Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Economists' VoiceTop Economists Take On Today's Problems$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Joseph Stiglitz, Aaron Edlin, and J. Bradford DeLong

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231143653

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231143653.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 23 June 2021

Could Social Security Go Broke?

Could Social Security Go Broke?

Chapter:
(p.136) Chapter 16 Could Social Security Go Broke?
Source:
The Economists' Voice
Author(s):

Barbara R. Bergmann

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231143653.003.0016

This chapter attacks the notion that Social Security could go broke, a claim often used to make the case for privatization. It argues that the Social Security system cannot go bankrupt. Businesses or individuals can go bankrupt when they are legally obligated to make payments, do not have enough money coming in to cover those payments, and have no way to increase their inflow of money. A U.S. government program like Social Security will never be in such a situation. Social Security gets the money it needs to make benefit payments from taxes. If Social Security taxes and benefits get out of balance, either or both can be adjusted by our democratic processes. America will certainly have the capacity to pay the higher taxes projected to be needed in the rather distant future to finance current-formula Social Security benefits. President George W. Bush's economists project that by 2080 the payroll tax will have to rise, raising the total tax burden on the American public by 4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to about 31 percent. That is a significant rise, but it is far from impossible as a matter of economics or politics.

Keywords:   Social Security system, public pension system, taxes, democratic process

Columbia Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .