Opportunity, security, volatility

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Daniel Gross, one of my favorite columnists around, had a great New York Times piece over the weekend explaining why voters are so resistant to changes in Social Security. In the end, Americans suffer enough income volatility as it is:

The factors that functioned as internal shock absorbers for families have weakened. And so, too, have external buffers. Over the last three decades, the percentage of workers covered by defined-benefit pension plans and employer-provided health insurance – guarantees that provide ballast for fluctuating incomes – has declined. Add this to the trend of rising volatility – especially for people in the lower and middle income levels – and it’s easy to understand the reluctance to transform a government program that guarantees seniors an income.

The whole piece deserves a look. It’s also worth noting, as Mark Schmitt explained nicely last week, that income security doesn’t need to be incompatible with opportunity. Social Security doesn’t make people lazy or dependent, it doesn’t stifle growth or creativity—if anything it boosts opportunity by allowing many people to move from job to job without fear of losing their pensions. There are ways to create an opportunity society without watching the majority of Americans fall prey to the vicious income swings and devastating shocks that Gross so clearly describes.

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DONALD TRUMP & DEMOCRACY

Mother Jones was founded to do things differently in the aftermath of a political crisis: Watergate. We stand for justice and democracy. We reject false equivalence. We go after, and go deep on, stories others don’t. And we’re a nonprofit newsroom because we knew corporations and billionaires would never fund the journalism we do. Our reporting makes a difference in policies and people’s lives changed.

And we need your support like never before to vigorously fight back against the existential threats American democracy and journalism face. We’re running behind our online fundraising targets and urgently need all hands on deck right now. We can’t afford to come up short—we have no cushion; we leave it all on the field.

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