Dean Baker on the Urgency of ‘Nothing’ for Social Security

by Bruce Webb

A year and a half ago I put up a post here called The Fierce Urgency of ‘Nothing’ whose conclusion was:

“Nothing”. The numerically proven plan for Social Security since 1997.

So you can imagine my gratification at running across the following by the co-author of the must read book from 1999 Social Security: the Phony Crisis, economist and co-director of CEPR (Center for Economic and Policy Research) Dean Baker.

Action on Social Security: the Urgent Need for Delay

There is enormous public confusion (much of it deliberately cultivated) about the extent of Social Security’s projected shortfall. Many policymakers and analysts point out that projections from the Congressional Budget Office and the Social Security Trustees show the program to be out of balance in the long-term, therefore we would be best advised to make changes as soon as possible. This paper argues that supporters of the existing Social Security system should try to ensure that no major changes to the core program are implemented in the immediate future. It points out that:
There is good reason for believing that the public will be better informed about the financial state of Social Security in the future, in part because of the weakening of some of the main sources of misinformation;
Many more people will be directly dependent on Social Security in the near future. These people and their families will likely be strong defenders of the program;
The group of near-retirees, who may be the victims of early action, will desperately need their Social Security since they have seen much of their wealth eliminated with the collapse of the housing bubble; and
The concern over “maintaining the confidence of financial markets” is an empty claim that can be used to justify almost any policy.

The full paper in PDF can be found at this link The Urgent Need for Delay. And if I say so myself goes a long way towards explaining the justification of my previous post from Sept. Why ‘Nothing” is STILL the 2nd Best Plan for Social Security. I am doing what I can here at AB to make sure that “the public will be better informed about the financial state of Social Security in the future”, but you could do worse than taking the word from the Leader of the Pack. Because Dean has been on this beat even longer than I have, and is a real economist to boot. Go Read!!