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Evaluating Issues in Privatizing Social Security

By: Report of the Panel on Privatization of Social Security
Published: November 1998
Evaluating Issues in Privatizing Social Security is the final report of the National Academy of Social Insurance's Panel on Privatization of Social Security. The panel's charge was to address the major technical issues raised by two generic types of Social Security reform proposals involving elements of privatization as part of restoring long term fiscal balance to the program. One type of reform would retain the current defined-benefit structure of Social Security, but build and maintain a larger trust fund partially invested in private securities. The other would represent a marked departure from the current structure of Social Security by establishing individual defined-contribution accounts with investment choices that include private securities. (The panel was not asked to consider more traditional approaches to restoring fiscal balance to the program, since the analytic issues involved therein are already reasonably well understood.)

Reform of Social Security has risen to the top of the national agenda since the Academy initiated this project in mid-1996, with concerns about privatization playing a major role in the debate. Thus, the findings of this panel are particularly timely and salient.

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