Entitlements, From Scratch

Andrew Biggs, a long-time conservative critic of Social Security, continues to advocate for reform:

[P]olicy makers need to think beyond merely filling Social Security’s multi-trillion-dollar shortfalls, and particularly beyond doing so merely by sticking the bill to high earners. Rather, they should consider reform as if they were designing a system from scratch: if so, how would they decide to spread the burdens and benefits of a national pension program over citizens of various earnings levels? If too progressive, the program begins to resemble “welfare,” with the associated stigma and resentment that implies. If not progressive enough, the program may fail to accomplish its social insurance goals. In either case, though, policy makers need to consider facts and data, not simply overstated claims that high earners are not paying their fair share.