The Blog of the Frances Perkins Center

Posts Tagged ‘Frances Perkins Center’

Rep. Ryan’s budget a disaster — according to CBO report

In Economics, Political world on April 6, 2011 at 10:08 am

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has issued a report on the budget written by Rep. Paul Ryan, chair of the House Budget Committee. (Read the report here:

Here’s the CBO’s mandate:

CBO assists the House and Senate Budget Committees, and the Congress more generally, by preparing reports and analyses. In accordance with the CBO’s mandate to provide objective and impartial analysis, CBO’s reports contain no policy recommendations.

However, they do the numbers and write reports. This particular report contains the interesting facts that the Ryan plan would reduce federal spending on health programs roughly by two-thirds by 2050, more than double the share of total spending that Medicare recipients must pay out-of-pocket, and would raise he total cost of health care for Medicare enrollees by 25-45 percent. (Thanks to Henry Aaron of Brookings for that.)

And, according to Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, those Medicare enrollees, under the Ryan plan, by 2030 would end up spending most of their TOTAL INCOME on health care costs (see

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In Events on March 17, 2011 at 7:10 pm


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Video: The Frances Perkins Center looks back at 2010

In General, The Center on January 4, 2011 at 12:16 pm

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Link to our statement on the Deficit Commission Report

In Legislation Today, Uncategorized on December 3, 2010 at 11:03 am

FPC on DeficitCommissionReport

Here’s our first Social Security Stories Project video

In Programs on June 30, 2010 at 5:33 pm

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Whose tsunami?

In Economics, Political world on April 28, 2010 at 10:54 am

Who stands to benefit if the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, Cato Institute, and other anti-social insurance think tanks continue to control the discussion about Social Security and Medicare? At a recent conference of the retirement insurance industry, all sorts of “concern” was evinced by speakers who could possibly have ulterior motives.

For example, here’s Robert Kerzner, president and CEO of LIMRA, LOMA and LL Global (LL Global is the nonprofit parent company of LIMRA and LOMA, two Conn.-based trade associations consisting of more than 1,200 insurance and financial services companies):

Clearly, the current entitlement programs are unsustainable. Americans are going to have to take more responsibility for their financial security — especially in retirement.

How convenient for Mr. Kerzner and his listeners.

Michael Tanner, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, opened the conference with this message:

The present value of our future obligations is more than $100 trillion and as the full force of entitlement programs kicks in, it will only get worse,” Tanner said to more than 350 retirement professionals. “There is no courage in Washington until someone is willing to stand up and do something.

The real courage in Washington will come from the people who dare to stand up against this onslaught and fight for the social insurance programs that are critical to so many Americans. As in the health care fight as well as the financial regulation fight, the opponents of Social Security and Medicare are extremely well funded and willing to spend huge amounts of money lobbying Congress and shaping public opinion. They are not above using scare tactics and misinformation.

They talk about the “coming entitlement tsunami.” We need to talk about the current tsunami of lobbying and PR dollars that these groups are spending to separate us from the programs we depend upon.

[Cross posted at the Virtual Summit on Fiscal & Economic Responsibility at]

Frances Perkins Center seeks personal stories for historic collection

In General, Programs on March 17, 2010 at 2:53 pm

A Grant from National Academy of Social Insurance supports “Celebrating Social Security—In Our Own Words!

The Frances Perkins Center has received a grant from the National Academy of Social Insurance through funds provided by the Ford Foundation to create a multimedia celebration of the 75th anniversary of the creation of Social Security. Part of the project includes a national competition for personal stories about the effect of this landmark federal program on the lives of Americans.

More than 51 million Americans today are recipients of Social Security, a program created during the Great Depression by the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to help people needing financial assistance. The program’s foremost champion was FDR’s Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins, a former social worker who had observed the distress of elderly people no longer able to work and the desperate poverty of orphaned children and families that lose a breadwinner.

The enactment of Social Security in 1935 ushered in, for the first time, the experience of the “Golden Years” for retirees, and today more than 90 percent of older Americans receive Social Security benefits. For more than a third of them, it is their sole source of income. Social Security is also a vital safety net for the disabled and for children who lose a parent or are orphaned.

This program transformed the country, allowing Americans to lead more secure lives than in any other century in American history. Social Security benefits are more important than ever amid the current economic downturn, providing a dependable monthly income that recipients then spend in local stores and businesses.

The Frances Perkins Center will celebrate Social Security’s 75th anniversary year by highlighting the ways the program has been an essential anchor for economic security and stability for American families  through the telling of personal stories. The best essays will be selected for posting on the Frances Perkins Center website and other social networking sites, and about 20 will be nominated for publication in Celebrating Social Security–In Our Own Words! The project will feature essays from today’s leading authorities on the program, including historians, policy experts, celebrities, elected officials, economists, and academics. “The personal stories from everyday people are what will bring the program to life for readers,” says the Center’s executive director, Barbara Burt. “The history is important, but the essays are what will make the collection compelling to read.”

Essays should be no longer than 400 words. Writers must include their name, address, telephone number and email address, and be willing to allow their work to be widely publicized. Email entries are preferred and should be sent to with “Social Security Essay” in the subject line. Entries can also be sent by mail to: Social Security Essay Contest, Frances Perkins Center, PO Box 281, Newcastle, Maine 04553-0281.

Sometimes sarcasm says it best…

In Legislation Today, Political world on February 9, 2010 at 8:07 am
Congressman Paul Ryan

Congressman Paul Ryan

Michael Lind, in today’s Salon article, The GOP’s bad old ideas, rightly skewers the suggestions of Congressman Paul Ryan, the Republican’s leader on the House Budget Committee, regarding Social Security:

In domestic policy, Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, recently unveiled an alternative budget that would deal with the long-term deficit problem (about half of which was caused by Bush’s and the Republican Congress’s wars and tax cuts) by privatizing Social Security and turning Medicare into a voucher system.

As Michael Myers’ Doctor Evil might say: …….R….r……r…..right.

That’s what Americans are demanding, Rep. Ryan. Millions of Americans are not content to have lost much or all of their 401K and other private retirement savings in the stock market in the last decade, with nothing but Social Security remaining to rescue them in their retirement years. No, Americans are angry because they weren’t allowed to lose all of their Social Security money, as well, in the stock market. Clearly they are angry because Wall Street brokers aren’t able to rake in commissions from middle-class and working-class retirees by flipping stocks bought with diverted Social Security funds. The bailouts to Wall Street were not enough. We need to give the rent-seeking bankers the vast funds of Social Security as well and let them charge us fees for “managing” it with the legendary expertise we all know and admire.

I hope Ryan isn’t previewing the Republicans’ position on Social Security reform. I can’t believe this stand would be good for their party. I know it wouldn’t be good for the country.

Panel Discussion from Jan. 14: “Strengthening Social Security in the 21st Century”

In Events, Legislation Today on February 3, 2010 at 9:49 am
Panel 2: Strengthening Social Security in the 21st Century

Please click on the image to open the video. Then look for the "play" arrow to start the video.

From our January 14th event in New York City, the 2nd panel and wrap-up comments.

“Strengthening Social Security in the 21st Century”
Moderator: Professor Susan Feiner of the University of Southern Maine and member of the Frances Perkins Center board.

Panelists: Nancy Altman, author of The Battle for Social Security; Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, CEO of the Global Policy Solutions and co-editor of Strengthening Community: Social Insurance in a Diverse America; and Professor Eric Kingson from Syracuse University, and co-editor of Social Security in the 21st Century.

Closing comments are by Dr. Lynn Parramore of the Roosevelt Institute and editor of New Deal 2.0.

Billionaires for Wealthcare — Guerilla Theater

In Legislation Today on October 27, 2009 at 9:58 am

[Side note: Frances Perkins appears as a character in the original musical “Annie,” on which this piece is based. I think she would have appreciated this effort to humorously expose the opponents of reform.]