Cover image for Social security works! : why social security isn't going broke and how expanding it will help us all
Social security works! : why social security isn't going broke and how expanding it will help us all
Altman, Nancy J., 1950- , author.
Publication Information:
New York : The New Press, 2015.
Physical Description:
xix, 299 pages ; 21 cm
"A growing chorus of prominent voices in Congress and elsewhere are calling for the expansion of our Social Security system-people who know that Social Security will not "go broke" and does not add a penny to the national debt. Social Security Works! will amplify these voices and offer a powerful antidote to the three-decade-long, billionaire-funded campaign to make us believe that this vital institution is destined to collapse. It isn't. From the Silent Generation to Baby Boomers, from Generation X to Millennials and Generation Z, we all have a stake in understanding the real story about Social Security. Critical to addressing the looming retirement crisis that will affect two- thirds of today's workers, Social Security is a powerful program that can help stop the collapse of the middle class, lessen the pressure squeezing families from all directions, and help end the upward redistribution of wealth that has resulted in perilous levels of inequality. All Americans deserve to have dignified retirement years as well as an umbrella to protect them and their families in the event of disability or premature death. Sure to be a game-changer, Social Security Works! cogently presents the issues and sets forth both an agenda and a political strategy that will benefit us all. At stake are our values and the kind of country we want for ourselves and for those that follow. "--
The changing conversation -- Social security works for all generations -- The precarious lives of today's old -- The coming retirement income crisis -- The debt owed to those who care -- The new Gilded Age -- Expand social security for all generations -- Paying the bill -- The billionaires' war against social security -- The conventional "wisdom" is just plain wrong -- There they go again : why supporters of social security must remain vigilant -- Passing social security forward : a legacy for all generations.
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Central Library HD7125 .A447 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
Audubon Library HD7125 .A447 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Julia Boyer Reinstein Library HD7125 .A447 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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A growing chorus of prominent voices in Congress and elsewhere are calling for the expansion of our Social Security system. Social Security Works! amplifies these voices and offers a powerful antidote to the three-decade long, billionaire- funded campaign to make us believe that this vital institution is destined to collapse. It isn't. From the Silent Generation to Baby Boomers, from Generation X to Millennials and Generation Z, everyone now has a stake in understanding the real story about Social Security. Destined to be a game-changer, setting a strategy to benefit all.

Author Notes

Nancy Altman and Eric Kingson founded Social Security Works and co-chair the Strengthen Social Security Coaltion. Altman is a lawyer and the author of The Battle for Social Security . She resides in Bethesda, Maryland. Kingson is a professor at Syracuse University's School of Social Work in Manlius, New York.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

For a balanced yet passionate defense of our Social Security system, author-lawyer Altman (The Battle for Social Security, 2005) and professor Kingson team up, this time in print, to convince audiences from California to Maine that Social Security is, indeed, a valued and valuable program. Since its creation in 1935 under the leadership of FDR, the program itself has been buffeted about by many detractors, none of whom would admit that the act does more to rectify income inequality and prevent poverty among older Americans than any other program. Altman and Kingson present the facts in ways that nonactuaries can thoroughly understand: how it works for all generations, destroying the myths (yes, Virginia, Social Security is fully affordable), and revealing its opponents. Each chart, all well communicated, is further supported by a personal story: for instance, Neil Friedman, who invested $4 million in Bernard Madoff's funds and now lives entirely on Social Security, supplemented by a few flea-market sales. Obviously, the authors have a mission, which is, to their credit, transparent: to expand Social Security for all generations, with book, chapter, and verse on how to do so. Appended is additional information about how Social Security works and about the Social Security Works All Generations Plan; descriptions of various Social Security expansion legislative bills; and a list of leading organizations working to expand Social Security.--Jacobs, Barbara Copyright 2015 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

If passion alone was enough to resolve public policy debates, this dense and detailed examination of the Social Security issue could single-handedly give the United States a vastly expanded social-welfare system. Altman and Kingson, a lawyer and academic, respectively, who served on the landmark 1982 National Commission on Social Security Reform, explain, with wonkish fervor, how benefits can be expanded without increasing the program's cost. "We are wealthy enough to afford a much more robust, expanded Social Security System," they proclaim, pointing out how such an expansion would help the elderly, the working poor, and the millions caring for ailing family members. The authors blame a "three-decade-long billionaire-funded campaign" against Social Security for bastardizing terms such as entitlements, whipping up unwarranted fears about the federal deficit, and obscuring the fact that the program's fundamental nature is to be "earned compensation." As with many public policy pieces written by insiders, the level of detail is hard to follow, though the intentions are clearly stated and far from unreasonable. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.



Chapter One: The Changing Conversation "This is no time, this is the last time to be talking about cutting Social Security. This is the moment when we talk about expanding Social Security." --Senator Elizabeth Warren, The Rachel Maddow Show , November 20, 2013 Whether you are a member of the Silent Generation or a Baby Boomer, whether a Gen Xer or a Millennial, this book is for you. It makes the case for why and how we can and must expand our Social Security system. And why doing so is excellent policy, excellent politics, and, most importantly, excellent for all Americans--young and old, women and men, people of all races and ethnicities. For the many readers who have heard for decades that Social Security is going bankrupt and won't be there in the future, the idea that it's not--and that there's a movement to expand it--may come as a shock. If you are one of those readers, it is essential to your own and your family's well-being that you free yourself from what you think you know about Social Security. Armed with misinformation and half-truths, a three-decade long, well-financed campaign has sought to dismantle Social Security, brick by brick. This campaign has been remarkably successful in undermining confidence in Social Security. In fact, the younger you are, the less confident you are likely to be that Social Security will exist when you need it. The campaign has also been successful in convincing prominent politicians of both political parties that Social Security must be radically changed, or at least scaled back. The mainstream media has aided and abetted the campaign by uncritically accepting and advancing a panoply of misconceptions, while largely ignoring the facts. While the campaign against Social Security has been successful in those ways, its hundreds of millions of dollars have failed to enact anti-Social Security legislation. Standing in the way, resolute, are the American people. Politicians and the media decry how polarized our nation's politics are. Electoral maps, depicting red states and blue states, provide a pictorial representation of that polarization. Hot-button topics like abortion, same-sex marriage, and immigration reform divide the electorate. But there is one issue about which Americans are overwhelmingly united: they support Social Security. Poll after poll reveals this. The findings of a recent online survey of two thousand adults, ages 21 and over, conducted by Matthew Greenwald and Associates in collaboration with the non-partisan National Academy of Social Insurance, is a good example. A large majority of Americans believe that Social Security is more important than ever, do not mind contributing to Social Security because it provides security and stability, and believe that consideration should be given to expanding benefits. Numerous polls show that Americans of all political affiliations--Republicans, Independents, Democrats, self-proclaimed Tea Partiers, union households, and progressives--support our Social Security system by large majorities. Conservatives may disagree with progressives about most political issues, but not about the importance of Social Security. Those from the Northeast may differ with those from the Deep South about many issues, but both groups support Social Security. Virtually all demographic groups support Social Security. Men and women support Social Security. So do African-Americans, Hispanics, European-Americans, and other racial and ethnic groups. Every age group does, as well. Even younger Americans, who have bought the lie that Social Security won't be there for them, nevertheless support the program for their parents and grandparents, and don't want to see it cut. And the support is not just widespread; it also runs very deep. Feelings for Social Security are so strongly held that one well-respected pollster, Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners, says this support is not just an indication of preference, but of values. This view of the overwhelming majority of the American people should come as no surprise. The America we know today would not be possible without Social Security. This institution undergirds the economic security of virtually every American. And it gives expression to the American people's best instincts--caring for our parents, children, and neighbors; working hard and contributing; engaging in self-help and mutual aid; respecting the dignity of each person; managing resources conservatively and prudently; and understanding that together we stand stronger. Old-fashioned ideas, perhaps, but still valuable, and fundamental to advancing strong families, communities, and our nation. The current campaign to undermine Social Security is not a new battle. Although the moneyed interests and conservative ideologues have hated Social Security and battled against it since before it was enacted, the will of the people has always ultimately prevailed. The intensity of the battle and fields of engagement may ebb and flow, but the battle lines are always drawn. The current campaign against Social Security is simply the latest skirmish in that ongoing war. It's a war we, the people, can and must win. Excerpted from Social Security Works!: Why Social Security Isn't Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help Us All by Nancy Altman, Eric Kingson All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Forewordp. xiii
Part 1 The Facts
1 The Changing Conversationp. 3
2 Social Security Works for All Generationsp. 21
Part 2 The Challenges
3 The Precarious Lives of Today's Oldp. 39
4 The Coming Retirement Income Crisisp. 55
5 The Debt Owed to Those Who Carep. 73
6 The New Gilded Agep. 88
Part 3 The Solution
7 Expand Social Security for All Generationsp. 107
8 Paying the Billp. 123
Part 4 The Threats
9 The Billionaires' War Against Social Securityp. 143
10 The Conventional "Wisdom" Is Just Plain Wrongp. 159
Part 5 Next Steps
11 There They Go Again: Why Supporters of Social Security Must Remain Vigilantp. 185
12 Passing Social Security Forward: A Legacy for All Generationsp. 200
Appendix A Additional Explanation About How Social Security Worksp. 209
Appendix B Additional Information About the Social Security Works All Generations Plan and Other Proposals, Including Cost and Revenue Estimatesp. 216
Appendix C Descriptions of Various Social Security Expansion Legislative Bills and Organizations' Plansp. 228
Appendix D Leading Organizations Working to Expand Social Securityp. 236
Notesp. 239
Indexp. 289

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