Demography and Retirement: The Twenty-First Century

By Anna M. Rappaport; Sylvester J. Schieber | Go to book overview

4
Can Our Social Insurance Systems Survive the Demographic Shifts of the Twenty-First Century?

Sylvester J. Schieber


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This paper assesses the long-term socio-economic and political viability of the Social Security and Medicare programs. The aging and retirement of the baby boom after the turn of the century promises to put new financial pressures on these crucial government programs. It is important that we understand the timing and magnitude of the pressures so that we can do what is necessary to assure that the retirement income security of future generations is on a sound fiscal and equitable social policy basis.

The paper begins by narrowing the focus of the discussion of social insurance to Social Security cash benefits and Medicare. The assessment of the system requires the utilization of generally acceptable measures of financial operations and actuarial projections which are identified. In order to evaluate the long-term viability of the system, it is important to understand how the system is financed, and to assess the magnitude of the financing requirements within the context of overall economic operations and political sensitivity to what can be sustained.

Assessing the Social Security retirement, survivor, and disability benefit programs is done within the context of continuation of existing retirement patterns.

Medicare can only be considered within the context of the U.S. health system generally, and its future needs to be considered in light of the future of the health system.

The conclusions on the long-term viability of the two elements of our social insurance system studied differ from one to the other.

It does not appear that the shift in resources required to meet the general cash benefit promises being held out through Social Security are so large that we

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Demography and Retirement: The Twenty-First Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • MEMBERS OF THE PENSION RESEARCH COUNCIL v
  • Purpose of the Council vii
  • Contents ix
  • 1: Overview 1
  • Introduction 1
  • 2: Demographic Change in the United States, 1970-2050 19
  • ENDNOTES 47
  • Stephen C. Goss 53
  • Barry Edmonston 57
  • Introduction 57
  • 3: Expected Changes in the Workforce and Implications for Labor Markets 73
  • Introduction 73
  • Joseph F. Quinn 105
  • 4: Can Our Social Insurance Systems Survive the Demographic Shifts of the Twenty-First Century? 111
  • Introduction 112
  • ENDNOTES 148
  • 5: The Impact of the Demographic Transition on Capital Formation 163
  • Introduction 163
  • ENDNOTES 180
  • Alicia H. Munnell 183
  • 6: Implications of Demographic Change for Design of Retirement Programs 189
  • 7: Trends in Health Among the American Population 225
  • Introduction 225
  • ENDNOTES 242
  • Discussions 243
  • 8: Population Aging and Retirement Policy: An International Perspective 255
  • Introduction 255
  • ENDNOTES 284
  • Robert J. Myers 293
  • Bibliography 297
  • Index 315
  • Contributors 323
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