Insuring the Essentials

Bob Ball on Social Security

Robert M. Ball
Release Date: November 1, 2000

Social Security, long a “third rail” in American politics, became a battleground during the 2000 presidential campaigns. The reform proposal advocated by many Republicans, if enacted, would transform Social Security from a social insurance program to one based on individual retirement accounts and would restructure the program’s financing, with perhaps disastrous results. Before such drastic changes are considered for the nation’s most popular and successful public program, it is important that the nation understands the purpose, nature, and history of Social Security. This collection of essays and commentaries, written over six decades of Robert M. Ball’s close professional and personal involvement with Social Security and updated by the author for 2001, is intended to deepen the understanding among policymakers and general readers alike.