1150 Seventeenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036
(Two blocks from Farragut North Metro)
Experts agree that the Social Security program needs reform. Tuesday at AEI, three of these individuals presented details of their plans to improve the nation's social welfare and insurance system. John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis outlined his proposal to allow individuals to opt out of Social Security, which would benefit participants and retirees. His reform is based on the assumption that individuals value their future benefits less than the government does, allowing for a "win win" in which the government buys out Social Security participants at less than 100 cents on the dollar. Peter Ferrara of the Heartland Institute recommended shifting to a system of personal accounts, with the guarantee that individuals would receive full promised benefits even if their account values fell short at retirement. His proposal included financing the transition costs with significant reductions in government spending. Finally, Andrew Biggs of AEI discussed the merits of a new system composed of universal flat defined benefits at a single poverty line and defined-contribution add-on accounts that is designed to be simpler, provide better protection against poverty, and be more conducive to saving and economic growth.
-- Rohan Poojara
Discussion of U.S. Social Security reform has often centered on incremental changes, such as increasing the payroll tax rate, raising the retirement age or reducing the growth of benefits for high earners. Incremental reforms would maintain the basic structure of the program, which has remained more or less unchanged since the 1930s. This event will examine more radical reforms that — while aiming to accomplish the same goals as the current Social Security program — would do so through fundamentally different structures. Andrew Biggs will discuss a reform plan he put together as part of a 2011 report for the Peter G. Peterson Foundation; Peter Ferrara will talk about the plan he assembled for Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign; and John Goodman will present his views on the potential for individuals to opt out of Social Security.
ANDREW G. BIGGS, AEI
PETER FERRARA, Heartland Institute
JOHN GOODMAN, National Center for Policy Analysis
NICK SCHULZ, AEI
For more information, please contact Rohan Poojara at email@example.com, 202.862.5852.
For media inquiries, please contact Véronique Rodman at firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.862.4871.
Andrew G. Biggs is a resident scholar at AEI. Prior to joining AEI, he was the principal deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA), where he oversaw SSA’s policy research efforts and led the agency's participation in the Social Security Trustees working group. In 2005 he worked on Social Security reform at the National Economic Council and in 2001 was on the staff of the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security. Mr. Biggs’s work at AEI focuses on Social Security reform, state and local government pensions and comparisons of public and private sector compensation. His work has appeared in academic publications as well as outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post, and he has testified before Congress on numerous occasions.
Peter Ferrara is director of Entitlement and Budget Policy at the Heartland Institute, and general counsel of the American Civil Rights Union. He served in the White House Office of Policy Development under President Reagan, and as associate deputy attorney general of the United States under President George H.W. Bush. He is a weekly columnist for Forbes and the American Spectator. He is the author of “America's Ticking Bankruptcy Bomb” (New York: HarperCollins, 2011) and numerous other books and articles.
John Goodman is president and CEO of and the Kellye Wright Fellow in health care at the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA). He is widely known as the "father of health savings accounts" and Modern Healthcare named him one of four people who have most influenced the modern health care system. Mr. Goodman frequently testifies before Congress on health care reform and retirement topics and is the author of more than 50 published studies and 10 books, including “Lives at Risk: Single Payer National Health Insurance Around the World,” “Leaving Women Behind: Modern Families, Outdated Laws” and “Patient Power: Solving America’s Health Care Crisis.” He regularly appears on television channels, debates on many of William F. Buckley’s Firing Line programs and writes for publications such as the Wall Street Journal. He also has a very popular health policy blog. Mr. Goodman was the lead expert in the NCPA’s grassroots public policy campaign Free Our Health Care Now — the initiative resulted in the largest online petition ever delivered to Capitol Hill.
Nick Schulz is the DeWitt Wallace Fellow at AEI and editor-in-chief of American.com, AEI's online magazine focusing on business, economics and public affairs. He writes the Economics 2.0 column for Forbes.com where he analyzes technology, innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth. He is the co-author with Arnold Kling of “From Poverty to Prosperity: Intangible Assets, Hidden Liabilities, and the Lasting Triumph Over Scarcity.” He has been published widely in newspapers and magazines around the country, including the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and Slate.