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Putting Our House in Order: A Guide to Social Security and Health Care Reform Hardcover – April 17, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0393066029 ISBN-10: 0393066029 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (April 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393066029
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393066029
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,724,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Former secretary of state Shultz and Stanford economics professor Shoven offer an agenda to reform Social Security and health care in a useful but abstruse primer meant to clarify some of the most pressing issues in the upcoming election. Shultz and Shoven offer an overly optimistic assessment of the economy's health and warn of the Iceberg Ahead: the staggering projected costs of Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. The authors boil the crisis down to the simple fact that, in demographic terms, we are retiring earlier and living longer. Government revenues alone cannot meet the needs of the increasing costs of health care, a longer life span and a growing cadre of those retiring at 62. Shultz and Shoven acknowledge that reforms in entitlement programs are notoriously difficult to implement, but inaction is not an option, and reforms should have been in place 10 years ago. To keep Social Security and health care from buckling under their prohibitive costs, the authors suggest a series of reforms, chief among them measures to encourage older Americans to continue participating in the labor force. The proposals in this citizen's guide are undeniably convincing, yet their presentation might prove too dense and difficult foranyone but the most dedicated political enthusiast. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

As the federal government’s social programs continue on course toward predicted fiscal whirlpools (Social Security will be in the red within 10 years), the tacks to safe harbor are no secret: either restrain benefits or increase taxes. Favoring the former on the grounds that the latter will weaken the economy on which entitlement programs depend, former cabinet officer Shultz and economics professor Shoven propose reforms of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The authors describe the rules of programs whose finances are becoming demographically squeezed between a healthier, longer-living, ever-larger retirement cohort and the relatively decreasing productive workforce that pays the taxes. Suggesting a combination of incentives to increase the workforce and, to restrain costs, attachment of benefits more closely to the individual via personal accounts and vouchers, Shultz and Shoven outline how changing various rules, such as the calculation of benefits, could move entitlement programs toward fiscal rationality without sacrificing their universality. Technocratic and not overtly political, this policy paper is timely for election year debates. --Gilbert Taylor

Customer Reviews

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Larry R Frank Sr, MBA, CFP on June 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Social Security is an important element for people to maintain their Standard of Individual Living (SOIL). The majority of people rely on Social Security according to the Soc. Sec. Administration (over 50% of income for 54% of married and for 74% of single people comes from Social Security). This book is an important reminder to people why they need to talk to their Senators, Congressmen and Congresswomen and ask them to read this book and fix this problem. Even more urgent, is the need to fix the national medical system - yes we already have one! It's called Medicare and Medicaid. If the government can not efficiently run this program (in existence since 1967) how do you think they will run an even larger program? By fixing the existing health care program first through the many proposals in this book, our Senators, Congressmen and Congresswomen can demonstrate the country is ready to have an even larger health care system put into place. We the people need to ask our Senators, Congressmen and Congresswomen to read this book and consider the proposals it contains - it is in your best interest.

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Great Dane on August 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The authors present a realistic and practical plan for improving upon a failing system. Importantly, they also identify ways in which current proposals could be integrated. Essential reading for anyone who cares about this impending problem.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A must read (which is fairly short) for the lay-person interested in the reform of these massive national entitlement programs, that, if left unchecked, will ruin this nation's economy and standard of living in the not-too-distant future. While I am no expert on entitlement reform, I felt this book (written by a former Reagan cabinet member) was about as non-partisan as you can get (indeed, blatant partisanship in the academic community, to which both of these authors currently belong, detracts from scholarly legitimacy). I believe that their critique of the various reform proposals are sound (albeit perhaps not as detailed as entitlement reform experts would like). Admittedly, they favor market-based solutions, but acknowledge the fundamental objectives that must be achieved by any reform policies.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is an important read for those who are part of the "baby boomer" generation, those who work in healthcare, and those who are young looking ahead into their future. The cartoons in the book are hilarious, and it is a well-researched important informative read for the laymen about the public policy relevant to the issues on the table.
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Putting Our House in Order: A Guide to Social Security and Health Care Reform
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