Larry Kotlikoff’s Commentaries
“Your World, Your Money sits down with bestselling author & Economics professor Laurence Kotlikoff to discuss his new release, “Money Magic,” an economist’s primer on personal finance for navigating career, retirement, loans, and more; challenging longstanding notions of economics and introducing base principles for pursuing financial security.”
Invading Ukraine has made him, his associates, and, indeed, his nation radioactive. Aeroflot can no longer land in any Western city. Western airlines are canceling flights to Russia. BP and Shell Oil are pulling out of Russia. AerCap, the world’s largest aircraft leasing firm is doing likewise. So are huge banks, including HSBC. Société Géneral, and Shinhan Bank. Even Disney has had enough. It’s pulling Batman from Russian theaters.
Social Security is once again sending out clearly false benefit statements. If the code generating the statements is generating actual benefit payments, millions of Americans may be receiving too little or too much in Social Security benefit payments. If you are receiving too much, you can expect to be billed for all past overpayments years later even though the mistaken overpayment was entirely Social Security’s fault.
After just nine months, you’re eligible to collect future widow(er) Social Security benefits. Plus, after one year of marriage, you and your spouse are eligible to collect future spousal benefits. And if you stay married for 10 years, you’re eligible for divorced spousal and divorced widow(er) benefits.
Almost two-thirds of people — between ages 57 and 66 — choose to retire early out their own volition, despite having saved next to nothing. And most of them are able-bodied, without disabilities that would prevent them from staying on the job.
18-year-olds face these odds when they borrow for college. Two in 5 will enter the hallowed halls of academia only to drop out. The majority will have borrowed for the privilege. As for college graduates, over two-thirds will leave in debt.
If you are in the market and worried sick, maybe it’s time to trade your sleepless nights for paying off a tax liability that you’re going to face one way or the others, but doesn’t require paying additional taxes based on unreal income.
Imagine you’re a small business owner at the outset of Covid and learn that you can keep your workers employed and stay in business thanks to the Payroll Protection Plan enacted by Congress. Further imagine your bank is the Bank of America…. Some ten months later, when everyone else is receiving forgiveness on their PPP loans, you start contacting the Bank of America for confirmation that your loan has been forgiven. What you get is months of stonewalling ultimately followed by a declaration that your PPP loan never qualified for forgiveness.
The Social Security Trustees have released their annual report on the system’s finances. The news is awful. Social Security’s unfunded liability is an enormous $59.8 trillion. That’s over 2.5 times the size of the U.S. economy. Even more disturbing is the change since last year’s report. The system’s unfunded liability grew by $6.8 trillion. In other words, while Congress has been arguing over whether we can afford $3.5T in new spending, the debt we are leaving to our children grew by almost twice that amount without Congress lifting a finger.
But unlike the change in official debt, Social Security’s deficits are carefully kept off the books — for political, not economic reasons. Consequently, not a single media outlet we know of has reported these numbers
Victory over COVID-19 doesn’t mean eliminating it. That’s impossible given its global spread and mutation. Victory means suppressing it in the same way we have suppressed measles.