Social Security is the largest government program in the world. But it is also a deeply troubled one, on the verge of financial collapse. Within 15 years Social Security will begin running a deficit. Overall, the program is more than $26 trillion in debt. Without fundamental reform it will not be able to pay the benefits it has promised to our children and grandchildren.
That has prompted the most far-reaching discussion of the purpose and structure of Social Security since the program was enacted in 1935. Not so very long ago, Social Security was rightly regarded as the “third rail” of American politics—touch it and your career dies. But no longer. Polls today show that the vast majority of Americans support proposals that would allow younger workers to privately invest at least part of their Social Security taxes through individual accounts.
For more than 25 years the Cato Institute has led the debate for Social Security reform, arguing that the program is fundamentally flawed and calling for greater freedom and choice for working Americans. Social Security and Its Discontents represents the best of Cato’s publications on the issue. It includes essays by the nation’s top economists and Social Security experts, discussing Social Security’s finances; the urgent need for reform; how the program treats women, minorities, and low-income workers; and the options for reform.
Edited by Michael D. Tanner, this collection shows conclusively that by allowing younger workers to privately invest their Social Security taxes through individual accounts, we can
• help restore Social Security to long-term solvency, without massive tax increases;
• provide workers with higher benefits than Social Security would otherwise be able to pay;
• create a system that treats women, minorities, and young people more fairly;
• allow low-income workers to accumulate real, inheritable wealth for the first time in their lives; and
• give workers ownership and control of their retirement funds.
With Social Security promising to be a hot-button issue for the coming election campaign and in the years ahead, this book is essential reading for anyone who cares about what kind of country we will leave to our children and grandchildren.