Aug 16, 2012

What Is This?

     While a Social Security employee, Andrew Biggs campaigned with then President George W. Bush for partial Social Security privatization. In case you don't know, that's definitely not the done thing, even for Social Security Commissioners. In fact, especially for Social Security Commissioner and other high ranking officials as Biggs was at the time.The Social Security Administration tries hard to stay out of any long term financing issues apart from having the agency's Office of Chief Actuary provide technical support to everyone involved in the debate. Bush later nominated Biggs to become Deputy Commissioner of Social Security. He could not get confirmation so Bush gave Biggs a recess appointment to the position. After Bush left office and Biggs' term as Deputy Commissioner ended, Biggs went to work for the American Enterprise Institute, a right wing think tank.
     Biggs has now authored a piece for Our Generation on Social Security disability insurance. Our Generation describes itself as "membership-based nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization founded in 2009 to research, educate and promote long-term free market solutions to today’s public policy concerns." The piece that Biggs wrote is only nine pages and was certainly nothing researched in depth or, at least, any research is not reflected in the piece. Our Generation makes a point of noting that the piece was edited by its executive director. In the piece Biggs recommends:
  • Tightening eligibility requirements, although he does not say how;
  • Doing continuing disability reviews. These are already being done but at a low level due to lack of administrative funding. Biggs doesn't explain how he would want these done differently or how he would pay for anything more than what is being done now.
  • Include incentives for employers to keep individuals on the job such as "experience rating" for the disability portion of the F.I.C.A. tax or requiring employers to carry short term disability benefits to help workers deal with the waiting period for Social Security disability benefits. How the latter would help escapes me. Neither would be a bit acceptable to the people paying Biggs' salary.

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