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By Michael D. Tanner

One of the matters mentioned are the issues of the present process; proposals for the reform; and the effect of reform at the bad, ladies, and minorities.

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Extra resources for Social Security and Its Discontents: Perspectives on Choice

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4 It is a misleading label, however, and gives workers the false sense of contributing to an account held for them in a fund, when in fact there is only a record of how much the government has borrowed from future recipients. The trust fund may help back up a promise that funds will be raised to pay benefits in the future when deficits occur. But depending on conditions of the day, keeping that promise may not be possible. The Financial Outlook for the Current System During the 1990s the Social Security accounts developed a sizable surplus partly due to a slowdown in the growth of new beneficiaries 40 The Trust Fund, the Surplus, and the Real Social Security Problem as the low-birth cohorts of the late 1920s and 1930s reached retirement age.

11 That probability is not necessarily a bad thing because other uses for the surplus—funding the transition costs of individual Social Security accounts, for instance, or a well-designed tax reform—may be regarded as more beneficial than retiring the debt. 12 Proponents claim that investing the surplus in private assets is particularly attractive because if history is a guide, such investments would yield a high return. However, when a federal entity invests in private companies, numerous problems can easily arise.

03 percent. 6 percent average annual rate of growth of real wages and salaries since 1960 should approximate the yield of a PAYGO program. That is confirmed by my calculations. These results highlight three important trends. First, consistent with the economic analysis of PAYGO plans, workers who contributed to the program near its inception have received higher average annual returns than workers who got started later in the program. And rates of return will probably decline further for future retirees.

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