Academic journal article Social Security Bulletin

Social Security in Review

Academic journal article Social Security Bulletin

Social Security in Review

Article excerpt


Stressing the importance of ensuring the long-term solvency and viability of this Nation's Social Security program, HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala announced the appointment of the 1994 Advisory Council on Social Security on June 9th.

"Each and every American citizen has a stake in the continued good health of this country's Social Security program," Secretary Shalala said. "This Council, composed of leading exerts in public and private pension systems in the United States, will examine some of the most challenging issues that go to the core of providing adequate and equitable income for the elderly in retirement."

By law, the Advisory Council, comprised of 12 members in addition to the Chairman, is appointed every 4 years to examine issues affecting the Social Security Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program, as well as the Medicare and Medicaid programs, which were created under the Social Security Act.

Unlike Advisory Councils of the 1980's (which focused primarily on disability, Medicare, and health-care issues), the 1994 Council will focus on the Social Security OASDI program. Specifically, the Secretary has asked the Council to examine the following areas:

* Social Security financing, including developing recommendations for improving the long-range financial status of the OASDI program;

* The adequacy and equity of Social Security benefits paid to persons at various income levels, in various family situations, and various age cohorts, taking into account such factors as the increased labor participation of women, lower marriage rates, increased likelihood of divorce, and higher poverty rates of aged women; and

* The relative roles of the public and private sector in providing retirement income and how policies in both sectors affect the retirement decision and economic well-being of individuals.


Chairman, Edward Gramlich, age 54, of Michigan--Director of the Institute of Public Policy Studies and Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Michigan; Professor Gramlich, also has served as Chairman of Michigan's Economics Department and as Acting Director and Deputy Director of the Congressional Budget Office.

Robert Ball, age 80, of Virginia--former Commissioner of Social Security (1962-73); member of the 1991 Advisory Council on Social Security and the National Commission on Social Security Reform (the Greenspan commission); Chair of the Board, National Academy of Social Insurance.

Joan Bok, age 64, of Massachusetts--Chairman of the New England Electric System; member, boards of directors of Avery Dennison Corporation, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, and the Monsanto Company.

Ann Combs, age 37, of Washington, DC--Principal, William M. Mercer, Inc.; former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, Labor Department (1986-93); staff member, National Commission on Social Security Reform (the Greenspan commission). …

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