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Social Security : the Phony Crisis (99 Edition)

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Is it true that the Social Security system is in serious trouble and must be repaired? As baby boomers begin to retire, will they inevitably, by force of their sheer numbers, bankrupt the system? Is Social Security a big Ponzi scheme that will leave future generations with little to show for their lifetime of contributions? Is the only way to solve the Social Security crisis through radical changes like privatization or bolstering it with massive new taxes?

According to the authors of this important new study, the answer to these questions is a resounding no. In Social Security: The Phony Crisis, economists Dean Baker and Mark Weisbrot argue that there is no economic, demographic, or actuarial basis for the widespread belief that the program needs to be fixed.

As the authors emphasize, there is virtually no disagreement about the facts of Social Security's finances, or even the projections for its future. Rather, the Social Security debate has been foundering on misconceptions, confusion, and lack of agreement on the meaning of crucial terms.

The authors also take on related issues: that privatization would help save Social Security, that America has a pressing need to increase its national savings, and that future generations will suffer from the costs—especially for health care—of supporting a growing elderly population.

As New York Times columnist Fred Brock recently wrote, "So-called reform of the Social Security system is looking more and more like a solution in search of a problem." In this accessible and insightful work, Baker and Weisbrot seek to cut through some of the myths and fallacies surrounding this crucial policy issue.

"Dean Baker and Mark Weisbrot have no trouble at all demonstrating that even on highly conservative assumptions about economic growth, the much-forecast insolvency of the Social Security system by about 2030 is most unlikely to happen then, if indeed ever."—The Economist

"The authors challenge basic assumptions with vigor and intelligence. . . . An absolutely relevant and important analysis, presented with force and clarity, that asks, basically, what kind of a nation we really are."—Kirkus Reviews

"Proponents—like George W. Bush—of Social Security privatization . . . typically ignore prospects for a stagnant or falling stock market. In Social Security: The Phony Crisis, [Baker and Weisbrot] show how a falling stock market could place pressure on both future Social Security payments and privatization schemes because earnings from the trust fund could actually fall."—Jeff Madrick, New York Review of Books

Synopsis:

Is it true that the Social Security system is in serious trouble and must be repaired? As baby boomers begin to retire, will they inevitably, by force of their sheer numbers, bankrupt the system? Is Social Security a big Ponzi scheme that will leave future generations with little to show for their lifetime of contributions? Is the only way to solve the Social Security crisis through radical changes like privatization or bolstering it with massive new taxes?

According to the authors of this important new study, the answer to these questions is a resounding no. In Social Security: The Phony Crisis, economists Dean Baker and Mark Weisbrot argue that there is no economic, demographic, or actuarial basis for the widespread belief that the program needs to be fixed.

As the authors emphasize, there is virtually no disagreement about the facts of Social Security's finances, or even the projections for its future. Rather, the Social Security debate has been foundering on misconceptions, confusion, and lack of agreement on the meaning of crucial terms.

The authors also take on related issues: that privatization would help save Social Security, that America has a pressing need to increase its national savings, and that future generations will suffer from the costsespecially for health careof supporting a growing elderly population.

As New York Times columnist Fred Brock recently wrote, "So-called reform of the Social Security system is looking more and more like a solution in search of a problem." In this accessible and insightful work, Baker and Weisbrot seek to cut through some of the myths and fallacies surrounding this crucial policy issue.

"Dean Baker and Mark Weisbrot have no trouble at all demonstrating that even on highly conservative assumptions about economic growth, the much-forecast insolvency of the Social Security system by about 2030 is most unlikely to happen then, if indeed ever."The Economist

"The authors challenge basic assumptions with vigor and intelligence. . . . An absolutely relevant and important analysis, presented with force and clarity, that asks, basically, what kind of a nation we really are."Kirkus Reviews

"Proponentslike George W. Bushof Social Security privatization . . . typically ignore prospects for a stagnant or falling stock market. In Social Security: The Phony Crisis, [Baker and Weisbrot] show how a falling stock market could place pressure on both future Social Security payments and privatization schemes because earnings from the trust fund could actually fall."Jeff Madrick, New York Review of Books

Synopsis:

The debate over Social Security reform continues, but few participants ask one basic question: does Social Security really need to be reformed? This eloquent, sophisticated book smashes away the rhetoric of the Social Security "crisis" to answer with a resounding "no," offering a clear and compelling defense of a system that's not nearly as troubled as many would have us think.

About the Author

Dean Baker and Mark Weisbrot are codirectors of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (www.cepr.net).

Table of Contents

Foreword

Acknowledgments

Chapter 1: Introduction

Social Security and Social Insurance

The Politics of Non-Issues

Chapter 2: Social Security and its Critics

Social Security's Finances

The Disappearing Trust Fund

Demography as Destiny

Unfunded Liabilities, Ponzi Schemes, and Other Rhetorical Devices

Chapter 3: Generating Phony Wars With Generational Accounting

How Generational Accounting Works

How Generational Accounting Cooks the Books

Discounting Our Children's Futures

Will Education Really Impoverish Our Children?

If Health Care Costs Destroy the Economy, What Will Happen to Tax Rates?

What the Recount Shows

How Will Our Children Really Fare?

Rising Incomes, Changing Demographics

The Base Case

What the Real Generational Accounts Show

Chapter 4: Entitlements for the Elderly: Medicare "Reform"

The Wrong Direction

The Wrong Incentives

Medicare and Health Care Reform

Chapter 5: The Debate Over the Consumer Price Index

What Difference Does 1.1 Percent Make?

The Boskin Arithmetic

The Evidence for an Overstated CPI

Substitution Bias

Retail Outlet Substitution Bias

Quality and New Goods Bias

Sources of Understated Inflation in the CPI

Inflation for Whom?

The Implications of an Overstated CPI

The Boskin Commission's Failed Case

Chapter 6: The Glories of Privatization

A Happy Market, an Unhappy Economy

Is There a Way to Beat 3.5 Percent?

The Returns From Privatization: Going Down From 3.5 Percent

A Modicum of Privatization

Chapter 7: The Advisory Council and Other Fixes

Three Ideas From the Advisory Council

Investing the Trust Fund

Other Regressive Cuts

Proposals for Means Testing Benefits

A Worsening Problem?

The Way to Real Reform

Chapter 8: The Debate Over National Saving

An Economist's View of Saving

How Saving Generates Investment

Finding a Recipe For Higher Saving

The Impact of Investment on Economic Growth

Saving Will Not Make Us Rich

Chapter 9: Will the Age Wave Lift All Boats?

The Basic Features of the Future

The State of the Nation's Health

The Many Homes of the Future

Benefits of the Information Boom

Opportunities in Education

The Future of Work

The Downside to the Next Century

Fix the Problems, not Social Security

Chapter 10: An Honest Debate

Appendix: The Feldstein-Samwick Plan

References

Product Details

ISBN:
9780226035468
Author:
Baker, Dean
Author:
Weisbrot, Mark
Author:
Baker, Dean
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Subject:
General
Subject:
Finance
Subject:
Economics
Subject:
Social security
Subject:
Economics - General
Subject:
General Political Science
Subject:
Social security -- United States -- Finance.
Subject:
Politics - General
Edition Description:
1
Publication Date:
20010931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
199
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 0.7 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Economics » General
History and Social Science » Economics » US Economy
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Politics

Social Security : the Phony Crisis (99 Edition) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.00 In Stock
Product details 199 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226035468 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Is it true that the Social Security system is in serious trouble and must be repaired? As baby boomers begin to retire, will they inevitably, by force of their sheer numbers, bankrupt the system? Is Social Security a big Ponzi scheme that will leave future generations with little to show for their lifetime of contributions? Is the only way to solve the Social Security crisis through radical changes like privatization or bolstering it with massive new taxes?

According to the authors of this important new study, the answer to these questions is a resounding no. In Social Security: The Phony Crisis, economists Dean Baker and Mark Weisbrot argue that there is no economic, demographic, or actuarial basis for the widespread belief that the program needs to be fixed.

As the authors emphasize, there is virtually no disagreement about the facts of Social Security's finances, or even the projections for its future. Rather, the Social Security debate has been foundering on misconceptions, confusion, and lack of agreement on the meaning of crucial terms.

The authors also take on related issues: that privatization would help save Social Security, that America has a pressing need to increase its national savings, and that future generations will suffer from the costsespecially for health careof supporting a growing elderly population.

As New York Times columnist Fred Brock recently wrote, "So-called reform of the Social Security system is looking more and more like a solution in search of a problem." In this accessible and insightful work, Baker and Weisbrot seek to cut through some of the myths and fallacies surrounding this crucial policy issue.

"Dean Baker and Mark Weisbrot have no trouble at all demonstrating that even on highly conservative assumptions about economic growth, the much-forecast insolvency of the Social Security system by about 2030 is most unlikely to happen then, if indeed ever."The Economist

"The authors challenge basic assumptions with vigor and intelligence. . . . An absolutely relevant and important analysis, presented with force and clarity, that asks, basically, what kind of a nation we really are."Kirkus Reviews

"Proponentslike George W. Bushof Social Security privatization . . . typically ignore prospects for a stagnant or falling stock market. In Social Security: The Phony Crisis, [Baker and Weisbrot] show how a falling stock market could place pressure on both future Social Security payments and privatization schemes because earnings from the trust fund could actually fall."Jeff Madrick, New York Review of Books

"Synopsis" by ,
The debate over Social Security reform continues, but few participants ask one basic question: does Social Security really need to be reformed? This eloquent, sophisticated book smashes away the rhetoric of the Social Security "crisis" to answer with a resounding "no," offering a clear and compelling defense of a system that's not nearly as troubled as many would have us think.
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