Social Security in the 21st Century

Paperback | April 30, 1999

EditorEric R. Kingson, James H. Schulz

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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 strongsupport 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," theycall 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 commitmentsand 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 balanceddiscussions 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 consonancewith 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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From the Publisher

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 strongsupport for Social Security, but these same pol...

Eric R. Kingson is at Boston College. James H. Schulz is at Brandeis University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 5.98 × 9.02 × 0.91 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195104250

ISBN - 13:9780195104257

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Peter DiamondI: An Overview of Social Security1. Lawrence H. Thompson and Melinda M. Upp: The Social Insurance Approach and Social Security2. Edward D. Berkowitz: The Historical Development of Social Insurance in the United StatesII: Social Security Issues3. Eric R. Kingson and James H. Schulz: Should Social Security Be Means-Tested?4. Marilyn Moon: Are Social Security Benefits Too High or Too Low?5. Yung-Ping Chen and Stephen C. Goss: Are Returns on Payroll Taxes Fair?6. Karen C. Holden: Social Security and the Economic Security of Women: Is It Fair?7. Jerry L. Mashaw: Disability: Why Does the Search for Good Programs Continue?8. Jill Quadagno and Joseph Quinn: Does Social Security Discourage Work?9. Edward M. Gramlich: How Does Social Security Affect the Economy?10. Barry Bosworth: What Economic Role for the Trust Funds?11. Virginia P. Reno and Robert B. Friedland: Strong Support But Low Confidence: What Explains the Contradiction?12. Theodore R. Marmor, Fay Lomax Cook and Stephen Scher: Social Security and the Conflict Between Generations: Are We Asking the Right Questions?13. Robert J. Myers: Will Social Security Be There for Me?III: Additional Views on the Issues14. Michael D. Hurd: Adequacy and Equity Issues: Another View15. Dwight K. Bartlett: Financing and Work Issues: Another View16. Stanford G. Ross: Institutional and Administrative Issues17. C. Eugene Steuerle: Social Security in the 21st Century: The Need for Change18. Robert M. Ball with Thomas N. Bethell: Bridging the Centuries: The Case for Traditional Social SecurityReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"An absolute prescription/antidote to the fear-mongering demagoguery regarding the status and future of Social Security."--Harold Sheppard, University of South Florida