The case for expanding Social Security, not cutting it

Via the Washington Post Wonkblog:

Nowadays, whenever Social Security comes up in policy debates around Washington, the discussion often focuses on how best to cut benefits in order to shore up the program’s finances.

But a big new report (pdf) from the New America Foundation suggests that the conventional wisdom is exactly backward. Congress should be looking at ways to expand Social Security, not shrink it — particularly at a time when traditional corporate pensions are disappearing, and 401(k)s have proved fairly risky.

The major proposal in the report is to add a brand new benefit to Social Security, called Part B, which would provide a flat $11,699 per year to all retired workers. This would come on top of regular Social Security, which would also be protected from any further cuts.

The net effect is that the new Social Security program would replace a far bigger chunk of a worker’s lifetime earnings than the current program does. Kevin Drum offers up this chart:

social-security-part-b

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