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Merton Bernstein
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Entries by Merton Bernstein

Medikids: A Proposal to Improve Children's Health Care, Reduce Public Program Non-Benefit Costs and Shrink Adult Health Care Outlays

(13) Comments | Posted February 1, 2015 | 7:49 PM


Everyone favors eliminating wasteful health care spending. Virtually everyone, polls show, also believes that children should receive the health care they need.

We propose to achieve both goals with a proposal that eliminates unnecessary non-benefit costs spent establishing eligibility of children for Medicaid and CHIP (Children's Health...

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President's Proposal For FISA Public Advocate Legislation a Ticket to Nowhere

(14) Comments | Posted January 17, 2014 | 2:30 PM

President Obama's proposal that Congress authorize "outside government" public advocates is doubly useless: (1) Congress legislates almost nothing; and (2) such advocates would be too slow and limited to provide balance between intelligence needs and constitutional protections. The FISA Court can provide the rules.

The rule of law at the...

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One-Sided FISA Court Procedure Widely Distrusted As Unfair and Unreliable

(6) Comments | Posted August 20, 2013 | 12:45 PM

President Obama gets the message: When the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court considers any issue presented for decision, including procedural rule, it hears only one side -- the government's. That strikes many as unfair. Just as important, such a lopsided procedure cannot be counted on to test vital issues,...

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Surveillance Act Needs Independent Advocates to Promote Reliable Intelligence, Protect U.S. Ideals

(4) Comments | Posted June 28, 2013 | 2:04 PM

Hard experience proves we need protection against those who seek to harm us. Even longer experience shows we must be vigilant to maintain Constitutional protections like the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable search and seizure. It makes sense to be secretive about the inner workings of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance...

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Senate's Filibuster Riot Destabilizes Government, Imperils Foreign Purchase of U.S. Bonds, Violates the Constitution

(7) Comments | Posted April 11, 2013 | 7:02 PM

For several years , Senate Republicans have held the U.S. Senate hostage despite their minority status and losses in the last election. Senate Rule XXII requires 60 affirmative votes to obtain consideration of a measure and then to vote on final passage. That rule also requires a vote by two-thirds...
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The Terrible Timing of "Chained Cola":: Benefits Decline as Cash Needs Increase, Especially for Widows

(1) Comments | Posted December 20, 2012 | 11:47 AM

Chained COLA (cost-of-living adjustments) would purposely reduce Social Security benefits every year. As time goes on, the reductions -- initially small -- accumulate, constantly reducing the purchasing power of Social Security benefits. Proponents seek to justify this by claiming that consumers substitute lower-cost goods for comparable higher-priced ones.

A common...

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Social Security Sustainable: Productivity Improvements Enlarge the Pie, Facilitate Funding Boomer Benefits and Beyond

(2) Comments | Posted December 17, 2012 | 6:19 PM

Attempts to undo or diminish Social Security began upon the program's enactment; they continue unabated. Early charges of unconstitutionality foundered when the Supreme Court upheld the law. The Bush push for "privatization" shocked but did not awe. Participants and the public know that work and contributions earn the program's benefits....

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Proposed Social Security Chained COLA Not Ready for Prime Time

(6) Comments | Posted March 7, 2012 | 10:25 AM

COLA's Goal -- To Preserve Benefit Purchasing Power As Prices Rise

In the 1960s, seniors' poverty rate exceeded those of younger age groups. That became a great concern leading to rapid enactment of a series of stand-alone Social Security retiree benefit increases. To some, the boosts seemed impelled by the...

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Senator Rubio's Fact-Phobic Social Security Speech

(26) Comments | Posted September 6, 2011 | 2:59 PM

Senator Marco Rubio's recent Reagan Center speech praised President Reagan and condemned the present provisions of Social Security. He omitted to say that President Reagan's 1983 Social Security agreement with Democratic Speaker Tip O'Neill bolstered and shaped today's Social Security, the system he attacks.

Senator Rubio darts from, "I believe...

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AARP Statements Do Not Damage Public Support For Social Security

(20) Comments | Posted June 19, 2011 | 8:52 PM

For as long as anyone can remember, AARP has opposed cutting Social Security benefits; its June Bulletin said so and it went on to pan the Ryan recipe to cook Medicare. Last Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that John Rother, AARP's long-time policy chief, had indicated that the organization...

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As Other Income Sources Shrivel, Social Security Is Even More Indispensable

(41) Comments | Posted April 12, 2011 | 12:47 PM

This is no time to reduce Social Security benefits. Nor will it be tomorrow. Private defined benefit pension plans are disappearing. Savings devices like 401(k)s and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) lose value whenever the stock market hiccups or plunges. The principal savings of most people, their own homes, decline substantially...

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Bowles/Simpson Urge Social Security Cuts, Promote Private Accounts -- Simpson Calls Critics "Lying Jerks

(16) Comments | Posted February 7, 2011 | 12:16 PM

Alan Simpson, co-chair of the Deficit Reduction Commission, once again has trouble with his mouth. The report he and co-chair Erskine Bowles issued in December recommended, in the words of South Florida NPR station WXEL, "Social Security benefit cuts via a higher retirement age, lower annual cost-of-living adjustments and a...

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