Comparing Proposals for Social Security Reform

Policy Reports | Social Security

No. 227
Wednesday, September 01, 1999
by Liqun Liu and Andrew J. Rettenmaier


"The current Social Security system is on an unsustainable path."

As is clear from the above quotations, politicians across the ideological spectrum agree that Social Security needs to be reformed now. Yet they disagree about how it should be done. The 1994-96 Advisory Council on Social Security was formed to review annual forecasts made by the Social Security and Medicare trustees concerning the long-term actuarial soundness of the Social Security system and to make policy recommendations. While the council members agreed that Social Security must be reformed, in large part because of the changing demographics in the United States, they could not reach consensus. Instead, they issued a final report that included three different options.1 Since then, there have been a number of reform proposals - including plans put forth by President Clinton and members of Congress.

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