Source: Elliot Schreur and Benjamin Veghte, National Academy of Social Insurance, Social Security Brief No. 50, July 2017
From the abstract:
In 2016, Social Security income from payroll contributions, tax revenues, and interest on reserves exceeded outgo by $35 billion, leaving a surplus. Reserves, now at $2.8 trillion, are projected to grow to $3.0 trillion by the end of 2021. If Congress takes no action before then, reserves would be drawn down to pay benefits. The Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund is projected to cover scheduled benefits until 2028, and the Old-Age and Survivors (OASI) Trust Fund until 2035. On a combined OASDI basis, Social Security is fully funded until 2034, but faces a projected shortfall thereafter. After the projected depletion of the combined OASDI trust funds, Social Security contributions and tax revenues would continue to be received and would cover about 77 percent of scheduled benefits (and administrative costs, which are less than 1 percent of outgo). The long-range actuarial shortfall over 75 years is projected to be 2.83 percent of taxable payroll – that is, 2.83 percent of all earnings that are subject to Social Security contributions. This projected long-term revenue shortfall increased from 2.66 percent of taxable payroll, which was reported in the 2016 Trustees Report. Timely revenue increases and/or benefit reductions could bring the program into long-term balance, preventing the projected shortfall.
Source: David Calnitsky, Jonathan P. Latner, Social Problems, Vol. 64 no. 3, 2017
From the abstract:
This paper examines the impact of a guaranteed annual income experiment from the 1970s called the Manitoba Basic Annual Income Experiment (Mincome). We examine Mincome’s “saturation” site located in Dauphin, Manitoba, where all town residents were eligible for payments. Would people work less if their basic needs were guaranteed outside the market? Never before or since the Dauphin experiment has a rich country tested a guaranteed annual income at the level of an entire town. A community-level experiment accounts for the fact that people make decisions in a social context, not in isolation. Using hitherto unanalyzed data we find an 11.3 percentage point reduction in labor market participation, and nearly 30 percent of that fall can be attributed to “community context” effects. Additionally, we show that withdrawals were driven disproportionately by young and single-headed households. Participants who provide qualitative explanations for work withdrawals typically cite care work, disability and illness, uneven employment opportunities, or educational investment.
Source: John Nichols, The Nation, July 18, 2017
A proposed resolution advocates for overturning the 17th Amendment so Republican-controlled state legislatures could pick senators.
Source: Orgul Demet Ozturk, The Conversation, July 17, 2017
The White House has proposed cutting 25 percent of SNAP’s budget – about US$193 billion – over the next decade. SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, though it’s more widely known by its pre-2008 name, food stamps. This program helps about 44 million people per month buy food. Last year, the government spent $71 billion in total on the program. SNAP serves the most vulnerable in our society, for whom a little money means a lot. According to the Congressional Budget Office, cuts to SNAP will likely have a major impact on the individuals who were hurt most by the recent recession. As research from myself and many others shows, food assistance can have far-ranging impacts on a person’s health and well-being…..
Source: Ada S. Cornell, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, R43194, January 13, 2017
Many private- and public-sector firms offer employer-sponsored health insurance to their employees and contribute toward the cost of that insurance as part of the employee’s compensation package. The federal government, as an employer, also offers health benefits to its employees and retirees. In general, federal employees receive health benefits through the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program, administered by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). However, Members of Congress and designated congressional staff receive employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) through the District of Columbia’s small business health options program (SHOP) exchange, also known as DC Health Link (hereinafter the “DC SHOP”). ….. In addition to health insurance coverage under the DC SHOP, this report describes other health benefits available to Members and congressional staff, including the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS); the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP); the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP); the Office of the Attending Physician; and treatment in military facilities. …..
Source: Mika Kivimäki, Solja T. Nyberg, G. David Batty, Ichiro Kawachi, Markus Jokela, et al, European Heart Journal, July 13, 2017
From the abstract:
Studies suggest that people who work long hours are at increased risk of stroke, but the association of long working hours with atrial fibrillation, the most common cardiac arrhythmia and a risk factor for stroke, is unknown. We examined the risk of atrial fibrillation in individuals working long hours (≥55 per week) and those working standard 35–40 h/week.
Methods and results:
In this prospective multi-cohort study from the Individual-Participant-Data Meta-analysis in Working Populations (IPD-Work) Consortium, the study population was 85 494 working men and women (mean age 43.4 years) with no recorded atrial fibrillation. Working hours were assessed at study baseline (1991–2004). Mean follow-up for incident atrial fibrillation was 10 years and cases were defined using data on electrocardiograms, hospital records, drug reimbursement registers, and death certificates. We identified 1061 new cases of atrial fibrillation (10-year cumulative incidence 12.4 per 1000). After adjustment for age, sex and socioeconomic status, individuals working long hours had a 1.4-fold increased risk of atrial fibrillation compared with those working standard hours (hazard ratio = 1.42, 95% CI = 1.13–1.80, P = 0.003). There was no significant heterogeneity between the cohort-specific effect estimates (I2 = 0%, P = 0.66) and the finding remained after excluding participants with coronary heart disease or stroke at baseline or during the follow-up (N = 2006, hazard ratio = 1.36, 95% CI = 1.05–1.76, P = 0.0180). Adjustment for potential confounding factors, such as obesity, risky alcohol use and high blood pressure, had little impact on this association.
Individuals who worked long hours were more likely to develop atrial fibrillation than those working standard hours.
Source: Zachary Roth, New Republic, July 18, 2017
As Trump investigates “millions” of illegal votes, states are rushing to limit access to the ballot box. …. As president, Trump has refused to let go of his unhinged claim that “millions” of people voted illegally last November—and has used his unsubstantiated accusation of voter fraud to lay the groundwork at the federal level for a new round of voting restrictions. Republican legislators from New Hampshire to Texas are also moving swiftly to enact a wave of new laws that would make it harder to cast a ballot. Since January, according to a recent report by the Brennan Center for Justice, at least 99 bills to restrict voting rights have been introduced in 31 states. ….
Source: National League of Cities, March 2017
From the abstract:
Pensions play a critical role in the ability of local governments to attract and retain the workforce needed to meet citizen demands. The costs associated with this employee benefit, however, can be substantial. A recent National League of Cities (NLC) survey revealed that over the past year the cost of pensions increased in more than 70 percent of cities. One in three cities identified these expenses as the factor most negatively affecting their budgets.
Source: Meghan McCann, National Conference of State Legislatures, June 13, 2017
States collected $32.7 billion dollars on behalf of the 15.6 million children served by child support enforcement programs across the country during FY2016, according to the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement. While collections increased slightly, the child support caseload continues to decline, down by 1.5 percent over FY 2015. The cost effectiveness of the program reached a four-year high with $5.33 being collected for every $1 dollar spent on the program. Below is a 50-state breakdown of total distributed collections, total arrearages, amount of current support due, total caseload and total administrative expenditures over the past four years.
Source: Sachin Pandya, Workplace Prof Blog, July 12, 2017
A few weeks ago, Missouri’s governor signed SB43. That law amends the State’s employment law, including the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA), its anti-discrimination statute—mostly in employer-friendly ways. (For media reports on the legislative politics, see, e.g., here, here, and here.) Among the many changes, I’ll highlight (1) MHRA’s new causation requirement and (2) a remarkably broad preemption provision…..