Social Security: Keeping the Promise for the 21st Century

Chairman Kohl, Ranking Member Martinez, and members of the Committee. Social Security is the largest spending program of the federalgovernment, the largest tax paid by most workers and the largest sourceof income for most retirees. It also faces a significant long-termfunding challenge. For these reasons, I am glad you chose to hold this hearing and am thankful for the opportunity to testify here today.

In my testimony I wish to highlight three points.

  • First, Social Security's long-term shortfalls worsened significantly in the latest Trustees Report, and is expected to continue to worsen if reform is delayed.

  • Second, population aging, not rising per capita health care costs, is the principal driver of overall entitlement costs and the largest threat to the budget; and

  • Third, Social Security policy should encourage longer work lives and simplify the program's complex benefit formula.

Click here to download this testimony as an Adobe Acrobat PDF.

Andrew G. Biggs is a resident scholar at AEI.

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About the Author

 

Andrew G.
Biggs
  • Andrew G. Biggs is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies Social Security reform, state and local government pensions, and public sector pay and benefits.

    Before joining AEI, Biggs was the principal deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA), where he oversaw SSA’s policy research efforts. In 2005, as an associate director of the White House National Economic Council, he worked on Social Security reform. In 2001, he joined the staff of the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security. Biggs has been interviewed on radio and television as an expert on retirement issues and on public vs. private sector compensation. He has published widely in academic publications as well as in daily newspapers such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. He has also testified before Congress on numerous occasions. In 2013, the Society of Actuaries appointed Biggs co-vice chair of a blue ribbon panel tasked with analyzing the causes of underfunding in public pension plans and how governments can securely fund plans in the future.

    Biggs holds a bachelor’s degree from Queen's University Belfast in Northern Ireland, master’s degrees from Cambridge University and the University of London, and a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics.

  • Phone: 202-862-5841
    Email: andrew.biggs@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Kelly Funderburk
    Phone: 202-862-5920
    Email: kelly.funderburk@aei.org

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