U. S. Social Security: A Reference Handbook

U. S. Social Security: A Reference Handbook

U. S. Social Security: A Reference Handbook

U. S. Social Security: A Reference Handbook

Excerpt

Social Security is one of the great successes, and one of the great problems, of U.S. public policy. On the one hand, a program created more than 70 years ago continues to provide for the retirement needs of more than 40 million Americans with barely a hitch in its operations. Public opinion polls confirm that Social Security is among the most popular of the services provided by the U.S. government; it is an entitlement that most citizens expect and rely upon. On the other hand, there is a growing recognition that, within the foreseeable future, today’s Social Security program will not be able to honor the promises it is making to tomorrow’s retirees. Unless changes are made, it is very likely that, by the middle of the 21st century, Social Security will fall many billions of dollars short of the money it will need to pay the monthly benefits that American retirees have been promised.

This book addresses both Social Security’s great success and its great problem. It is an effort to provide an overview of the U.S. Social Security system and, more specifically, how that system was developed, why it is likely to encounter difficulty, and what has been proposed to fix it. The experience of other countries is also examined to see what lessons, if any, they may offer the United States in this regard. The book offers a chronology of pensions and social security programs at home and abroad and sketches of the leading officials and personalities who have been instrumental in its development. Further, it provides an annotated guide to the many individuals and organizations, in and out of government, that are active in the U.S. Social Security debate. The objective is to provide readers with all of the information needed to understand, follow, and assess the current controversies that swirl about the U.S. Social Security program.

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