urban institute nonprofit social and economic policy research

The $5 Trillion Question: What Do the Budget Commissions' Social Security Proposals Mean for Retirees and Taxpayers?

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Friday, January 21, 2011
8:30-10:00 a.m.

G-50 Dirksen Senate Office Building,
Constitution Avenue and First Street, NE
Washington, D.C.

Listen to the event

Audio Recording


  • Melissa Favreault, senior fellow, Urban Institute; co-editor, Social Security and the Family
  • Maya MacGuineas, president, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget; member, Bipartisan Policy Center's Debt Reduction Task Force
  • Rudolph Penner, Institute fellow, Urban Institute; former director, Congressional Budget Office; co-chair, Committee on the Fiscal Future of the United States, National Academy of Public Administration and National Research Council
  • John Rother, executive vice president of policy and strategy, AARP


  • Eugene Steuerle, Institute Fellow, Urban Institute; co-author, Retooling Social Security for the 21st Century (moderator)

Social Security faces a $5.4 trillion shortfall over the next 75 years. Three prominent study groups—the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, Bipartisan Policy Center's Debt Reduction Task Force, and Committee on the Fiscal Future of the United States—have weighed in on how to secure Social Security, as have numerous legislators and advocacy groups.

Panelists will discuss how the commissions' major Social Security proposals might affect different kinds of taxpayers and beneficiaries. They will explain what Social Security's long-run fiscal shortfall means for the larger federal budget challenges, and will address the political prospects for changing Social Security in coming years.

This forum is made possible by a generous grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.

Please visit www.RetirementPolicy.org to learn about our ongoing research on the distributional effects of Social Security proposals and other income security issues affecting older Americans.

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