Monthly Archives: March 2005

The Big Issues

Robert Greenstein, Executive Director, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, has a way with words–especially when they relate to the critical issues of our time. Here is what he has to say regarding the report issued March 23 by the Social Security and Medicare Board of Trustees:

The new trustees’ report provides further evidence that Social Security more closely resembles a house with a leaking roof in need of repair than a house that is built on quicksand. Social Security will be able to pay 100 percent of promised benefits until 2041 (the year in which the trustees predict the trust fund will be exhausted) and 74 percent of promised benefits thereafter. Read the rest of this entry

Social Security in Alaska: Not Just for Geezers

Currently over 60,000 people in Alaska receive Social Security. That comes to about $500 million dollars a year. That’s a lot of money that goes to help fuel the Alaskan economy. Over 9,800 surviving Alaskan widows and their children are supported by Social Security, and altogether, 7,500 children in Alaska are supported by Social Security. Finally, Social Security keeps 11,000 over-65 retirees above the poverty level. So, no matter how you look at it, Social Security is critical for Alaskans of all ages.

Take a look at an excellent, two page brochure entitled “Social Security Essentials: Alaska.” I pulled all the statistics in the first paragraph above, from that document, which is authored by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). EPI has an excellent “Special Issues” section devoted entirely to Social Security (home page, left column). I urge you to look at it to help understand this critical issue. EPI cuts through the hype and deliberate obfuscation that seems to characterize this debate. Moreover, all EPI documents and arguments are well documented so you know what you are getting, and where it comes from.

And since we are talking about Social Security, my all time favorite source of accurate news and documented analysis about Social Security (and many other issues) is the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. See, in particular, their “In Depth Analysis” section on Social Security. Why EPI and CBPP regarding the Social Security debate? Because facts matter—especially when there is so much at stake for our generation and those to come.

Lawrence D. Weiss Ph.D., M.S.
President of the Board
Alaska Center for Public Policy

National Policy With Alaskan Consequences

The Children’s Defense Fund is an extraordinary organization focused on research, facts, advocacy, and policy relating to children’s issues. They often clearly and concretely link national policy choices, to consequences at the state level. The information about Alaskan children that follows, for example, was recently released by the CDF. Read the rest of this entry

Big Cuts Looming For Low-Income Alaskan Families

Facts matter at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. CBPP is an extraordinary resource for critical information regarding the relationship between national budget and fiscal policies on the one hand, and national and local socioeconomic consequences on the other. All their analyses are extremely well documented, and available at no charge on their website. In a recent analysis, House Budget Resolution Cuts Key Low-Income Programs, Yet Budget Finds Room for Further Tax Cuts for the Wealthy, CBPP analysts make the following case: Read the rest of this entry

Software for Policy Wonks…and Others

I bought my first computer in the early 1980s. It was a Kaypro II. It had no hard drive, just a couple of slots for 5.25″ floppies. It was a “transportable”—think of a 26 pound sewing machine-size steel box with a handle. It was on the cutting edge, and I loved it. My, how times have changed.

So much for reminiscing, however, I still spend a lot of time on the computer writing, and in the last decade I have spent many hundreds of hours on the internet doing research. I am constantly on the prowl for inexpensive software and services, or better yet “freeware” and free services that help me do my work. Perhaps you are too, so I thought I would share some of my finds with you. Read the rest of this entry