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Putting Our House in Order: A Guide to Social Security and Health Care Reform [Hardcover]

John B. Shoven , George P. Shultz
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 17, 2008 0393066029 978-0393066029 1

A former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and an eminent economist tackle the biggest social issue of our time.

Of all the issues swirling around the 2008 election, the staggering projected costs for the upkeep of America's largest entitlement programs—Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—loom with gathering intensity. Government revenues alone cannot solve the problem, but a solution must be found. In this book George P. Shultz and John B. Shoven take a practical—and optimistic—look at the issues at hand, offering an agenda for reform that will make these essential programs solvent. Drawing on a trove of original research, they take stock of the current situation, consider plans on offer from major thinkers in the field, and chart a course toward a system that provides income for the elderly and universal access to health care in ways that are fiscally sound. This book is a must-read for anyone looking to make an informed decision about the country's future.

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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

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: 0.9 x 5.8 x 8.5 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: #1,868,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtfully Written August 2, 2008
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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very practical solutions to a growing problem! 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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By W. Chu
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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3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad book October 7, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is worth the price. I was not overly impressed with it but the author does make several very good points.
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