Economic Update: Social Security, Ohio Derailment, Puerto Rican Poverty - US Capitalism Provokes

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In this week’s show, Prof. Wolff focuses on the struggle over Social Security- real versus false alternatives- and the East Palestine, Ohio, derailment tragedy. In the second half of the show, Wolff interviews Alexis Colón about the colonial status of Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans fighting against it.


00:00 - 01:01 - Intro
01:02 - 10:06 - Social Security
10:07 - 14:33 - Ohio Train Derailment
14:34 - 15:45 - Announcements
14:46 - 29:50 - Interview with Alexis Colón

Economic Update with Richard D. Wolff is a Democracy at Work production. We make it a point to provide the show free of ads. Please consider supporting our work. Learn about all the ways to support our work on our Donate page, and help us spread Prof. Wolff's message to a larger audience. Every donation counts! A special thank you to our devoted monthly donors (via both our website and Patreon) whose recurring contributions enable us to plan for the future.

Find quick and easy access to past episodes of Economic Update, including transcripts, on our EU Episode List page.

About our guest: Alexis Colón graduated from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez with a bachelor’s degree in natural science and studied economics at the graduate school of the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras. His areas of interest are political economy and geopolitics. Recently, he’s been researching the origins of the debt crisis in Puerto Rico.

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Showing 1 comment

  • Edward Dodson
    commented 2023-03-15 13:05:31 -0400
    On Social Security …

    It is important to remember that when the system was introduced, eligibility for benefits was far less generous that has evolved. Demographics also kept the system solvent because life expectancy was much lower than is now the case. Over the decades, our population has aged. Thus, the huge number of children born during the so-called “baby boom” decades are now seniors. They and their offspring have had fewer and fewer children, so that other than by immigration we have reached replacement level. The potential for the collection of revenue from those who are working has become unrealistic without considerable increases in payroll deductions combined with contributions based on much higher incomes being subject to contributions.

    My solution: progressive income taxation that collects a much higher amount of revenue from higher levels of income. End the distinction between ordinary income (i.e., wages and salaries) and income derived from ownership of financial assets. Combine this with tax simplification. All individual incomes up to the national median would be exempt from taxation. All other exemptions and deduction would be eliminated. Above the exempt amount, impose a higher rate of taxation on higher ranges of income — up to whatever rate is required to raise enough revenue to balance the federal budget, including whatever cash flow needs arise for Social Security benefits.

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