IMPORTANT COVID-19 UPDATES

9780226751160

Making Sense of Social Security Reform

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780226751160

  • ISBN10:

    0226751163

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2000-10-01
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
  • Purchase Benefits
  • Free Shipping On Orders Over $35!
    Your order must be $35 or more to qualify for free economy shipping. Bulk sales, PO's, Marketplace items, eBooks and apparel do not qualify for this offer.
  • Get Rewarded for Ordering Your Textbooks! Enroll Now
List Price: $25.00

Summary

The Social Security Act of 1935 must be counted among the most monumental pieces of legislation ever passed by Congress. Today, sixty-five years after its enactment, public support for Social Security remains extremely strong. At the same time, there have been reports that Social Security is in grave danger of financial collapse, and numerous groups across the political spectrum have agitated for its reform. The president has put forward proposals to rescue Social Security, conservatives argue for its privatization, and liberals advocate increases in its funding from surplus tax revenues. But what is the average person to make of all this? How many Americans know where the money for Social Security benefits really comes from, or who wins and loses from the system's overall operations? Few people understand the current Social Security system in even its broadest outlines. And yet Social Security reform is ranked among the most important social issues of our time. WithMaking Sense of Social Security Reform, Daniel Shaviro makes an important contribution to the public understanding of the issues involved in reforming Social Security. His book clearly and straightforwardly describes the current system and the pressures that have been brought to bear upon it, before dissecting and evaluating the various reform proposals. Accessible to anyone who has an interest in the issue, Shaviro's new work is unique in offering a balanced, nonpartisan account.

Author Biography

Daniel Shaviro is a professor of law at New York University. He is the author of Do Deficits Matter? and When Rules Change: An Economic and Political Analysis of Transition Relief and Retroactivity, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
Introduction
1(9)
Decomposition, or, Not Missing the Trees for the Forest
2(3)
Integration, or, Not Mistaking the Forest for the Entire Landscape
5(2)
Some Principles to Remember
7(1)
Road Map for the Rest of the Journey
8(2)
The Basic Building Blocks: Social Security Taxes and Benefits
10(14)
The Social Security Portion of the Payroll Tax
10(2)
Basics of the Social Security Benefit Formula
12(7)
The Confusing Relationship between the Tax and Benefit Rules
19(3)
Summary
22(2)
Social Security as a System of Forced Saving and Limited Portfolio Choice Plus or Minus a Transfer
24(20)
Who Pays for What in Social Security?
25(2)
A Simple Model of the Social Security System as Forced Saving Plus or Minus a Transfer
27(2)
Social Security as Forced Saving
29(2)
Social Security as a Redistributive Program
31(1)
The Limited Number of Mechanisms for Increasing Social Security Benefits
32(2)
Varying or Unclear Interest Rates
34(1)
The Risk-Return Frontier
35(3)
Risk versus Return in Social Security
38(2)
More on Social Security's Financing Risks
40(2)
Summary
42(2)
Social Security and Social Insurance
44(32)
Private Insurance and the Circumstances Where Government Action Extending It May Be Desirable
44(3)
Risk-Spreading and Risk Prevention
47(1)
Social Insurance and Income Risk
48(5)
A Single Comprehensive Insurance Measure?
53(1)
Public versus Private Insurance against Income Risk
54(2)
The Relevance of Household Status to Social Insurance
56(2)
If Social Security Is the Answer, What Is the Question?
58(7)
Issues Posed by Households in a Social Security-Type System
65(1)
How Well Does the Design of Social Security Fit Its Social Insurance Function?
66(7)
Summary
73(3)
The Social Security Trust Fund: The Economics of Funding and the Politics of Accounting
76(25)
The Relevance of Funding for Private versus Public Retirement Plans
77(5)
Evaluating the Funding of Different Types of Retirement Plans
82(3)
Actual Social Security as Approximately a Defined-Benefit Plan
85(3)
Is the Social Security Trust Fund a ``Fraud''?
88(2)
Is There a ``Right'' Way to Measure the Social Security Trust Fund?
90(3)
Prominently Discussed Methods (Apart from Tax and Benefit Changes) for Augmenting the Social Security Trust Fund
93(5)
Summary
98(3)
Traditionalist Social Security Reform Proposals
101(25)
Significance of the Current System's ``Fundamental Character''
101(4)
Proposed Tax and Benefit Changes
105(5)
Improving the Spousal Rules within Traditional Social Security
110(3)
Investing a Portion of the Trust Fund in the Stock Market
113(10)
Summary
123(3)
Proposals to ``Privatize'' Social Security
126(20)
What Does ``Privatization'' Mean?
126(3)
Money Machines and the ``Transition Path'' Problem
129(3)
The Bookkeeping Shift from a Trust Fund to Individual Accounts
132(3)
Increasing National Saving through Full Funding
135(2)
Privatization and Portfolio Choice
137(3)
Administrative Privatization
140(2)
Eliminating Social Security's Transfer Content
142(1)
Spousal and Household Issues in Privatization
143(1)
Summary
144(2)
A Modest Proposal: Progressive Privatization
146(13)
Service with a Smile
146(1)
Main Conclusions concerning Social Security Reform
147(5)
A Modest Proposal at Last
152(4)
The ``Transition Path'' Problem, or, Getting There from Here
156(1)
A Final World on Social Security Reform
157(2)
Notes 159(8)
Bibliography 167(6)
Index 173

Rewards Program

Write a Review