Social Security

Solving the Retirement Puzzle

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • Justin King,
  • Elliot Schreur,
  • Aleta Sprague,
  • New America Foundation
May 12, 2014
The growing recognition that millions of Americans are ill-prepared for retirement has prompted a number of state and federal policy proposals to promote retirement security. Yet even the most promising proposals fail to acknowledge a prerequisite to sustaining long-term savings: access to flexible resources that can be tapped in an emergency or can support productive investments that can pay off over the long haul.

Pay More, Get Less

  • By
  • Joshua Freedman,
  • New America Foundation
April 30, 2014
The American middle class faces an uncertain future. Staring headlong into a difficult – and changing – world economy that has yet to fully recover from the Great Recession, many middle class families are trapped between low, stagnant wages and an increasingly expensive set of social and economic supports.

New Report Sheds Light on Magnitude of the Retirement Savings Crisis

June 20, 2013
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A new report by the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) entitled “The Retirement Savings Crisis: Is It Worse Than We Think?” finds the state of retirement savings is looking pretty grim for many Americans. The researchers found that, “The average working household has virtually no retirement savings. When all households are included— not just households with retirement accounts—the median retirement account balance is $3,000 for all working-age households and $12,000 for near-retirement households.” On a webinar earlier today (slides from which you can view here), Nari Rhee and Diane Oakley of NIRS walked through the key findings and identified several salient policy implications of the report.

Two Ideas on How to Improve Retirement Security for All Americans

April 9, 2013

Editor's note: This post was originally published on Zócalo Public Square. In Washington, President Obama is expected to present his plans for changes in entitlements, including Social Security. Congress is taking up the debate. But when Social Security is discussed these days, it’s often in the context of the budget–even though the program’s purpose is to provide retirement security. So we asked: Given the country’s fiscal realities, is there a better way to enhance Americans’ retirement security? Below are two ideas.

Expanded Social Security

  • By
  • Michael Lind,
  • Joshua Freedman,
  • Steven Hill,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Robert Hiltonsmith, Demos
April 3, 2013

Executive Summary
The conventional wisdom about Social Security is profoundly misguided. According to today’s mistaken consensus, the U.S. as a society cannot afford to allocate the money to pay for the present level of Social Security benefits for retirees in future generations. The solution, it is widely argued, is to cut benefits – either directly by means-testing or indirectly by raising the retirement age or allowing inflation to erode their real value over time. In this narrative, tax-favored private savings vehicles like 401(k)s and IRAs should be expanded in order to compensate for the allegedly necessary cuts in Social Security.

Public Attitudes Toward the Next Social Contract

  • By Bruce Stokes, Pew Research Center
January 15, 2013

The recent deliberations in Washington about the fiscal cliff have triggered a national debate in the United States about the nature, extent and future sustainability of key elements of the U.S. social safety net: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, support for education, the unemployed and the poor.

Social Contract Budgeting: Prescriptions from Economics and History

  • By Peter Lindert, University of California - Davis
December 17, 2012

If there is to be any durable hope for a social contract that transcends left-right partisanship, that contract must rest upon a majority consensus about policies that are efficient, fair, and sustainable. Once the smoke has cleared from this November’s battle over the role of government, what will endure are several policy prescriptions kept alive by an objective reading of economic history and a general consensus among economists.

Kludgeocracy: The American Way of Policy

  • By Steven M. Teles, Johns Hopkins University
December 10, 2012

The last thirty years of American history have witnessed, at least rhetorically, a battle over the size of government. Yet that is not what the history books will say the next thirty years of American politics were about. With the frontiers of the state roughly fixed, the issues that will dominate American politics going forward will concern the complexity of government, rather than its sheer size.

Competing Visions of the Past: Learning from History for the Future of American Social Policy

  • By Steven Attewell, University of California-Santa Barbara
December 6, 2012

In his 2012 nomination acceptance speech in Charlotte, President Obama argued that this election represented “a choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.” It is also true to say that we faced a choice between two fundamentally different visions of the past. And despite Obama’s reelection, the debate rages on in a closely-divided electorate and in Washington. Underneath disagreements over Obamacare, Medicare advantage cuts and Medicare vouchers, and individual retirement accounts, there is an argument about which model of social policy is best for the country.

No Discount: Comparing the Public Option to the Coupon Welfare State

  • By Mike Konczal, Roosevelt Institute
December 3, 2012

The fundamental ideological conflict surrounding the Welfare State in the U.S. is no longer over the scope of government, but instead how the government carries out its responsibilities and delivers services. The conservative and neoliberal vision is one of a government that provides a comparable range of benefits as conventional liberals, but rather than designing and delivering the services directly, it provides coupons for citizens.

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