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The Predictable SurpriseUnraveling the U.S. Retirement System$
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Sylvester J. Schieber

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199890958

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199890958.001.0001

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Retirement USA

Retirement USA

(p.3) 1 Retirement USA
The Predictable Surprise

Sylvester J. Schieber

Oxford University Press

This book focuses on the impending retirement crisis in the United States, something that has been apparent for decades but never addressed. Since the 1980s, the Social Security trustees have been predicting deficits. Many private-sector workers are heading for retirement with only 401(k) plans—what some people call “do-it-yourself” pensions. This book explains how this retirement predicament came about and what can be done from here. It provides an insightful history of Social Security, employer-sponsored pension plans, and other retirement options, paying particular attention to both their original justifications and the point when things began to go wrong. It also presents evidence on the costs and benefits of operating the U.S. retirement system at year-end 2010 and offers proposals for reform.

Keywords:   retirement, United States, Social Security, 401(k) plans, do-it-yourself pensions, employer-sponsored pension plans, retirement system

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