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  • Backgrounder posted July 30, 2015 by Rachel Greszler Bankrupt Pensions and Insolvent Pension Insurance: The Case of Multiemployer Pensions and the PBGC’s Multiemployer Program

    A growing number of private, multiemployer pension plans are projected to become insolvent over the coming years, as is the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), the government entity that insures them. Absent substantial reform, the PBGC will be unable to pay promised benefits to the retirees of the failed pension plans that it insures. If Congress does not alter…

  • Issue Brief posted July 27, 2015 by Rachel Greszler, Salim Furth, Ph.D. An Economic Crisis Is the Heart of Puerto Rico’s Financial Crisis

    Puerto Rico faces a severe fiscal crisis, but this is merely a symptom of Puerto Rico’s primary disease: a lack of economic growth. Over the past decade, as Puerto Rico’s debt has expanded rapidly, the economy has contracted more than 10 percent. If the economy were growing, Puerto Rico would be much better positioned to address its fiscal crisis and might have averted it…

  • Backgrounder posted July 24, 2015 by Rachel Greszler Social Security Trustees: Disability Insurance Program Will Be Insolvent in 2016

    A‌ccording to the 2015 Social Security Trustees Report, the Social ‌Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Trust Fund is on course to run dry in 2016, six decades after the program began in 1956.[1] Absent reform, disability benefits will be cut across the board by almost 20 percent, and the average disabled worker’s benefit will fall below the federal poverty level. For…

  • Commentary posted July 21, 2015 by Rachel Greszler Private option could help save disability insurance — and disabled workers, too

    The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program has many problems. For starters, it will run out of money next year, which could mean 20 percent benefit cuts. The program also suffers from excessive wait times, complicated rules and procedures, inconsistent decisions, deficient rehabilitation services, and insufficient protections against fraud. Introducing an…

  • Backgrounder posted July 20, 2015 by Rachel Greszler Private Disability Insurance Option Could Help Save SSDI and Improve Individual Well-being

    The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program will run out of money in a little over a year. Absent reforms, SSDI benefits will be cut about 20 percent, bringing the average benefit to below the poverty level. Before jumping to the quickest, allegedly easy, fix—a reallocation of payroll taxes from the Social Security retirement program to SSDI—policymakers need…

  • Backgrounder posted March 26, 2015 by Rachel Greszler, Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ph.D. Time to End the Federal Subsidy for High-Tax States

    Under federal tax law, individuals may deduct the income and property taxes that they pay to their state and local governments. In recent years, individuals have been allowed to choose between deducting their income tax or sales taxes.[1] Because federal tax deductions effectively spread the costs of these deductions across all taxpayers in the form of higher federal tax…

  • Commentary posted December 3, 2014 by Rachel Greszler As the Pension Agency Falters, Who Gets Stuck With Bill?

    The latest annual report from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation makes for some very uncomfortable reading. The deficit in PBGC’s multi-employer program quintupled in 2014, soaring to $42.4 billion from “only” $8.3 billion in 2013. That massive deficit is problematic for millions of workers who now stand to receive mere pennies on the dollar in promised pension…

  • Commentary posted October 8, 2014 by Rachel Greszler For the Economy’s Sake, it’s Time to Deep-Six the Death Tax

    Death and taxes are two of life’s certainties, but the tax on death itself should certainly be eliminated. A recent analysis by The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis found that doing away with the federal death tax would provide a much-needed, long-lasting boost to the nation’s economy. Indeed, it would increase economic growth by $46 billion over the next 10…

  • Backgrounder posted September 23, 2014 by John L. Ligon, Rachel Greszler, Patrick Tyrrell The Economic and Fiscal Effects of Eliminating the Federal Death Tax

    The federal estate tax (often referred to as the death tax) is a tax on a person’s lifetime accumulated property. In 2014, the death tax applies a 40 percent tax to all accumulated wealth above $5.34 million.[1] While the death tax applies to relatively few Americans and raises only tiny amounts of revenue for the federal government, it imposes substantial costs on the…

  • Commentary posted August 21, 2014 by Rachel Greszler Federal disability fund needs reform, not a bailout

    Money’s tight for the federal disability insurance program. Unless Congress acts, the Disability Insurance Trust Fund will run out of money in 2016. At that point, nearly 11 million Americans would see their disability benefits cut by nearly 20 percent, leaving the average beneficiary below the poverty level. Unfortunately, most of the talk about how to solve this…

  • Backgrounder posted August 14, 2014 by Rachel Greszler Payroll-Tax Reallocation Would Rob Social Security and Prevent Necessary Disability Insurance Reforms

    A‌lthough Social Security’s 75-year shortfall is nearly 10 times as ‌large as that of the Disability Insurance (DI) program, the DI Trust Fund is projected to be exhausted much sooner. According to the Social Security trustees’ 2014 projections, the Social Security (Old-Age and Survivors Insurance—OASI) Trust Fund will be exhausted in 2034, but the DI Trust Fund will run…

  • Backgrounder posted August 4, 2014 by Rachel Greszler, Romina Boccia Social Security Trustees Report: Unfunded Liability Increased $1.1 Trillion and Projected Insolvency in 2033

    Social Security ran a $71 billion deficit in 2013, closing out four years of consecutive cash-flow deficits as the program’s unfunded obligations continue to grow.[1] According to the 2014 annual report from the programs’ trustees, the combined 75-year unfunded obligation of the Social Security and Disability Insurance Trust Funds (referred to collectively as the OASDI…

  • Backgrounder posted August 1, 2014 by Rachel Greszler Raising the Social Security Payroll Tax Cap: Solving Nothing, Harming Much

    A‌lthough often brushed aside as the lesser of our nation’s ‌entitlement problems, the Social Security and Disability Insurance Programs’ $13.4 trillion (and rising) unfunded liability demands substantial reform.[1] Raising the payroll tax cap (from its current level of $117,000) should not be an option. Raising, or even eliminating, the payroll tax cap would not solve…

  • Backgrounder posted August 1, 2014 by Rachel Greszler Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund Will Be Exhausted in Just Two Years: Beneficiaries Facing Nearly 20 Percent Cut in Benefits

    A‌fter five consecutive years of deficits, the Social Security Disability ‌Insurance (SSDI) Trust Fund will run dry in just two years.[1] If Congress does not act before 2016, benefits will be cut across the board by almost 20 percent. This would mean a $218 reduction in monthly benefits—from $1,146 to $928—for the average beneficiary,[2] lowering the average benefit…

  • Testimony posted June 27, 2014 by Rachel Greszler Reducing the Challenges Women Face in Retirement Through Economic Growth and Savings Reforms

    Testimony Before the Joint Economic Committee United States Congress I am Rachel Greszler, Senior Policy Analyst in Economics and Entitlements in the Center for Data Analysis at the Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this testimony are my own and should not be construed as representing any official position of The Heritage Foundation. Vice-Chair Klobuchar,…