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By Jacob McConnico
336-758-5237
February 11, 2005

ARGUMENTS FOR SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM — Politicians seem concerned primarily with the future imbalance of money coming in versus payout in the present Social Security system. But, Robert Whaples, associate professor of economics at Wake Forest University, says the system is in need of reform for a variety of other reasons, including:

  • "The system is very unfair to people who pay into it, but don't receive many benefits because they die at younger ages – members of minority groups whose life expectancies are lower are an important example."
  • "The pay-as-you-go nature of the system also reduces our national savings rate, which slows economic growth and is partly responsible for our huge trade deficit."
  • "The system is a very poor investment for most people – even if benefits are not cut in the future and social security taxes aren't raised, both of which seem likely if there is no fundamental reform. Long-term stock market returns have historically been much higher than returns to one's investment in Social Security."

Contact: Maggie Barrett, barretmb@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

VIOLIN VIRTUOSO JOSHUA BELL TO PERFORM AT WFU — Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell will perform with his 1732 Stradivarius at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12 in Wake Forest's Wait Chapel as part of the university's Secrest Artists Series. Bell, who has earned the rare title of classical music superstar, is well known for his work on "The Red Violin," which earned the 1999 film an Academy Award for best soundtrack. Concert tickets are $25; $20 for senior citizens and non-Wake Forest students; and $5 for children under 12. Tickets are available at the Theatre Box Office in Scales Fine Arts Center weekdays from noon to 5 p.m. or by calling 336-758-5295. Media are invited to tape the first 10 minutes of the concert.

Contact: Pam Barrett, barretpm@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

WFU AND CANCER SERVICES PRESENTS BENEFIT CONCERT — Wake Forest's Department of Music and Cancer Services Inc. of Winston-Salem will co-sponsor a benefit concert featuring renowned opera singer Diane Thornton. In her first local concert since becoming cancer-free, Thornton will perform with pianist Ruskin Cooper at 3 p.m. Feb. 13 in Brendle Recital Hall. Thornton is performing the concert in appreciation for the support she received from Cancer Services during her own cancer diagnosis and treatment and is dedicating the performance to her friend, artist and activist Elsie Dinsmore Popkin, who died Jan. 8 from complications during cancer treatment. Admission to the concert is free. Donations to Cancer Services will be accepted at the door, and all proceeds will benefit local cancer survivors and their families.

Contact: Pam Barrett, barretpm@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

WFU PROFESSOR, STUDENTS HELP LOCAL RESIDENTS FILE TAXES — The Earned Income Tax Credit can return thousands of dollars to many taxpayers, but many who would benefit from it are not aware of it, or don't know how to claim it. Now, qualifying residents of Forsyth County have a place to turn for help. Yvonne Hinson, associate professor of accountancy in Wake Forest's Calloway School of Business and Accountancy, and Wake Forest accounting students are offering free tax-filing assistance at the Goodwill Industries building at 2701 University Parkway. The Wake Forest site will operate Tuesdays in February and March from 4 - 6 p.m. The site operates as part of the Forsyth Working Families Partnership, a group of local non-profit organizations that helps low-income residents take advantage of tax credits by preparing their tax returns and showing them how to use the refunded money to build assets or buy a first home. Last year, the Wake Forest group assisted approximately 132 residents and returned between $40,000 and $50,000 in earned income tax credits and more than $110,000 in total refunds to local taxpayers. It is estimated that $12 million in unclaimed tax credits are available to Forsyth County residents.

Contact: Maggie Barrett, barretmb@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.


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