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Does Social Security Need Saving? Providing for Retirees throughout the Twenty-first Century

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  • Dimitri B. Papadimitriou
  • L. Randall Wray

Abstract

Projections of an impending crisis in financing Social Security depend on unduly pessimistic assumptions about basic demographic and economic variables. Moreover, even if the assumptions are accepted, the projected gap between Social Security revenues and expenditures would not constitute a "crisis" and could be eliminated with relatively simple adjustments when it occurs. The real issue regarding our ability to provide for retirees throughout the coming century is not the size of Social Security Trust Funds, but the size and distribution of the whole economic pie. When the issue is viewed in this light, it becomes clear that most proposals to "save" the system-locking away budget surpluses, investing the Trust Funds in the stock market, privatization, reduction of benefits-do not address the real problem of caring for future retirees. Solutions consistent with the true nature and scope of the problem lie not within the Social Security system itself but in the realm of a general fiscal policy aimed at ensuring the growth of the economy.

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Paper provided by Levy Economics Institute in its series Economics Public Policy Brief Archive with number ppb_55.

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Handle: RePEc:lev:levppb:ppb_55

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  1. Marc-Andre Pigeon & L. Randall Wray, 1999. "Demand Constraints and Economic Growth," Economics Working Paper Archive, Levy Economics Institute wp_269, Levy Economics Institute.
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Cited by:
  1. Dimitri B. Papadimitriou & Greg Hannsgen & Gennaro Zezza, 2007. "The Effects of a Declining Housing Market on the U.S. Economy," Economics Working Paper Archive, Levy Economics Institute wp_506, Levy Economics Institute.
  2. Dimitri B. Papadimitriou & L. Randall Wray, 2007. "The April AMT Shock: Tax Reform Advice for the New Majority," Economics Policy Note Archive, Levy Economics Institute 07-1, Levy Economics Institute.
  3. Thomas L. Hungerford, 2003. "Do Workers with Low Lifetime Earnings Really Have Low-Earnings Every Year? Implications for Social Security Reform," Labor and Demography, EconWPA 0309007, EconWPA.
  4. Marshall Auerback & L. Randall Wray, 2010. "Toward True Health Care Reform: More Care, Less Insurance," Economics Public Policy Brief Archive, Levy Economics Institute ppb_110, Levy Economics Institute.
  5. L. Randall Wray, 2005. "Social Security's 70th Anniversary: Surviving 20 Years of Reform," Economics Policy Note Archive, Levy Economics Institute 05-6, Levy Economics Institute.
  6. Thomas L. Hungerford, 2003. "Do Workers with Low Lifetime Earnings Really Have Low Earnings Every Year?: Implications for Social Security Reform," Economics Working Paper Archive, Levy Economics Institute wp_389, Levy Economics Institute.
  7. L. Randall Wray, 2006. "Global Demographic Trends and Provisioning for the Future," Economics Working Paper Archive, Levy Economics Institute wp_468, Levy Economics Institute.
  8. Dimitri B. Papadimitriou & Greg Hannsgen & Gennaro Zezza, 2007. "Cracks in the Foundations of Growth: What Will the Housing Debacle Mean for the U.S. Economy?," Economics Public Policy Brief Archive, Levy Economics Institute ppb_90, Levy Economics Institute.
  9. L. Randall Wray, 2006. "The Burden Of Aging: Much Ado About Nothing, Or Little To Do About Something?," Economics Policy Note Archive, Levy Economics Institute 06-5, Levy Economics Institute.
  10. L. Randall Wray, 2006. "Social security in an aging society," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(3), pages 391-411.

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