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Saving Social Security Hardcover – Jul 11 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 287 pages
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press; Illustrated. edition (July 11 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815718381
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815718383
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 16 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,836,541 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Social Security is one of America's most successful government programs. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Format: Hardcover
Written by the chair of the board of the National Academy of Social Insurance and a former special assistant to the president for economic policy during the Clinton administration, Saving Social Security: A Balanced Approach Proposes a reform plan for America's social security system that would save it from both its financial problems and those who would do away with it. Focusing on means that promote long-term balance and sustainable solvency, while protecting the program's benefits for the disabled, low earners, widows, and young survivors. Exhaustively researched and deeply entrenched in practical issues and mathematical calculations, Saving Social Security is a highly recommended ray of hope against a looming national crisis.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A highly recommended ray of hope July 17 2004
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Written by the chair of the board of the National Academy of Social Insurance and a former special assistant to the president for economic policy during the Clinton administration, Saving Social Security: A Balanced Approach Proposes a reform plan for America's social security system that would save it from both its financial problems and those who would do away with it. Focusing on means that promote long-term balance and sustainable solvency, while protecting the program's benefits for the disabled, low earners, widows, and young survivors. Exhaustively researched and deeply entrenched in practical issues and mathematical calculations, Saving Social Security is a highly recommended ray of hope against a looming national crisis.
Saving Social Security Aug. 6 2013
By Jube - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was a great reference book for my term paper. It was sent to me very quickly and it was new.
A good read June 30 2013
By Jeffrey B. Cunningham - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I liked the book. It is a little slanted to someone with an economics background, but thta is OK with me as I majored in economics in college.
13 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Only Balanced on the High End Jan. 3 2005
By S. Mathys - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
First, the good things. This text gives a general understanding of how the 75-year projection has gone from on-balance in 1983 to off-balance in 2003, it provides many examples of possible errors in the system, and it gives good recommendations to the current system to enhance the ability of Social Security to remain in balance once it has been restored, namely things like adjusting retiree benefits for changes in expected life span over and above projected changes and including a universal legacy charge which does not eliminate the legacy cost but, rather, creates a stable legacy cost over time such that the cost of the system is being borne by all rather than only one generation (ours!). These earn the book 4 stars.

The authors state in chapter 3 their five goals for Social Security reform: "restor[e] Social Security to a sound financial footing, reduc[e] the future burden from Social Security on the rest of the Federal Budget, shar[e] the ongoing costs of the program's past generosity in a fair manner, preserv[e] and strenghten the program's social insurnace function,s and ensur[e] that, on balance, the changes enhance the overall performance of the economy." Given that the current 75-year projection by the Office of the Chief Actuary now shows a 1.9% of payroll imbalance, the authors contend that this imbalance should be corrected by not just revenue increases (higher payroll taxes, new estate taxes, or a non-renewal of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts) or benefit reductions, but both. In fact, this is the type of balance they propose - that all parties should share in the costs of the system equally. This "all parties" mentality leads them to include those state and local government workers currently not covered by the program, but conveniently (or maybe politically correctly) leads them to EXCLUDE all current retirees and near-retirees (those retiring in the next 10 years or so). The "all parties" mentality also belies their obvious disdain for the higher-earning cohorts of the country, in that many of the balance reforms do not balance reductions in benefits across all earnings groups with tax increases across those same groups, but mostly balances the increased revenue from taxing higher-wage earners more with decreasing benefits to those same high-wage earners through incrasing the "progressivity" of benefits. Such inconsistency in comparing apples to apples (for example, continually discussing the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts and options to reinstate those taxes as revenues dedicated to Social Security, when in fact these tax cuts are outside the scope of Social Security, and should have stayed there throughout the whole text) as the authors like to say they are doing causes them to lose 2 stars.

Overall, this book provides both positive analysis and negative inclusion of meaningless comparison. It is good for background to understand what the dilemma is truly about, but their whole package will probably not be, and should not be, implemented, though certain specific parts are appropriate.
6 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Should we keep Social Security limping along? Feb. 23 2005
By Peter Simmons, author, The Next Crash - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The authors do a passable job of explaining how Social Security has gotten to where it is.

Unfortunately, they never discuss what Social Security is.

Social Security is an intergenerational welfare program. Money is taken from the young, and given to retirees.

We can "Save Social Security" - by increasing taxes, reducing benefits, and using all sorts of accounting tricks.

But should we?

Retirees are living in comfort - while young people are being paid less and are struggling to survive.

Retirees have health insurance - while young people are likely to have none.

Social Security has lasted as long as it has because people saw it as a good deal - you got more out of it than you paid in.

Young people know that this is no longer true. They see no armies of children to support them in their old age. To pay for their retirement and medical costs.

What the authors suggest is that we continue to force young people to pay for retirees to live in comfort and health.

This means that young people will be forced to work until they drop. Every moment of their lives, they will live in fear that a medical emergency will drop them into the financial abyss.

And they will see retirees living in comfort and health - taking vacations, clogging the roads with their RV's.

This doesn't sound fair to me - or to the young people under 45 I talk to.

Does it sound fair to you?

Peter Simmons Author - The Next Crash

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