The Public Interest

Why Social Security is in trouble

Nathan Keyfitz

Winter 1980

AMERICAN social security payments by wage earners and their employers in 1977 reached $95 billion. This compares with $140 billion of all personal savings plus undistributed corporation profits. The first figure can be looked at as the savings of working people against the contingencies of old age and sickness; the second, as mainly the voluntary savings of the more affluent for whatever purposes more affluent people save. To those who earned the money the two categories are equally savings, in the sense that they represent abstention from current consumption. 

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