An influential group of business CEOs is pushing a plan to gradually increase the full retirement age to 70 for both Social Security and Medicare and to partially privatize the health insurance program for older Americans.
The Business Roundtable's plan would protect those 55 and older from cuts but younger workers would face significant changes. The plan unveiled Wednesday would result in smaller annual benefit increases for all Social Security recipients. Initial benefits for wealthy retirees would also be smaller.
Medicare recipients would be able to enroll in the traditional program or in private plans that could adjust premiums based on age and health status.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who oversaw a moratorium on offshore drilling after the BP oil spill and promoted alternative energy sources throughout the nation, will step down in March.
A former U.S. senator from Colorado, Salazar ran the Interior Department throughout President Barack Obama's first term and pushed renewable power such as solar and wind and the settlement of a longstanding dispute with American Indians.
Moody's Investors Service on Wednesday downgraded its outlook for the higher education sector to negative across the board, saying even prestigious, top-tier research universities are now under threat from declining enrollment, government spending cuts and even growing public doubts over the value of a college degree.
Previously, its outlook had been stable for those better-positioned institutions, and negative for the rest.
The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday approved a (euro) 3.24 billion ($4.3 billion) loan installment to Greece, following an economic review.
The decision by the IMF's board was expected following the Greek parliament's approval this week of an emergency bill ratifying dozens of conditions set by bailout lenders. Greece also completed a loan buyback last month that reduced its debt by more than (euro) 20 billion ($27 billion).