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Social Security - All posts tagged Social Security

  • Oct 10, 2012
    4:04 PM ET

    Should ‘the 47%’ pay income taxes? Part 2: Retirement

    The main reasons that 47% of households do not pay federal income taxes are provisions in the tax code that (1) provide basic exemptions for subsistence-level income and (2) offer tax expenditures that wipe out any tax liabilities. These provisions mainly benefit senior citizens and low-income families with children, who account for the bulk of the non-tax-paying units.

    The implication of some of the ongoing political discussion is that the country would be better off if these provisions were changed and more units paid taxes. My blog post last week concluded that the current treatment of low-income families was probably about right. This blog post focuses on the elderly.

  • Oct 4, 2012
    4:41 PM ET

    The Tax Perils of Working After 65

    Today’s society sends older workers signs—some subtle, others not so much—that it’s time to hang it up at age 65, says Olivia Mitchell, professor of business economics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Americans can start collecting Social Security benefits as early as age 62; they can start withdrawing money from their […]

  • Oct 4, 2012
    2:39 PM ET

    Should ‘the 47%’ Pay Income Taxes?

    As many commentators have pointed out in the wake of recently publicized comments by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the main reasons that 47 percent of households do not pay federal income taxes are provisions in the tax code that 1) provide basic exemptions for subsistence level income; and 2) offer tax expenditures that wipe out a household’s tax liabilities or provide refundable credits.  These provisions mainly benefit senior citizens and low-income families with children.  These two groups account for the bulk of the non-tax paying units.

    The implication of some of the discussion is that the country would be better off, and programs like Social Security and Medicare more likely to stay solvent, if these provisions were changed and more units paid taxes.  Is that true?  This piece takes a brief look at the tax treatment of low-income families with children. My next blog post will look at the provisions for retirees.

  • Sep 18, 2012
    12:42 PM ET

    Who’s Really in Romney’s “47%”?

    I don’t want to spend too much time on Mitt Romney’s “47% of the people” video, because I hate to kick a guy when he’s got his foot in his mouth. But I do want to point out that in his remarks, Romney was doing more than speaking inelegantly — he was, perhaps unwittingly, taking potshots at some of his most loyal supporters.

    For those who missed it: Mother Jones released a video yesterday that was shot at a private fund-raiser. In it, Romney says that “there are 47% of the people who will vote for the president, no matter what,” in part because they are “dependent upon government.”

  • Oct 19, 2011
    8:49 AM ET

    3.6% Social Security Boost May Be Lost to Medicare Hike

    The 55 million people who receive Social Security are getting a 3.6% raise — unfortunately, a good chunk of the increase is likely to be offset by anticipated hikes to Medicare B premiums.

    Though this raise — the first in two years — is certainly welcome news to retirees facing battered nest eggs and slumping houses prices, Medicare Part B premiums, which cover medically-necessary services like doctors’ services, outpatient care, home health services — may rise just as much.

  • Sep 15, 2011
    3:30 PM ET

    3 Ways a Spouse Can Boost Your Social Security Payments


    As I previously reported on, the decision on when to start collecting Social Security benefits can have a huge impact on the size of your monthly benefit.

    But married couples can boost their lifetime benefits further if they time their retirements carefully, analysts say.

    These spousal benefits allow one spouse to receive half of the retirement amount awarded to their husband or wife. Benefits can be greater for both spouses if they can wait at least until full retirement age before they start collecting payments. But both spouses don‘t have to collect at the same time.

    Here are some tips for getting the most out of your marriage when it comes to Social Security.

  • Sep 12, 2011
    11:52 AM ET

    Will Your Social Security Payments Soon Get Cut?


    An important issue to watch in current and future debates about possible changes in Social Security is annual cost-of-living adjustments, or COLAs. Some legislators and policy makers are calling for using a new formula – a “chained” consumer price index – to calculate these adjustments. But such a change, according to two recent reports, could result in reducing claimants’ benefits.

  • Aug 29, 2011
    4:00 PM ET

    Rick Perry: Social Security is a “Ponzi Scheme”


    On Saturday at a speech in Ottumwa, Iowa, Gov. Rick Perry declared Social Security a scam, according to the Houston Chronicle. “It is a Ponzi scheme for these young people. The idea that they’re working and paying into Social Security today, that the current program is going to be there for them, is a lie,” Perry said. “It is a monstrous lie on this generation, and we can’t do that to them.”

  • Aug 24, 2011
    2:45 PM ET

    Rising Social Security Costs: It’s Not Just the Boomers


    Alicia Munnell, the director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, is a weekly contributor to “Encore.”

    The baby boom is beginning to retire and Social Security costs are rising.  Commentators often attribute the cost of Social Security to the retirement of the baby boom.  Others go so far as to suggest that the baby boom is “a pig in a python,” a large cohort just passing through and once the last member dies life will return to normal.  In fact, the baby boom has little to do with the ultimate cost of Social Security.  Rather those costs reflect the long-term aging of the population due to a decline in births and an increase in life expectancy.  The aging is not going to reverse itself.

  • Aug 12, 2011
    2:05 PM ET

    Will the “Debt Panel” Harm Seniors?


    Congressional leaders named the final members of the “debt panel” Thursday, and now the hard work begins: The panel must find at least $1.2 trillion in savings over the next decade. For seniors, their decisions on where to save could mean cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security, but will they?

    The so-called supercommittee is made up of six Republicans and six Democrats, who have until Nov. 23 to cut the deficit by $1.2 trillion or risk automatic spending cuts — including an up to 2% cut on Medicare provider payments and further defense spending cuts — that neither party wants.

About Encore

  • Encore examines the changing nature of retirement, from new rules and guidelines for financial security to the shifting identities and priorities of today’s retirees. The blog also explores news that affects retirement, from the Wall Street Journal Digital Network and around the web. Lead bloggers are reporter Catey Hill and senior editor Jeremy Olshan. Other contributors include The Wall Street Journal’s retirement columnists Glenn Ruffenach and Anne Tergesen; the Director for the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Alicia Munnell; and the Director of Research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, Michael Kitces, CFP.