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Saul Friedman
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Blog Entries by Saul Friedman

Social Security Isn't the Problem... But Fear for the Future of Medicare

Posted December 12, 2010 | 19:27:11 (EST)

Before Gray Matters leaves the dismal subject of President Obama's misbegotten Frankenstein monster, the deficit reduction commission, there is one tiny sliver of decent news from its lone genuine liberal, Illinois Rep Jan Schakowsky.

In one of her many television interviews, she noted that the information that...

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Alan Simpson and Teats -- He Knows Whereof He Speaks

Posted December 6, 2010 | 09:30:06 (EST)

Who can forget that outburst from Alan Kooi Simpson, a former senator and now co-chairman the president's flawed deficit commission, when he told a women's group challenging his views: Social Security is like "a milk cow with 310 million tits."? This was nothing new for Simpson, a conservative Republican, who...

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Raising Retirement Age and 'Death Panels'

Posted November 26, 2010 | 15:14:46 (EST)

If the incoming Congress, especially the Republicans, are serious about paying attention to the American people, they could start with a couple of recent surveys, which are about life, health and even premature death.

The first, which shows how little confidence many Americans have in their newly...

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Reporters for Sale: Bring Back the Fairness Doctrine

Posted November 8, 2010 | 14:45:52 (EST)

The word that begins with "W" and ends with "E," has been tossed around in this past unlamented campaign, as if prostitution was no longer one of the oldest and honorable endeavors. One such epithet was hurled anonymously at a California gubernatorial candidate, for doing what politicians and prostitutes do--cutting...

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One Small Step For Us Consumers

Posted October 31, 2010 | 21:02:32 (EST)



It's nice to report, for a change, some good news for beleaguered consumers. The greedy health insurance industry, which has been lawyering up and lobbying to dodge the most important requirements of the Affordable Care Act has lost an important battle this month.

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Let's Hear It For the Atheists

Posted October 21, 2010 | 22:20:02 (EST)

Most of us have been taught to stay away from discussing politics and religion, so as not to disturb the dinner guests. Well, as most of you know, I've been covering politics for so long I can barely discuss anything else. And the freedom Time Goes By...

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A Lesson for Now From 1934

Posted October 15, 2010 | 16:37:18 (EST)

I was barely around in 1934 but I will lay odds that there was no argument in my parents' household about the forthcoming midterm elections. Indeed, in virtually all of working class New York City it would have been considered a sin not to vote straight Democrat, for the party...

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A Novel Idea: Social Security for All

Posted October 6, 2010 | 21:03:22 (EST)

Here's a novel idea. Instead of worrying that Social Security will go bust in 30 years (it won't) and considering absurd and unnecessary cuts in benefits for millions of Americans, why not expand this, the most popular social insurance program in the country, to provide for a universal defined benefit...

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A Modern Tale: The Sinner (Newt Gingrich) and the Saint (Frances Kelsey)

Posted September 29, 2010 | 14:47:45 (EST)

My years in daily journalism enabled me to meet the best and the worst: A quiet, unassuming young woman in my Cape Town writing class had her own story to tell; she had been imprisoned and tortured by the South African regime she fought and now she wanted to be...

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Mr. President: If You Want To Create Jobs, Listen to the Longest Serving Woman in the House

Posted September 26, 2010 | 15:22:37 (EST)

I first met Marcy Kaptur in 1982 when she was a long shot Democrat running for a House seat in northern Ohio. As I recall, my story bet that she would win. Now Kaptur, who is from Toledo, is the longest serving woman in the House and named by her...

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Socialism Can Be as American as Apple Pie

Posted September 19, 2010 | 15:46:37 (EST)

There is at least one organization that won't label President Obama a "marxist" or "socialist," and it ought to know. I speak of the Democratic Socialists of America, a tiny group of fewer than 6,000 members that is rather benign and wholly within the American mainstream compared, say, to the...

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Don't Call Today's Republicans "Conservative," Goldwater, Dirksen et al Would Be Insulted

Posted September 11, 2010 | 15:42:43 (EST)


There was a time when I was reporting on Congress, that I admired, respected and even liked some of the most stalwart conservatives in the Senate. But that was before the conservatives of the Republican Party metamorphosed into a rancid rabble of radicals who seek to cripple...

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Attention Mrs. Palin: Those "Death Panel" Lies May Have Cost The Lives Of Some Grannies

Posted September 4, 2010 | 18:49:23 (EST)

I assume you recall the summer of the "death panels." That was last year when a few right-wing demagogues, led by Sara Palin, (who else?) warned that the health care reforms under debate would lead to deaths of patients whom doctors considered too old or ill to treat. Now we...

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The Downside of Medicare--And Alternatives

Posted September 1, 2010 | 14:31:04 (EST)

Those of us of a certain age sing the praises of Medicare, which thanks to the recently passed health reforms according to the latest report of the trustees, has a new lease on life. It will serve the needs of upwards of 45 million disabled and people over 65 for...

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Obama and Jobs--He Should Look to FDR

Posted August 28, 2010 | 14:32:52 (EST)


Judging by his record of job creation, which has been rather benign during the worst employment drought since the Great Depression, it should be clear by now that Barack Obama is no Franklin Roosevelt. Although he admires the Roosevelt legacy, he seems to have learned too little from...

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Looks Like Obama Is Considering Cuts in Social Security Benefits

Posted August 21, 2010 | 23:51:42 (EST)


I have not yet celebrated the Diamond Jubilee -- the 75th anniversary -- last week of the adoption of Social Security. That's because I suspect President Obama may consider agreeing to a cut in benefits for future retirees, by raising the retirement age, which would be disastrous...

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Getting Personal: Without Medicare I'd Be Broke or Dead

Posted August 17, 2010 | 22:32:02 (EST)

It's not too late to observe and celebrate the 45th anniversary of Medicare, for it's a good occasion to wonder, in this time of economic distress, what life would have been like without it for the 45 million of us who are eligible because we are disabled or over 65.

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A Veteran Newsman Reflects On Friends Who Become Enemies And Vice Versa

Posted August 16, 2010 | 12:27:31 (EST)

This is known as backing into a column, taking the long way around to say what I want to say. I need to clear up some relatively recent history lessons that seem to be clogging the American memory; even that of our president and his policymakers, who I believe are...

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Consequences of Unequal Distribution of Wealth: The Rich Get Richer...

Posted August 8, 2010 | 12:16:29 (EST)

Shirley Sherrod had it about right when she said, "Y'all, it's about poor versus those who have. It's really about those who have versus those who don't. And they could be black, they could be white, they could be Hispanic..."

That wasn't exactly the whole truth, for...

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The Most Tech Savvy President--Who Ignores Older People

Posted July 31, 2010 | 17:59:09 (EST)

It may be said that Barack Obama, among his other firsts, has become the first president of the Internet age. The Internet, specifically the World Wide Web, did as much as anything in his campaign to help him win the presidency. And with some unprecedented techniques, he has governed through...

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