Book Forum

Social Security: A Fresh Look at Policy Alternatives

(University of Chicago Press, 2010)

May 27, 2010 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM EDT


Featuring the author Jagadeesh Gokhale of the Cato Institute; with comments by Andrew Biggs from the American Enterprise Institute; and Eugene Steuerle of the Urban Institute.

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Purchase bookThere are widespread fears about Social Security's long-term solvency, and it appears quite likely that the Bipartisan Fiscal Commission will recommend Social Security reforms. But the government projects Social Security's future finances using long-outdated methods that fail to consider key features of ongoing demographic and economic change. Employing a more up-to-date approach, Jagadeesh Gokhale argues in his new book that the program faces insolvency far sooner than previously thought.

Gokhale will describe key features from his analysis of forces shaping American demographics and the economy—and their implications for the future of Social Security—under current policies and under several prominent Social Security reform proposals. His evaluation will reveal how far different approaches would restore the program's financial health and which population groups would gain or lose in the process. Arguments over Social Security have taken place in a relative information vacuum; Gokhale will argue that the methods and measures employed in his new book are necessary to make meaningful progress in the Social Security reform debate.