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By Steven Hill

Social Security is not going broke, not by a long shot. The Social Security Board of Trustees released its annual report to Congress in July 2015, and among all the tables, charts, and graphs in that big fat report, it would be easy to miss the most important take-home message: Social Security is one of the best-funded federal programs in US history. That’s because it has its own dedicated revenue stream, which is composed of the insurance premiums paid by every worker (deducted from our paychecks by what is called “payroll contributions”), which are automatically banked into the Trust Fund. Even the Pentagon and the defense budget do not have their own dedicated revenue stream. Read more →

By Richard Hoffman

When an ideology is dying, its final throes include a ferocious and defiant last stand. I believe we are witnessing that right now, the last stand of a discredited idea of masculinity that was long in the making but took its most rigid and brutal form amid the atrocities of the last century of warring bullies. Standing up to a bully like Trump might begin, for men, with the simple declaration that we are our mothers’ sons as well as our fathers’, a declaration that acknowledges our original wholeness. And then we ought to think hard about what that really means and what it might require of us. Read more →

By Melissa Range and Tracy K. Smith

Each of the poems in Scriptorium is a marvel. What may likely strike you on the first read is Range’s remarkable facility with form. She moves nimbly, naturally, with com­fort and acrobatic delight through the rigors of sonnets, villanelles, anagrams, cento, and the like. She submits joyfully to the whims of rhyme, allowing music to ex­ert its will upon her train of mind, and she does so with such virtuosic ease that you may not even detect it on a first read. But what you will feel more than any of this, I am certain, is an urgent usefulness. These are poems for which form is not an end in itself. Read more →

Throughout this election cycle, we’ve seen the rise of the radical right reminiscent of the pull of ultraconservative organizations from the past; increasing calls to prevent new immigrants from entering our country; increased calls to improve gun control legislation; a resurging wave of religious intolerance against Muslim Americans; and nationwide protests imploring racial justice and economic progress. These issues and others that have made headlines in the news have become focal points in this year’s presidential debates. To help inform the conversation about these topics, we’re recommending a list of titles from our catalogue. Read more →

By James W. Russell

The ad from TIAA-CREF, the company that administers university and other retirement plans, which ran alongside my Yahoo inbox was too enticing to ignore. I clicked on the bait: “You could get ninety percent of your income and maintain your lifestyle in retirement.” The click brought me to another eye-catching claim: “On average, participants in TIAA-administered plans are on track to replace over ninety percent of their income in retirement.” These were eye-catching claims because I had been in TIAA for over thirty-five years and would be replacing nowhere near ninety percent of my preretirement income. Nor would anyone else I knew who was in TIAA. Read more →