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Social Security: The Phony Crisis New edition Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
As far as calling the authors left wing or crackpots. I can tell you the work done by Dean Baker and by the Center for Economic and Policy reseach is some of the best economics done in the country. They are one of the few economic institutes of note who have not sold out to large power interests. If you sit in the top 2% of wealth in the country, go ahead and call them names. You need to, because their facts can not be argued away so easily. However, the rest need to wake up. If you are part of the rest of population (the other 98%) of the country in income and agree with Social Security "reform" you either don't know what is intended for Social Security (i.e. handing it over to wall street) or did not understand the arguments expressed in this book.
But the authors point out, the specificity is illusory, all lever-pulling and smoke-blowing from the Wizard of Oz. The projections aren't economic but actuarial extrapolations based on assumptions that the all the actuaries know are fictitious at best. Tweak them ever so slightly--lift real wages by a quarter- or half-percent per annum, or immigration by a little--and the so-called "crisis" disappears entirely. But according to the apparat-niks at the CATO Institute and the attack dogs at the OUT-Fox-ed Network--you might think the numbers have come down from Moses. They haven't. Social Security isn't in trouble and the criticisms of it are not logical as the authors of "The Phony Crisis" point out.
First of all, Social Security is an INSURANCE System, not an "investment". When you factor in the cost of buying disability and survivor insurance and "invest the difference"...the performance "advantage" of equity markets gets razor-thin at best. It turns out that Social Security yields the same as nice safe government bonds, which any intelligent investor knows should form the basis of an investment portfolio.
Secondly, the so-called performance advantage of the markets has a whole lot of IFs that the PRIVATEERS conveniently fail to mention.
Forget hyper-collapse 1929-style for the moment. Since the Crash of October 1987, U.S.Read more ›
Furthermore, a blinkered analysis that regards debt instruments such as bonds as fundamentally riskier than "real assets" such as (I presume) real estate, stocks, and other equities is not only to ignore cases where land values crater, stock markets collapse, and companies go bankrupt, but also to willfully invert the relationship between risk and reward. No investment counselor would do this, for instance.
In any event, Baker's and Weisbrot's book illuminates issues like these with a bracing clarity (albeit with a little dryness). I highly recommend it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Social Security was never supposed to be a part of the general Federal Budget. Unlike most other federal programs, Social Security is self-funding. Read morePublished on October 22, 2010 by Yours truly,
Social Security is not in a crises and never has been, and this book presents that case solidly. The poor ratings here are almost certainly from conservatives, who probably have... Read morePublished on July 7, 2010 by Chess Maniac
Well, it's now 2007, and there's very little doubt by anyone (even left-wing nut jobs like these guys) that if something is not done, the Social Security system WILL FAIL. Read morePublished on April 25, 2007 by HAD2
I have often heard the jeremiads about social security that through shear repetition hope to gain acceptance. Read morePublished on November 22, 2006 by Bill Murphy
This book is more of a left-wing diatribe then real, intelligent economic analysis.Published on July 16, 2005 by JoshK
The authors do a wonderful job of ignoring one vital fact - how Social Security actually works.
Social Security is an intergenerational welfare program. Read more
Baker and Wesibrot do a yeoman's job of making the issues confront Social Security and the trust fund understandable and accessible to the average reader. Read morePublished on February 5, 2005 by AS Atwood
Social Security has benefited tens of millions during its first sixty years. It provides security in an otherwise insecure economy. This is why it has enormous public support. Read morePublished on November 30, 2004 by Acute Observer
The authors claim that just because average real return (after inflation) on the stock market has averaged 7% this does not mean you can count on this in the future. Read morePublished on March 23, 2001