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Maintaining Social Security Benefits and Tax Rates through Personal Retirement Accounts: An Update Based on the 1998 Social Security Trustees Report

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  • Martin Feldstein
  • Andrew Samwick

Abstract

A program of Personal Retirement Accounts (PRAs) funded by deposits equal to 2.3 percent of earnings (up to the Social Security maximum) would permit retirees to receive more income in retirement than with the current Social Security program while at the same time making it unnecessary to increase the 12.4 percent payroll tax in response to the aging of the population. The gross cost of these deposits, approximately 0.9 percent of GDP, could be financed for more than a decade out of the budget surpluses currently projected by the Congressional Budget Office. By the year 2030, the additional corporate tax revenue that results from the enlarged capital stock financed by PRA assets would be able to finance fully these personal tax credits. During the intervening years (about 2020 to 2030), a reduction of other government spending or an increase in taxes would be needed if budget deficits are to be avoided. If implemented, the PRA program would not only increase retirement income and stabilize the Social Security payroll tax, but would also substantially increase national saving and GDP. NOTE: This is a revised version of "Two Percent Personal Retirement Accounts: Their Potential Effects on Social Security Tax Rates and National Saving," by Martin Feldstein and Andrew Samwick, issued in April, 1998 as working paper 6540.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6540.

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Date of creation: Mar 1999
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6540

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  1. Martin Feldstein & Andrew Samwick, 1997. "The Economics of Prefunding Social Security and Medicare Benefits," NBER Working Papers 6055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Fred T. Goldberg, Jr. & Michael J. Graetz, 1999. "Reforming Social Security: A Practical and Workable System of Personal Retirement Accounts," NBER Working Papers 6970, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. James M. Poterba, 1999. "The Rate of Return to Corporate Capital and Factor Shares: New EstimatesUsing Revised National Income Accounts and Capital Stock Data," NBER Working Papers 6263, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002. "Social security," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324 Elsevier.
  5. Martin Feldstein & Elena Ranguelova & Andrew Samwick, 2001. "The Transition to Investment-Based Social Security When Portfolio Returns and Capital Profitability Are Uncertain," NBER Chapters, in: Risk Aspects of Investment-Based Social Security Reform, pages 41-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Damjanovic, Tatiana, 2003. "The possibility of Pareto-Improving Pension Reform: More Arguments," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 53, Royal Economic Society.
  2. Martin Feldstein & Elena Ranguelova, 2000. "Accumulated Pension Collars: A Market Approach to Reducing the Risk of Investment-Based Social Security Reform," NBER Working Papers 7861, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Walliser, Jan, 1999. "Would Saving Social Security Raise National Saving?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 3), pages 541-52, September.

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