The Distributional Implications of Reductions in Social Security COLAs

Brief

The Distributional Implications of Reductions in Social Security COLAs

June 1, 1999

Abstract

The general aging of the population and the impending retirement of the large post-World War II birth cohorts are straining the Social Security system. Social Security actuaries estimate that Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) benefits paid by Social Security will consume 6.8 percent of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2030, compared with only 3.2 percent in 1970. To reduce the future burden of retirement benefits and to help ensure that Social Security is available to future generations, a number of reforms have been proposed, including the creation of publicly funded individual accounts, partial investment of the Social Security Trust Fund in equities, increases in the retirement age, reductions in spousal benefits, and increases in payroll taxes.

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