Registration is closed for this event
A free educational forum on Social Security and federal budget policy for University of Michigan faculty and students, as well as Detroit-area community leaders.


November 7, 2018, 2:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
University of Michigan, Michigan League Building, Vandenberg Room
911 N. University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

How do we assure that America’s most popular and important domestic program
achieves long-term financial balance?

What’s at stake? For most of the 20th century, Americans have been able to rely on multiple sources of retirement income – including Social Security, personal savings, pensions and employer-sponsored savings plans – to enjoy some measure of financial security during their later years. The significant reduction in poverty among older Americans through the Social Security program is one our nation’s most significant accomplishments.  

The challenge we face: For a number of years, we have known that the protection provided by Social Security may not be 100% sustainable without some changes. The 2018 Report of the Social Security Trustees projects that the program’s revenues will be sufficient to pay all scheduled benefits until 2034, but 75% of scheduled benefits thereafter. If the Trustees’ projections hold, this means that workers retiring 16 years from now could receive only three-quarters of the benefits promised. Moreover, some polls have shown that many working Americans, especially Millennials, believe they will receive no Social Security benefits whatsoever. Clearly, Congress will need to act to bring the program’s finances into long-term balance and to restore public confidence, especially among current and future generations of workers. What might elected officials do to fix this major challenge facing our nation?

What are among the options? Henry Aaron, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, has developed a proposal for how to deal with Social Security’s long-term finances and how Congress might modify the program to better reflect economic, demographic, and behavioral changes, since Congress last enacted major Social Security legislation in 1983. Aaron is one of the nation’s preeminent experts on Social Security, Medicare, and budget policy.

Former Deputy Commissioner (Acting) and Chief Economist at the Social Security Administration, Jason Fichtner, will serve as the keynote presenter and describe Henry Aaron’s proposed program. Following Fichtner’s presentation, several other policy experts will discuss the implications of proposed changes to Social Security. The discussion will be moderated by Luke Shaefer, Director of Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan.

Additional event speakers include:
William Arnone, CEO, National Academy of Social Insurance
Janet Barr, Actuary, American Academy of Actuaries
Rachel Greszler, Research Fellow in Economics, Budget and Entitlements, The Heritage Foundation
John Laitner, Director, Life-Cycle Economics, University of Michigan
Christopher O'Leary, Senior Economist, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

Nirupama Rao, Assistant Professor, Business Economics and Public Policy, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

This free, educational forum is for concerned members of the academic community at the University of Michigan, as well as the Detroit-area community. Don't miss this unique opportunity to get an inside look at what Congress may do, and what this might mean for workers and beneficiaries, today and tomorrow.


Michigan Host Committee:

Thomas Buchmueller, Waldo O. Hildebrand Professor of Risk Management and Insurance, and

Professor and Chair of Business Economics and Public Policy, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

John Laitner, Director Life-Cycle Economics, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan

Helen Levy, Research Professor, University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy

Luke Shaefer, Director, University of Michigan Poverty Solutions; Associate Professor of Social Work, School of Social Work; Associate Professor of Public Policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy

Erica Solway, Senior Project Manager, Health Michigan Plan evaluation, and Associate Director, National Poll on Healthy Aging, Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation, University of Michigan


About the National Academy of Social Insurance

Since the Academy was founded in 1986, it has hosted convenings designed to provide rigorous inquiry and insights into the functioning of our nation’s social insurance programs and how they can continue to meet the changing needs of American families, employees, and employers. Participants in Academy events gain valuable takeaways, including leading policy options, the latest research findings in various areas of social insurance, who’s who in the field, and which organizations are most engaged in these issues.


About Jason Fichtner

Jason J. Fichtner is a Senior Lecturer and an Associate Director of the Master of International Economics and Finance (MIEF) program at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He has served as an adjunct professor at the Georgetown McCourt School of Public Policy and has taught courses in economics, public finance, public policy process, public management, and public budgeting processes.

Fichtner is a former Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. His research focuses on Social Security, federal tax policy, federal budget policy, retirement security, and policy proposals to increase saving and investment.

Previously, he served in several positions at the Social Security Administration, including as Deputy Commissioner of Social Security (acting), Chief Economist, and Associate Commissioner for Retirement Policy. He also served as senior economist with the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress.

His work has been featured in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Investor’s Business Daily, Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, and USA Today, as well as on broadcasts by PBS, NBC, and NPR.

Fichtner earned his BA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; his MPP from Georgetown University; and his PhD in public administration and policy from Virginia Tech.

Fichtner is the author of The Hidden Cost of Federal Tax Policy and the editor of The Economics of Medicaid.


About Henry Aaron

Henry Aaron is the Bruce and Virginia MacLaury Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, where he directed the Economic Studies from 1990 through 1996. He is a member and former chair of the Social Security Advisory Board and Vice Chair of the District of Columbia Health Benefit Exchange Authority. He is a member of the board of directors of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities and the advisory board of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and a former member of the boards of directors of the College Retirement Equities Fund, Abt Associates, and Georgetown University. He is a former Guggenheim Fellow and member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2007, he received the Robert M. Ball Award for Outstanding Achievements in Social Insurance from the National Academy of Social Insurance. He is the author, co-author, or editor of numerous publications on a variety of subjects including: Social Security, health policy, tax policy, housing policy, social welfare, and welfare reform. Henry Aaron is a Founding Board Member of the Academy and a former Chair of the Academy’s Board.


For inquiries or to learn about sponsorship opportunities, please contact:

Kristine Quinio
Director of Development

November 7th, 2018 from  2:00 PM to  5:30 PM
University of Michigan, Michigan League Building, Vandenberg Room
911 N. University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
United States
Topics Social Security
Contact Name Kristine Quinio
Contact Email