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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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Remembering the Future

Remembering the Future

Chapter:
(p.364) 29 Remembering the Future
Source:
The Predictable Surprise
Author(s):

Sylvester J. Schieber

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199890958.003.0029

This chapter looks at the future prospects for the U.S. retirement system. Many people today credit President Franklin D. Roosevelt for the tremendous success that Social Security has wrought in making today’s retirees more economically secure than any other age group, but others blame him for creating a welfare program—the largest in the federal portfolio—that has made much of the middle and upper classes dependent on a government income-transfer program funded by the largest single tax burden on American workers. The chapter first considers issues surrounding retirement security before asking whether the retirement benefits that were essentially defined by the 1939 amendments to the original 1935 Social Security Act make sense today. It then assesses the role of employer-sponsored pension plans in securing retirement incomes. It suggests that the shift from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans as the primary form of savings to supplement Social Security is the brightest ray of hope for the ailing retirement system.

Keywords:   retirement system, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Social Security, retirees, retirement security, retirement benefits, Social Security Act, employer-sponsored pension plans, defined benefit plans, defined contribution plans

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