ISBN-10:
0275988813
ISBN-13:
9780275988814
Pub. Date:
09/30/2005
Publisher:
ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Social Security and the Middle-Class Squeeze: Fact and Fiction about America's Entitlement Programs

Social Security and the Middle-Class Squeeze: Fact and Fiction about America's Entitlement Programs

by Leonard J. Santow, Mark E. SantowLeonard J. Santow

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Overview

At the outset of his second term, President Bush's proposal to partially privatize Social Security has touched off a debate of enormous proportion. Disentangling the rhetoric and hyperbole from fact is essential for anyone trying to evaluate the potential merits or pitfalls of the plan. Leonard and Mark Santow—a father-and-son team who integrate two different political viewpoints (fiscally conservative and socially liberal, respectively)—offer specific recommendations for improving Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in socially responsible ways that relieve some of the stress on the middle class and promote upward mobility. Explaining sophisticated economic concepts in layman's terms, the Santows expose myths about how entitlement programs actually work, arguing, for example, that while the financial state of Social Security gets most of the press, Medicare and Medicaid are in much more serious trouble. They integrate conservative and liberal viewponts to propose a package of reforms that includes both tax cuts and increases and an overhaul of the government's economic forecasting system.

Synthesizing mountains of data and explaining sophisticated economic concepts in layman's terms, the Santows expose myths about how entitlement programs actually work, arguing, for example, that while the financial state of Social Security gets most of the press, Medicare and Medicaid are in much more serious trouble. Moreover, they are highly critical of privatization plans, demonstrating that similar programs have failed in other countries and that such plans are programs are neither fiscally nor socially sound. If the American people value the common commitments that these programs embody, we will need to see them as a package, and fund them accordingly. In response to this challenge, the Santows integrate conservative and liberal viewpoints to propose a package of reforms that includes both tax cuts and increases and an overhaul of the government's economic forecasting system. Featuring a timeline of key events since Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act in 1935 and an appendix of data tables, the authors offer a primer for concerned citizens, policymakers, educators, students, and finance professionals—anyone with a stake in designing a system that pays for these essential programs in an equitable manner and contributes to our collective prosperity.


Featuring a timeline of key events since Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act in 1935 and an appendix of data tables, the authors offer a primer for concerned citizens, policymakers, educators, students, and finance professionals—anyone with a stake in designing a system that pays for these essential programs in an equitable manner and contributes to our collective prosperity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780275988814
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 09/30/2005
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 232
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Leonard J. Santow is Managing Director of Griggs & Santow Inc., an economic consulting firm in New York, whose clients include government agencies, central banks, investment and commercial banks, corporations, pension funds, insurance companies, government securities dealers, and money managers. He has served as Financial Economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and on the boards of several investment committees and organizations. He is the author of The Budget Debate, Helping the Fed Work Smarter, and Social Security: What's Right, What's Wrong, What Needs to Be Done.

Mark E. Santow is Assistant Professor of American History and a fellow at the Center for Policy Analysis at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, specializing in 20th-Century American urban history, politics, and social policy. He has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Fordham University, and Gonzaga University, and published numerous essays on segregation, urban policy, and the war on poverty. His book, Saul Alinsky and the Dilemmas of Race in the Post-War City, will be published in 2006.

Table of Contents

Foreword

Acknowledgements

A Practitioner and a Historian Combine Ideas

Government and the Promise of American Life

The Middle Class and the American Dream

Explaining and Analyzing are not Enough

New Ways to Look at Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid

Misconceptions and Myths About Social Security

Government Cannot Legislate Investment Success

Big Budget Deficits - Not Good for Stocks and Privatization

Let's Talk Politics

Forecasting by the Trustees - Flaws and Recommendations

Social Security Around the World

Some Parting Thoughts

Appendix I: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid - Facts and History Appendix II: The Tables

Notes

About the Authors

Index

What People are Saying About This

Benjamin M. Friedman

"[A] thoughtful analysis of the core fiscal problems our nation's economy and our government now face, including not just the Social Security program highlighted in the book's title, but Medicare and Medicaid as well. If more Americans understood what the Santows have to say, our prospects for successfully meeting these difficult challenges would be significantly greater."

Albert M. Wojnilower

"A fascinating amalgam of social policy recommendations by a conservative (right-wing) economist father and his liberal (left-wing) historian son. It is a refreshing antidote to the slanted and dishonest descriptions that currently prevail in the public debate. Although I do not subscribe in every detail to the Santows' arguments and proposals, they present a useful compromise as to what the country could and should do to deal with the divisive problems facing us. What is perhaps the most instructive is the huge extent to which both right and left would have to retreat from the ideological sloganeering to reach any useful agreement. Both authors will be regarded as traitorous renegades by their constituencies. The reader will have to judge whether the country can arrive at a fruitful reconciliation of views was apparently accomplished by the authors within the family."

Kevin Mattson

"This important book should be read by every American. By examining the program of Social Security and its historical roots, this book forces us to think about what we owe one another and what ties us together as a nation bonded together by civic principles. America is in deep danger of losing a sense of mutual obligations and the importance of a healthy middle class; this book alerts us to that danger with clarity and conviction."

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