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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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The Fellow behind the Tree

The Fellow behind the Tree

Chapter:
(p.309) 26 The Fellow behind the Tree
Source:
The Predictable Surprise
Author(s):

Sylvester J. Schieber

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199890958.003.0026

This chapter examines three distinct perspectives on the current condition of the retirement system in the United States. Some argue that the system is too hot, costing more of the nation’s public and private resources than is reasonable or that we can bear. Others claim that it is too cold, not providing the level of retirement security that other developed nations manage to provide to their seniors. The third view is that, while the system might not be “just right,” things are not as grim as the news media and surveys on retirement preparedness would have us believe. With regards to the first perspective, the implications of retirement costs for the federal budget are a major concern. Health care costs in particular represent a major threat to future federal budgets. For advocates of the second perspective, Social Security has never been more important to more Americans than it is now. The chapter also considers how lower earners have fared in employer-sponsored pension plans compared to higher earners.

Keywords:   retirement system, United States, retirement security, retirement, retirement costs, federal budget, health care costs, Social Security, employer-sponsored pension plans

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