Prospects for Social Security Reform

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 1999-03-01
  • Publisher: Univ of Pennsylvania Pr

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The United States social security system is the nation's largest social insurance program. As such, it has a far-reaching impact throughout the economy, influencing not only old-age economic security but also many behaviors, including corporate employment policy, retirement patterns, and personal saving. In the past, the system's universal coverage and generous benefits ensured popular support to a degree enjoyed by no other form of "big government" social spending. Yet over two-thirds of all Americans today believe that the social security system will face bankruptcy by the time they retire. The question of social security reform--how to reform the system or whether the system needs reform at all--is the subject of heated debate at all levels of government, in the media, and among workers, pensioners, and employers.Prospects for Social Security Reforminforms the debate by exploring why the system is at a crossroads today and what to do about it. Contributors detail the size and nature of the problem, explain views of key "stakeholders" regarding reform options, and report new evidence on how reform might affect the economy. Research findings and public opinion polls are analyzed, as are lessons from other countries experimenting with new ways to deliver old-age benefit promises. No other volume includes as diverse and expert a set of perspectives on reform and privatization as those gathered here from economists, actuaries, employers, investment managers, and representatives of organized labor. Among its chapters is the path-breaking study "Social Security Money's Worth," the 1999 winner of the TIAA-CREF's Paul A. Samuelson Award for Outstanding Scholarly Writing on Lifelong Financial Security.

Author Biography

Olivia S. Mitchell is Executive Director of the Pension Research Council and Professor of Insurance and Risk Management at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Robert J. Myers is a Special Consultant to the Social Security Division of William M. Mercer, Inc. and former Chief Actuary of the Social Security System. Howard Young is a former Special Consultant to the President of the United Auto Workers Union and former Adjunct Professor of Mathematics at the University of Michigan.

Table of Contents

Preface ix
I. What Is the Social Security Problem?
An Overview of the Issues
Olivia S. Mitchell
Robert J. Myers
Howard Young
Measuring Solvency in the Social Security System
Stephen C. Goss
Criteria for Evaluating Social Security Reform
Joseph F. Quinn
New Opportunities for the Social Security System
Stephen G. Kellison
Marilyn Moon
II. Assessing the Economic Impact of Social Security Reform
Social Security Money's Worth
John Geanakoplos
Olivia S. Mitchell
Stephen P. Zeldes
Simulating Benefit Levels Under Alternative Social Security Reforms
Gordon P. Goodfellow
Sylvester J. Schieber
Stochastic Simulation of Economic Growth Effects of Social Security Reform
Martin R. Holmer
Thinking About Social Security's Trust Fund
Kent A. Smetters
Government Guarantees for Old Age Income
George G. Pennacchi
Means Testing Social Security
David Neumark
Elizabeth Powers
Social Security and Employer Induced Retirement
Robert M. Hutchens
III. Political and Practical Considertions Regarding Social Security Reform
Compliance in Social Security Systems Around the World
Joyce Manchester
Employer Responses to Social Security Reform
Janice M. Gregory
An Actuarial Perspective on How Social Security Reform Could Influence Employer-Sponsored Pensions
Christopher Bone
An Organized Labor Perspective on Social Security Reform
David S. Blitzstein
Women as Widows Under a Reformed Social Security System
Karen C. Holden
Investment and Administrative Constraints on Individual Social Security Accounts
Robert C. Pozen
John M. Kimpel
Americans' Views of Social Security and Social Security Reforms
John Rother
William E. Wright
Contributors 395(6)
Index 401

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