Social Security in the 21st Century

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Social security has proven to be one of the most successful programs in the United States. No other program has done more to transform old age or to protect family incomes against economic risks arising from the disability or death of a working family member. Polls consistently show strong support for Social Security, but these same polls also show that the public, especially the young, is skeptical about whether Social Security will be able to meet its obligations. The program's harshest opponents call it a ...
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Overview


Social security has proven to be one of the most successful programs in the United States. No other program has done more to transform old age or to protect family incomes against economic risks arising from the disability or death of a working family member. Polls consistently show strong support for Social Security, but these same polls also show that the public, especially the young, is skeptical about whether Social Security will be able to meet its obligations. The program's harshest opponents call it a "Ponzi scheme." Arguing that the young will be left "holding the bag," they call for a shift towards greater personal savings or means-testing. Experts agree that the aging of the baby boom, longer life expectancies, and a changing economy will impose new challenges. But seeing no impending disaster, they point to reforms that leave intact basic Social Security commitments and structure. Not surprisingly, the public is confused and has many unanswered questions.
Social Security in the 21st Century offers an introduction to the basic economic, demographic, and political aspects of social security, and addresses the questions most often asked regarding this subject. Featuring nationally recognized experts, the book presents clear, authoritative, and balanced discussions of contemporary Social Security issues, offering the historical background, concepts, statistics, and options necessary to make informed judgments about the program. These issues include the program's financial viability, its effects on the economy and the federal deficit, its consonance with American values, the adequacy of benefits for today's and tomorrow's old, its fairness to women and the young, disability reform and generational equity. It explains both the social insurance principles and political history related to the development of Social Security in the United States. The book avoids using technical jargon, making it ideal for a wide ranging audience including policymakers, teachers, journalists, students, and the general public. Special attention is given to the future and how Social Security can be changed to respond to the needs of generations to come.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Members of the National Academy of Social Insurance explain basic facts and offer an understanding of the complexities surrounding Social Security, for educators, students, journalists, policymakers, and the general public. After a historical and conceptual overview section, chapters address commonly asked questions about Social Security, considering issues such as means testing and the economic role of trust funds. Other sections examine institutional and administrative issues, and offer alternative perspectives. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195104240
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/26/1996
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
Contributors
1 The Social Insurance Approach and Social Security 3
2 The Historical Development of Social Security in the United States 22
3 Should Social Security be Means-Tested? 41
4 Are Social Security Benefits Too High or Too Low? 62
5 Are Returns on Payroll Taxes Fair? 76
6 Social Security and the Economic Security of Women: Is It Fair? 91
7 Disability: Why Does the Search for Good Programs Continue? 105
8 Does Social Security Discourage Work? 127
9 How Does Social Security Affect the Economy? 147
10 What Economic Role for the Trust Funds? 156
11 Strong Support But Low Confidence What Explains the Contradiction? 178
12 Social Security Politics and the Conflict Between Generations: Are We Asking the Right Questions? 195
13 Will Social Security be there for Me? 208
14 Adequacy and Equity Issues: Another View 219
15 Financing and Work Issues: Another View 225
16 Institutional and Administrative Issues 231
17 Social Security in the 21st Century the Need for Change 241
18 Bridging the Centuries: The Case for Traditional Social Security 259
References 295
Index 307
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