For six decades Americans have relied on Social Security for retirement income. Now, that venerable program is facing a profound crisis. In just a few short years, Social Security will begin to run a deficit and will be unable to provide promised benefits without an enormous tax increase on young workers. The program's rate of return has been steadily declining, which will leave future generations with the prospect of actually losing money on the system -- getting back less in benefits than they pay in taxes.
This book traces Social Security from its inception to its current crisis, showing that the program's problems are the result of a fundamental flaw in its design. Social Security taxes are not saved or invested in any way. Instead, taxes paid by today's workers are used to pay benefits to today's retirees. Workers have to hope that when they retire another generation of workers will pay the taxes to provide their benefits. Like any pyramid scheme, this system cannot be sustained in the face of changing demographics.
Ferrara and Tanner offer an alternative -- a retirement system based on saving and investment. They propose allowing individuals to divert their Social Security taxes to individually owned, privately invested accounts, similar to IRAs or 401(k) plans. Answering the hard, practical questions about privatizing Social Security, the authors show how such a plan would provide higher and more secure retirement benefits without increasing taxes or penalizing today's retirees.
As the debate over Social Security's future heats up, this book will be vital reading for anyone interested in ensuring that future generations enjoy dignified, secure retirement.