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Millions of retirees depend on Social Security benefits as a major income source. For many people, it’s their primary income stream.
According to data from the Social Security Administration, and analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, nearly two-thirds of elderly benefits recipients count on Social Security as their major cash income source.
But some news headlines in recent years have stirred public concerns about the program’s future. Dour, and even alarmist, news coverage of reports by the program trustees led many onlookers to wonder about the program’s solvency.
To help cut through lingering confusion, two economists participated in a public debate, hosted by the Soho Forum. Set up as an Oxford-style debate, the discussion tackled this resolution: “Given Social Security’s nearly $3 trillion trust fund, the system cannot add to the federal deficit.”
Arguing for the affirmative was Teresa Ghilarducci, a widely respected economist on retirement planning as well as retirement public policy. She is part of the board of directors at the Economic Policy Institute, and holds the Bernard L. and Irene Schwartz Chair in Economic Policy Analysis at the New School in New York. Ghilarducci has also authored a few books on retirement planning and retirement issues.
Taking the negative was Gene Epstein, director of the Soho Forum in NYC. Epstein’s background includes working as a senior economist at the New York Stock Exchange and as the former Economics and Books Editor for Barron’s.
Reason editor Nick Gillespie served as moderator. We hope that you find this lively conversation helpful.