Social Security: A Fresh Look at Policy Alternatives

Media Name: socialsecurity.jpg

About the Book

Many of us suspect that Social Security faces eventual bankruptcy. But the government projects its future finances using long outdated methods. Employing a more up‐​to‐​date approach, Jagadeesh Gokhale here argues that the program faces insolvency far sooner than previously thought.

To assess Social Security’s fate more accurately under current and alternative policies, Gokhale constructs a detailed simulation of the forces shaping American demographics and the economy to project their future evolution. He then uses this simulation to analyze six prominent Social Security reform packages—two liberal, two centrist, and two conservative—to demonstrate how far they would restore the program’s financial health and which population groups would be helped or hurt in the process.

Arguments over Social Security have raged for decades, but they have taken place in a relative informational vacuum; Social Security provides the necessary bedrock of analysis that will prove vital for anyone with a stake in this important debate.

About the Author

Jagadeesh Gokhale is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, coauthor of Fiscal and Generational Imbalances: New Budget Measures for New Budget Priorities, and a member of the Social Security Advisory Board.

What Others Have Said

“Jagadeesh Gokhale once again pushes the state of the art in Social Security analysis, warning us that the largest federal spending program is in far worse financial condition than commonly supposed. Gokhale builds his analysis of Social Security from the ground up, in the process showing how more limited approaches used by government agencies don’t tell the full story. Gokhale’s analysis of Social Security is both technically first‐​rate and accessibly written, and it should serve as a warning to policymakers and the public not to delay in addressing this important issue.”
—Andrew Biggs, American Enterprise Institute

“Let there be no mistake—despite the urgency of the recent financial crisis and recession—the most daunting economic challenge facing our nation remains that of reducing the enormous deficits facing the United States as a result of our entitlement programs. In Social Security, Jagadeesh Gokhale provides a rigorous analysis of options for reforming this important program. His analysis serves both as a call‐​to‐​action for our nation to take on this problem head‐​on and as a useful analytical framework for understanding how reform would work. Policy makers should not only read this book, they should act on it.”
—Jeffrey R. Brown, University of Illinois at Urbana‐​Champaign

Social Security is innovative, interesting, and important. Gokhale delivers on the promise in the title, providing a new appraisal of a variety of plans to reform Social Security that will appeal to a wide range of readers, including policy makers in Congress and the White House and economists concerned with retirement income.”
—Dale Jorgenson, Harvard University