Social Security University

Cato Institute Lunch Seminars on the Hill

Capitol Hill Briefing
February 19, 2003
1:00PM to 2:30PM EST
B-339 Rayburn House Office Building
Featuring Michael Tanner, director of the Cato Institute’s Project on Social Security Choice, and Andrew Biggs, Social Security analyst, Cato Institute, and former staffer to the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security.
Wednesday, February 19

Social Security 101: The Program and the Problem

Day One will cover how the current Social Security system works, how it is financed, and why we must take action to make the system sustainable for the long term. Social Security’s benefit structure, the nature of the Social Security Trust Fund, and the assumptions behind the trustee’s projections of coming insolvency will all be covered. Solutions based on personal retirement accounts will be introduced.

Thursday, February 20

Personal Accounts: Facts and Fantasy

Personal accounts sound like a good idea, but many people have doubts. This session will address the toughest objections made against personal retirement accounts, including issues of affordability, progressivity, market risk and more.

Friday, February 21

The Alternatives to Individual Accounts

Although proposals for individual accounts have been much debated, there has been far less discussion of the alternatives. Day Three will include a discussion of other proposals for Social Security reform, including tax increases, benefit cuts, and government investment of the trust fund in the stock market. It will look at proposals from prominent opponents of individual accounts from Congress, academia, and special interest groups.

This section will review public opinion findings on personal accounts and include a discussion of how Social Security reform may have impacted the fall elections.