Social Security is not sustainable without reform. Simply put, it cannot pay promised future benefits with current levels of taxation. Yet raising taxes or cutting benefits will only make a bad deal worse. At the same time, workers have no ownership of their benefits, and Social Security benefits are not inheritable. This is particularly problematic for low-wage workers and minorities. Perhaps most important, the current Social Security system gives workers no choice or control over their financial future.

More on Social Security's Financial Crisis


America’s Entitlement Crisis Just Keeps Growing

By Michael D. Tanner. National Review (Online). June 13, 2018.

Entitlements Are out of Control

By Michael D. Tanner. National Review (Online). July 19, 2017.

Is an Allowance for All Americans as Crazy as It Sounds?

By Michael D. Tanner. The Hill (Online). June 2, 2017.

Cato Studies

The Welfare Cost of Perceived Policy Uncertainty: Evidence from Social Security

By Erzo F. P. Luttmer and Andrew A. Samwick. Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 49. April 13, 2016.

SSDI Reform: Promoting Gainful Employment while Preserving Economic Security

By Jagadeesh Gokhale. Policy Analysis No. 762. October 22, 2014.

The Rising Cost of Social Security Disability Insurance

By Tad DeHaven. Policy Analysis No. 733. August 6, 2013.


Social Security Reform: Does Privatization Still Make Sense?

Jagadeesh Gokhale. Harvard Journal on Legislation. Vol. 50. 2013.

Retiring with Financial Security and Dignity: Social Security, the Commission, and Markets

William G. Shipman. IRET Policy Bulletin. May 25, 2011.

Measuring Social Security’s Financial Outlook Within an Aging Society

Jagadeesh Gokhale. TIAA-CREF: Policy Brief. October 2005.

Cato Reviews & Journals

40. Social Security

Cato Handbook for Policymakers. Cato Handbook for Policymakers, 8th Edition (2017).

The Menu Police

Policy Report. July/August 2016.

President Clinton and the Chilean Model

José Piñera. Policy Report. January/February 2016.


Going for Broke: Deficits, Debt, and the Entitlement Crisis

Featuring Michael D. Tanner. June 16, 2015. Book Forum.

Rising Costs of Social Security Disability

Featuring Tad DeHaven, Jagadeesh Gokhale, and Chris Edwards. August 20, 2013. Capitol Hill Briefing.

Disability Insurance: The New Welfare?

Featuring Jagadeesh Gokhale and Michael D. Tanner. June 19, 2013. Policy Forum.