Social Security Reform

Beyond the Basics

Greg Anrig, Jr., Richard C. Leone
Release Date: March 1, 1999

The debate over the future of Social Security, the federal government’s largest and most successful domestic program, is at center stage in Washington. Unfortunately, many Americans who recognize the importance of the issue have become confused both by the complexity of the topic and an abundance of contradictory and misleading political rhetoric.

This book attempts to clarify critical facts about Social Security and its future while highlighting widely repeated but inaccurate claims about the system. Topics explored include myths and misunderstandings about public opinion toward Social Security, the potential impact of the retirement of the baby boom generation on the American economy, whether Americans are saving enough for retirement, the relationship between the program and the federal budget, and misperceptions about the extent to which the stock market can and cannot help the system’s long-term prospects.

The volume is edited by Richard C. Leone, president of The Century Foundation, and Gregory Anrig, Jr., vice president. Contributing authors include Brookings Institution economists Henry J. Aaron, Robert D. Reischauer, and William Gale; former Social Security Commissioner Robert M. Ball; and Brandeis University economist James H. Schulz.