Kleyman, Paul


Paul Kleyman directs the Ethnic Elders Newsbeat at New America Media. He was editor of "Aging Today," newspaper of the American Society on Aging for 20 years, and he founded and heads the Journalists Network on Generations.

Social Security’s Imminent Demise Greatly Exaggerated in Mainstream Headlines

By Paul Kleyman
New America Media

To read this week’s mainstream headlines on the new Social Security Trustees Report, you’d think the barriers to our retirement future were higher than Fenway Park’s vaunted Green Monster. What the report actually shows, however, is that the nation’s retirement system is, more precisely, as durable as Boston’s vaunted emerald wall, which was celebrated for its 100th anniversary last week.

Factual reporting on the staying power of government programs, though, doesn’t drive much website traffic. On Monday, the PBS News Hour headed an online page for the debate they aired about the report, “Social Security Slated to Run Dry in 2033, Trustees Warn.”

The New York Times “Safety Net” Package Gets It Half Right

By Paul Kleyman
New America Media

The New York Times front-page article Sunday showing how extensively Americans—including Tea Party supporters—rely on government programs successfully shatters some myths about who accesses the safety net. But despite its fine on-the-ground reporting, the article’s poor framing on policy solutions seems to perpetuate other myths about Medicare and Social Security.

First, the good news: In “Even Critics of Safety Net Depend on It Increasingly,” Binyamin Appelbaum and Robert Gebeloff examine recessionary life in Chisago County, Minnesota, northeast of the Twin Cities and somewhat farther north of Anoka, the real Lake Woebegone where Garrison Keillor grew up.

Ethnic Experts Say Strengthen, Don't Cut, Social Security

By Paul Kleyman
New America Media

Politicians need to strengthen Social Security’s protections, especially for lower-income women, youth and ethnic elders and stop focusing on reducing Social Security already modest benefits to make up for projected shortfalls for the program decades from now, according to members of the Commission to Modernize Social Security during a national webinar held last week.

The commission, a group of national experts from groups representing Black, Asian, Latino and Native America communities, held the online panel in conjunction with the release of an updated edition of its 2011 report, Plan for a New Future: The Impact of Social Security Reform on People of Color.

“Tax Holiday” News Coverage Misses Democrats’ Social Security Breach

By Paul Kleyman
New America Media

Democratic leaders and the White House are congratulating themselves for their tax-holiday victory—but only until the Feb. 29 leap-of-faith day--over GOP hardliners. But the payroll tax holiday, like most vacations, will have its bill to pay.

The national media have been playing the bipartisan shuffle in terms of Democratic stimulus versus GOP stinginess. But such major media as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have largely abrogated their responsibility to report another viewpoint that multiple progressive experts and commentators have argued for since the essentially Republic tax-cut idea was put forward and accepted last year by the Obama White House.

Reports Show Social Security Cuts Would Hit People of Color

By Paul Kleyman
New America Media

As Congress’ deficit-cutting “super committee” considers whether to recommend reducing Social Security benefits, two reports released last week expose the declining retirement security of aging Americans—especially among women and people of color.

“Although Social Security does not contribute to the federal deficit, Social Security benefit cuts are at the center of discussions in Congress to reduce the federal debt,” noted Maya Rockeymoore, coauthor of the report, “Plan for a New Future: The Impact of Social Security Reform on People of Color."

“Super Committee” Considering Cuts

Rockeymoore, president and CEO of Global Policy Solutions, explained that the super committee consists of 12 members of Congress, half from each part, charged with proposing ways to slash the national debt.

Two-Thirds of Californians Unprepared for Costs of Elder Care

By Paul Kleyman
New America Media

Two-thirds of middle-aged Californians – across party lines – worry that they won’t be able to cover the enormous cost of nursing home care – now over $70,000 a year – and Latinos in particular feel vulnerable, according to a report released Tuesday.

The report from the SCAN Foundation and UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research, examined how middle-aged voters are preparing for health and long-term care issues. The number of Californians age 60-plus “will nearly double to 12 million people in the next 25 years,” according to the report.

The report was based on a survey conducted by Lake Research which included 1,490 California voters age 40 and older, who were questioned in English or Spanish.

Agreement Across Party or Economic Lines

Study Shows Growing Number of Ethnic Elders in Financial Crisis

By Paul Kleyman
New America Media

In a dismal week when the most positive economic news for the United States was Friday’s federal data showing anemic employment gains, the plight of ethnic elders looks “even worse than we thought it would be,” according to Henoch Derbew, coauthor of a new report, “The Economic Crisis Facing Seniors of Color.”

“While the recession has affected all American, the effects have been truly devastating for Latinos, African Americans and Asian Americans hoping to retire with some dignity,” said Preeti Vissa, director of community reinvestment at the Greenlining Institute in Berkeley, Calif., which released the study Friday.

Double Jeopardy: Seniors Facing Hardships Hit by Budget Cuts

By Paul Kleyman
New America Media

While advocates for elders are decrying political proposals that would cut budgets “on the backs of seniors and the poor,” Howard Bedlin of the National Council on Aging (NCOA)  says that’s already happening.

Bedlin, NCOA’s policy and advocacy chief, said in an interview that much of the media’s attention to “drastic” proposals to reduce the national debt by House Republicans and the White House fails to reflect the deep cuts to seniors’ program that have already been made in the 2011 budget.

The 2011 compromise budget, he said, includes stark reductions for seniors in such safety-net programs as low-income housing, home-energy assistance for those in extreme weather, and job training and placement.

Bedlin and other experts on aging are dissecting how the national budget crunch will impact older Americans at this week’s Aging in America conference in San Francisco.

California Budget Cuts at Odds With State’s New Alzheimer’s Plan

By Paul Kleyman
New America Media

Felipe Garcia, 79, looks up with a ready smile as his two-year-old granddaughter, Marina, orbits his shuffling legs—her mother Elena keeping a sharp eye on the toddler to avoid any mishaps around the family’s modest home in Silicon Valley. Elena says Marina doesn’t quite understand yet that her abuelo (grandpa) has Alzheimer’s disease and can’t concentrate on her for long periods of time.

Felipe, who migrated from Mexico in his youth, is among 5.5 million Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Of those cases, 588,000 are in California, a number that is expected to double by 2030. The number of Latinos and Asians living with the disease will triple during the same time period, according to a new state plan jointly released by the Alzheimer’s Association, California’s Health and Human Services Agency and the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Advisory Committee.

Study: Blacks End Up Back in Hospitals More Often Than Whites

By Paul Kleyman
New America Media

Medicare patients at hospitals serving mainly ethnic elders end up back in the hospital within a month of being discharged much more often than patients at mainly white hospitals, according to a new study.

Hospital readmissions within 30 days of discharge—usually because a patient was released too early or without a plan for follow-up care at home—are a $17 billion-a-year problem.

The harm to patients and enormous costs associated with these “unnecessary” or “bounce-back” readmissions led Congress to include programs and penalties aimed at reducing the problem in the Affordable Care Act, aka the health care reform law. According to a 2009 study, two out of three bounce-back readmissions stem from inadequate planning or other avoidable factors for seniors and their families.