In a Wall Street Journal breakfast yesterday, Senate Majority Whip and former Fiscal Commission member Dick Durbin (D-IL) reiterated his support for entitlement reform in a comprehensive debt deal. We've said time and time again that the only way lawmakers are likely to resolve our long-term debt problem is by putting everything on the table, and we commend Durbin for his approach.
When considering raising the retirement ages for Social Security or the eligibility age for Medicare, some critics usually argue that change would disproportionately harm poorer workers, who do not live as long as wealthier workers. Michael Fletcher alludes to this in his recent article in The Washington Post about disparities in life expectancy among different socioeconomic groups.
A recent report from the Business Roundtable (BRT) outlines their proposal to reform Social Security and Medicare with the goal of maintaining an effective and efficient social safety net for future generations while addressing our long-term fiscal imbalance.
The chained CPI has been receiving much attention lately after being included in the latest offers from both the GOP and White House. Some critics of the policy have been voicing their concerns, and yesterday, CRFB chimed in again to clear up the misconception that moving to the chained CPI would be regressive.
One option on the table that has great potential to be included in a final deal is the chained CPI. As we explain in our updated paper on the chained CPI, "Measuring Up," the current CPI overstates inflation because it doesn't account for substitution between different categories as relative prices change. Today, Marc Goldwein, CRFB's Senior Policy Director, further explained this policy in a CNN radio interview using the example of ham and turkey sandwiches. You can listen below:
Just as President Obama and the Republican leadership are trading offers, three think tanks--the Heritage Foundation, the Center for American Progress, and the Bipartisan Policy Center-- each offered ideas that could be used in the negotiations.
The Urban Institute's Eugene Steuerle and Caleb Quakenbush have updated their estimates calculating lifetime Social Security and Medicare benefits and taxes. In order to compare contributions to benefits received, they assume that the contributions have a rate of return (discount rate) of inflation plus two percent.