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Saving Social Security: A Balanced Approach Paperback – July 29, 2005

3.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An honest, transparent, and comprehensive approach to making the much needed reforms to the Social Security program." — Journal of Pensions, Economics, and Finance



"What [the book] demonstrates is this: With a balanced approach that includes both benefits cuts and new revenue, Social Security can be restored to good health and without the radical surgery others have recommended." — Boston Globe



"A concise and well-written book." — Political Studies Review



"The debate about reforming Social Security has become increasingly ideological. Scare tactics and unrealistic promises have become the norm. Diamond and Orszag bring some welcome realism and decency to the debate. They show exactly where the current system is strained, and they suggest concrete ways to strengthen and improve it with the least possible disruption to the lives of future workers and beneficiaries, especially the most vulnerable among them. There is no magic here, just the kind of honesty and common sense you would want from a really good mechanic." —Robert M. Solow, Institute Professor Emeritus, MIT, and Nobel Laureate in Economics



"When members of Congress get serious about fixing Social Security, they should begin by reading this book, instead of appointing another commission." —Michael J. Graetz, Justus S. Hotchkiss Professor of Law, Yale University Law School

About the Author

Peter A. Diamond is an Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His recent books include Social Security Reform, The 1999 Lindahl Lectures (Oxford University Press, 2002) and Taxation, Incomplete Markets, and Social Security: The 2000 Munich Lectures(MIT Press, 2002). He is a former president of both the American Economic Association and the National Academy of Social Insurance. Peter R. Orszag is director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget under President Obama. His previous positions include director of the Congressional Budget Office and Joseph A. Pechman Senior Fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution. He is also a research professor at Georgetown University and a codirector of the Tax Policy Center. He served as special assistant to the president for economic policy during the Clinton administration.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 294 pages
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press; revised edition edition (July 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815718373
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815718376
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #790,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Written by the chair of the board of the National Academy of Social Insurance and a former special assistant to the president for economic policy during the Clinton administration, Saving Social Security: A Balanced Approach Proposes a reform plan for America's social security system that would save it from both its financial problems and those who would do away with it. Focusing on means that promote long-term balance and sustainable solvency, while protecting the program's benefits for the disabled, low earners, widows, and young survivors. Exhaustively researched and deeply entrenched in practical issues and mathematical calculations, Saving Social Security is a highly recommended ray of hope against a looming national crisis.
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Format: Hardcover
First, the good things. This text gives a general understanding of how the 75-year projection has gone from on-balance in 1983 to off-balance in 2003, it provides many examples of possible errors in the system, and it gives good recommendations to the current system to enhance the ability of Social Security to remain in balance once it has been restored, namely things like adjusting retiree benefits for changes in expected life span over and above projected changes and including a universal legacy charge which does not eliminate the legacy cost but, rather, creates a stable legacy cost over time such that the cost of the system is being borne by all rather than only one generation (ours!). These earn the book 4 stars.

The authors state in chapter 3 their five goals for Social Security reform: "restor[e] Social Security to a sound financial footing, reduc[e] the future burden from Social Security on the rest of the Federal Budget, shar[e] the ongoing costs of the program's past generosity in a fair manner, preserv[e] and strenghten the program's social insurnace function,s and ensur[e] that, on balance, the changes enhance the overall performance of the economy." Given that the current 75-year projection by the Office of the Chief Actuary now shows a 1.9% of payroll imbalance, the authors contend that this imbalance should be corrected by not just revenue increases (higher payroll taxes, new estate taxes, or a non-renewal of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts) or benefit reductions, but both. In fact, this is the type of balance they propose - that all parties should share in the costs of the system equally.
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Format: Paperback
I may disagree with the suggested solutions, however they do a fabulous job of explaining the issues and challenges pertaining to our nation's social security program.
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