct 2010 [ abstract ]


Aging Population, Pension Funds, and Financial Markets: Regional Perspectives and Global Challenges for Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe. Robert Holzmann, ed. The World Bank, ISBN 978-0-821-37732-1, 184 pages.

Shaun Yow

Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Volume 9, Issue 04, October 2010, pp 637 - 638

Published online by Cambridge University Press 04 Oct 2010 [ abstract ]

Read more!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Savings and Retirement Forum: “A Proposal for Retirement Plan Reform.”

On Thursday, October 7, 2010, the Savings and Retirement Forum will be held at the Congressional Budget Office (D St SW & 2nd Ave SW, Washington, District of Columbia) [Directions to CBO], at 8:30 a.m.

Mark J. Warshawsky, Ph.D., will present "A Proposal for Retirement Plan Reform." A preponderance of evidence from studies of retirement preparedness, employer commitment to retirement plans, and the troubled future of Social Security, indicates that we need to take a stronger stance in the United States to ensure the benefit adequacy of retirement plans. At the same time, we should be realistic and prudent, building incrementally upon a voluntary system that has been quite successful to date, keeping the interest of employers to sponsor retirement plans, rather than creating whole new untried institutions.

If you plan on coming please RSVP. Coffee, juice, and pastries will be served. Please feel free to pass this along to others who you feel might be interested in attending.

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Friday, October 1, 2010

The Do-Nothing Caucus Emerges

National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru points to this article, which highlights that "105 Democratic Lawmakers Reject Any Social Security Reform."

In a conference call with reporters Thursday, Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Reps. John Conyers, D-Mich., Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., and Dan Maffei, D-N.Y., announced they had a petition signed by 105 members of Congress pledging opposition to any kind of reform. (Sanders, while technically an independent, caucuses with the Democrats.)

"We strongly believe that cuts to Social Security benefits must not be part of any recommendations or policymaking. We believe that Social Security should never be privatized and that the retirement age should never be raised," Brown said.

Reading the article, I don't think it's fair to say these folks oppose any reform; just any reform other than tax increases. And since most all of them wouldn't raise payroll tax rates, that implies raising or eliminating the tax cap.

In drafting testimony for a Congressional hearing (that sadly was postponed) I calculated that, combined with tax increases already scheduled under current law, eliminating the tax cap would raise the top marginal tax on earned income inclusive of state income taxes to around 61 percent, with some states hitting 66 percent. And that's before we've done anything to fix Medicare and Medicaid. If the Do-Nothing caucus is willing to solve those entitlements with big benefit cuts then I guess you can make things add up, but otherwise I think they've got high earners pretty much tapped out.

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Video from the Heritage Foundation’s event on public sector pay…

…Is available here. Thanks to Heritage for inviting me; it was an interesting event.

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Video from Mercatus event on public sector pensions….

…Is available here. Thanks to the Mercatus Center for inviting me to speak.

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Video and materials from AEI event on public sector pensions…

…Is available here. It was a good event where both sides were well-represented.

Read more!