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Category Archives: Legislation

Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out?

Via EveryCRSReport.com – Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out? June 11, 2018: “Social Security’s receipts and expenditures are accounted for through two federal trust funds: the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund and the Federal Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund. Under their intermediate assumptions and under current law, the Social Security trustees project that the DI trust fund will become depleted in 2032 and the OASI trust fund will become depleted in 2034. Although the two funds are legally separate, they are often considered in combination. The trustees project that the combined Social Security trust funds will become depleted in 2034. At that point, the combined trust funds would become insolvent, because incoming tax revenue would be sufficient to pay only about 79% of scheduled benefits. If a trust fund became depleted and current receipts were insufficient to cover current expenditures, there would be a conflict between two federal laws. Under the Social Security Act, beneficiaries would still be legally entitled to their full scheduled benefits. However, the Antideficiency Act prohibits government spending in excess of available funds, so the Social Security Administration (SSA) would not have legal authority to pay full Social Security benefits on time. It is unclear what specific actions SSA would take if a trust fund were insolvent. After depletion, the trust funds would continue to receive tax revenues, from which a majority of scheduled benefits could be paid. One option would be to pay full benefits on a delayed schedule; another would be to make timely but reduced payments. Social Security beneficiaries would remain legally entitled to full, timely benefits and could take legal action to claim the balance of their benefits. Maintaining financial balance after trust fund insolvency would require substantial reductions in Social Security benefits, substantial increases in tax revenues, or some combination of the two. The trustees project that following depletion of the combined funds in 2034, Congress could restore balance by reducing scheduled benefits by about 21%; the required reduction would grow gradually to 26% by 2092. Alternatively, Congress could raise the Social Security payroll tax rate from 12.4% to 15.7% following depletion in 2034, then gradually increase it to 16.7% by 2092.

Trust-fund insolvency could be avoided if expenditures were reduced or receipts increased sufficiently. The sooner Congress acts to adjust Social Security policy, the less abrupt the changes would need to be, because they could be spread over a longer period and would therefore affect a larger number of workers and beneficiaries. Even if changes were not implemented immediately, enacting them sooner would give workers and beneficiaries more time to plan and adjust their work and savings behavior.”

Coming in from the Cold: A Safe Harbor from the CFAA and DMCA §1201

“The Assembly program is pleased to announce a new publication, titled Coming in from the Cold: A Safe Harbor from the CFAA and DMCA §1201, written by Harvard Law School student Daniel Etcovitch and 2017 Assembly cohort member Thyla van der Merwe. The paper proposes a statutory safe harbor from the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act… Continue Reading

Lessig – Congress’ Latest Move to Extend Copyright Protection Is Misguide

Lawrence Lessig – Wired [Lawrence Lessig (@lessig) is the Roy L. Furman professor of law and leadership at Harvard University and founder of Equal Citizens. He was lead counsel in Eldred v. Ashcroft (2002)]: “Almost exactly 20 years ago, Congress passed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, which extended the term of existing copyrights… Continue Reading

The Chemical Industry Scores a Big Win at the E.P.A.

The New York Times – The Chemical Industry Scores a Big Win at the E.P.A. – “The Trump administration, after heavy lobbying by the chemical industry, is scaling back the way the federal government determines health and safety risks associated with the most dangerous chemicals on the market, documents from the Environmental Protection Agency show. Under… Continue Reading

U.S. Department of State Personnel: Background and Selected Issues for Congress

CRS report via FAS – U.S. Department of State Personnel: Background and Selected Issues for Congress. Cory R. Gill, Analyst in Foreign Affairs. May 18, 2018. “Shortly after his confirmation as Secretary of State in April 2018, Secretary Mike Pompeo lifted the hiring freeze that former Secretary Rex Tillerson left in place for over a… Continue Reading

(Robo)Call Me Maybe: Robocalls to Wireless Phones Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act

CRS report via FAS – (Robo)Call Me Maybe: Robocalls to Wireless Phones Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, Kathleen Ann Ruane, Legislative Attorney. May 29, 2018. “Robocalls—calls placed using an automated dialing system or artificial or prerecorded voice—are on the rise. Advances in technology have made it cheaper and easier than ever to dial millions… Continue Reading

Yale Law School Consumer Arbitration Data Archive

“On May 21, 2018, a United States Supreme Court majority held in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, 584 U.S. ___ (2018) (link is external), that, “Congress has instructed in the Arbitration Act that arbitration agreements providiing for individual proceedings must be enforced, and neither the Arbitration Act’s saving clause nor the NLRA suggests otherwise.” In… Continue Reading

Supreme Court decision – companies can use arbitration clauses to block employees class action suits

The New York Times: “The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that companies can use arbitration clauses in employment contracts to prohibit workers from banding together to take legal action over workplace issues. The vote was 5 to 4, with the court’s more conservative justices in the majority. The court’s decision could affect some 25 million… Continue Reading

UK – Internet Safety Strategy green paper

“The Internet Safety Strategy looks at how we can ensure Britain is the safest place in the world to be online. The Strategy considers the responsibilities of companies to their users, the use of technical solutions to prevent online harms and government’s role in supporting users. The consultation covered various aspects of online safety including:… Continue Reading

WaPo More than 210,000 students have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine

The wider more accurate statistics and graphics on how gun violence has impacted students in American schools since Columbine [1999]: “The Washington Post has spent the past year determining how many children have been exposed to gun violence during school hours since the Columbine High massacre in 1999. Beyond the dead and wounded, children who… Continue Reading

Paper – Cutting through the Fog: Government Information, Librarians, and the Forty-Fifth Presidency

Cutting through the Fog: Government Information, Librarians, and the Forty-Fifth Presidency. Kian A. Flynn, Cassandra J. Hartnett. RUSA Vol 57, No 3 (2018) “The presidential election of 2016 and the ensuing forty-fifth presidential administration have been marked by an increasingly polarized electorate, concerns about “fake news,” and a greater use of social media. President Trump… Continue Reading

Why Congress Matters: The Collective Congress in the Structural Constitution

Rao, Neomi, Why Congress Matters: The Collective Congress in the Structural Constitution (February 15, 2018). Florida Law Review, Vol. 70, No. 1, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3124493 “Congress currently operates in the shadow of the administrative state. This Article provides a modern reconsideration of why Congress still matters by examining the “collective Congress” within the… Continue Reading