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No, It Really Is Not Time to Expand Social Security

A proposal to expand Social Security ignores the importance of private savings.

On the political left, a growing number of academics and policymakers have argued that the conventional wisdom about Social Security is wrong: Instead of looking for ways to trim benefits to restore solvency to the program, they argue, we should seek ways to expand it. A recently released book that is attracting a lot of attention, Social Security Works!: Why Social Security Isn't Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help Us All, takes exactly this position. Although many readers will find the authors' goals laudable, their proposed policy changes simply will not happen--and even if enacted, represent only a partial solution to the problem of inadequate retirement security.

To be fair, leaving aside their policy prescriptions, the primary authors of the book, Nancy Altman and Eric Kingson, make a few factual arguments that would be difficult for anyone to dispute.