Publications on Welfare policy
Working Paper No. 1042 | February 2024For more than 25 years, the Social Security Trust Fund was projected to run out of money in 2033 (give or take a few years), potentially causing benefits to be severely reduced in the absence of corrective legislative action. Today (February 2024), projections are made by the Social Security Administration that indicate that future benefits will need to be reduced by roughly 25 percent or taxes will need to be increased by about 33 percent, or some combination to avoid benefit curtailment. While Congress will most probably prevent benefits from being reduced for retirees and those nearing retirement, the longer Congress and the president take to address the shortfall, the more politically unpalatable (and possibly draconian) the solutions will be for all others.
Dozens of proposals are being evaluated to address the long-term problem by mainstream benefits experts, economists, think tanks, politicians, and government agencies but, with rare exceptions from a few economists, none address the short-term problem of Trust Fund depletion, provide a workable roadmap for the long-term challenges, or consider fundamental financing differences between the federal government and the private sector.
This paper aims to address these issues by suggesting legislative changes that will protect the Social Security system indefinitely, help ensure the adequacy of benefits for retirees and their survivors and dependents, and remove confusing and misleading legislative and administrative complexity. In making recommendations, this paper will demonstrate that the Social Security Trust Funds, while legally distinct, are essentially an artificial accounting contrivance within the US Treasury that have become a tool to force program changes that, for ideological reasons, will likely shift an increasing financial burden onto those who can least bear it. Finally, while the focus of this paper is on the Social Security system, it would be incomplete without also addressing, albeit in a limited way, the larger political issue of the nation’s debt and deficit along with the implications for inflation.Download:Associated Programs:Author(s):Edward Lane
Policy Note 2020/3 | April 2020Research Scholar Martha Tepepa explains how the US response to the COVID-19 crisis will be hindered by its approach to immigration policy. The administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration campaign creates a public health risk in the context of this pandemic, and the recent implementation of the “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds” final rule penalizing noncitizen recipients of some social services will further restrict access to treatment and encumber the fight against the coronavirus.Download:Associated Programs:Gender Equality and the Economy Immigration, Ethnicity, and Social Structure Economic Policy for the 21st CenturyAuthor(s):
Working Paper No. 950 | April 2020The United States government recently passed legislation and stabilization packages to respond to the COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) outbreak by providing paid sick leave, tax credits, and free virus testing; expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits; and increasing Medicaid funding. However, the response to the global pandemic might be hindered by the lassitude of the state and the administration’s conception of social policy that leaves the most vulnerable unprotected. The administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration campaign poses public health challenges, especially in the prevention of communicable diseases. In addition to the systemic obstacles noncitizens face in their access to healthcare, recent changes to immigration law that penalize recipients of some social services on grounds that they are a public charge will further restrict their access to treatment and hinder the fight against the pandemic.Download:Associated Programs:Gender Equality and the Economy Immigration, Ethnicity, and Social Structure Economic Policy for the 21st CenturyAuthor(s):
Working Paper No. 815 | September 2014
This paper contributes to the literature on inequality and welfare policy by studying public support for redistributive policies in Israel, a society with an extreme level of socioeconomic inequality. Drawing on the relevant literature and taking into consideration the distinct demographic makeup of contemporary Israeli society, the study aims to describe public support for opportunity-enhancing and outcome-based redistributive policies and to explore the extent to which individual economic and demographic characteristics are associated with policy preferences. Analysis of data from a unique topical module of the 2008 Israel Social Survey reveals that support for opportunity-based programs is strong overall, but that the Israeli public is deeply divided along ethnic lines, religious affiliation, and immigration status. While results from multinomial regression analyses provide support for the self-interest theory, the findings also underscore the significance of various demographic and social indicators as determinants of policy preferences. These findings are discussed in light of the current debates on the sources of, and possible remedies for, the growing social and economic polarization within Israeli society.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):