Social Security

Social Security

The Unfinished Work

Author: Charles Blahous
ISBN: 978-0-8179-1194-2
Publication Date: 11/8/2010
Pages: 436

Drawing on more than fifteen years of work on Social Security policy, first in the U.S. Senate and later in the White House, Charles Blahous argues that our national Social Security debate is more polarized than it needs to be, even given the depth of legitimate differences over the program's appropriate future direction. Unless we identify and understand our respective initial assumptions, he explains, we will not be able to fathom the conflicting policy initiatives that they drive. In Social Security: The Unfinished Work he presents some often misunderstood, basic factual background about Social Security. He discusses how it affects program participants and explains the true demographic, economic, and political factors that threaten its future efficacy.

Beginning with a review of the events of 1983, focusing on the substance, intent, and scorekeeping of that year's Social Security reforms, Blahous explains what happened then, why, and how it led to sharply divergent views of program finances during the Bush administration's reform initiative and on through today. He dissects competing positions in the current debate and concludes that, unless and until there is broader understanding of how these analytic differences drive opposing policy conclusions, we will continue to talk past and over each other, with little room for negotiation and compromise.

Charles Blahous, one of the nation's foremost Social Security experts, serves as one of two public trustees for the Social Security and Medicare programs. He also served as deputy director of President George W. Bush's national Economic Council and, before that, as executive director of the president's bipartisan Social Security Commission and as special assistant for economic policy.


REVIEWS

“Chuck Blahous is one of the nation's most knowledgeable experts on Social Security and entitlements.  In this book, he draws on his formidable intellect to analyze and fairly portray the many issues involved.  His facts are true, his expositions of the controversy's arguments are candid, and his narrative will—if widely read—help America be better equipped to take responsible action to strengthen and save Social Security.”
—Karl Rove, former senior advisor and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush and author of Courage and Consequence

Social Security: The Unfinished Work brings a wealth of accumulated knowledge and a grounded, commonsense approach to addressing the pressing need for Social Security reform.  In this book, Chuck introduces new approaches to old challenges. Anyone who reads this book will walk away with a better understanding of the challenges faced by the American public and our policymakers.”
—Charles Stenholm, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives (D-TX)

“If you really want to learn about Social Security from someone who ‘tells it like it is,’ you can surely do no better than to read Chuck Blahous’s work. He writes with clarity, sifting the stark and true facts of the program out of the usual toxic mixture of politics, fear, and distortion. If we don’t soon come together around a common understanding of reality, it’s our children and grandchildren who’ll be the vulnerable ones getting hammered.”
—Alan K. Simpson, former U.S. senator (R-WY) and co-chair of the president’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform

“Chuck Blahous offers a must-read for policymakers and laymen alike.   With striking clarity, Blahous provides fresh insights into the Social Security debate.  Social Security: The Unfinished Work makes accessible the expertise of one of the country’s foremost policy experts on Social Security and offers a wealth of information for anyone interested in this important issue.”
—Paul Ryan, member of the U.S. House of Representatives (R-WI)


LINKS

CQ Researcher—Blahous is mentioned on pages 581, 582, and 594


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Charles Blahous

Charles "Chuck" Blahous, one of the nation's foremost Social Security experts, serves as one of two public trustees for the Social Security and Medicare programs. He also served as deputy director of President George W. Bush's national Economic Council and, before that, as executive director of the president's bipartisan Social Security Commission and as special assistant for economic policy. continued




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