Privatization of Social Security

(Persuasive-Argumentative Paper)

Guidelines [For Guidelines click here]

Question Set #1

Read the following essays and answer corresponding study questions:

a) Social Security for Dummies: Graphically Explained

b) "Nine Misconceptions About Social Security" by Dean Baker in The Atlantic Monthly July 1998 {temporarily available online here}


Read misconceptions #'s 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9 [Now available from Proquest. Search term = "Nine Misconceptions About Social Security"]

c) "Transcript of Bush/Gore Debate Exchange on Social Security" (Oct. 4, 2000) on Commission on Presidential Debates [Oct. 3, 2000]


Study Questions #1 Click here

Question Set #2

d) "Comparing Privatized Social Security to U.S. System" by NCPA

e) "Empowering Workers: The Privatization of Social Security in Chile" by José Piñera, President of the International Center for Pension Reform and Co-Chairman of the Cato Project on Social Security Privatization

f) "Chilean Pension Reform: the Good, the Bad, and the In Between" by Mauricio Soto " at The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College [From this site you will need to open up the PDF file that is linked to this page][Click here for HTML version]

g) "Strengthening Social Security: Can We Learn From Other Nations? Social Security Reform in Chile" A CATO policy report

h) "The Great Retirement Scare" from The Wall Street Journal August 2, 2002

Use Proquest to connect and search on the title "The Great Retirement Scare"


Study Questions #2 Click here Note: New Questions #11,12,13,14

Question Set #3

i) "The Trillion-Dollar Hustle" by Thomas Frank in Harper's Magazine Jan. 2002 [From The Commons]

j) "The Cycles of Financial Scandal" by Kevin Phillips from The New York Times July 17, 2002


Study Questions #3 Click here

General Resources

Social Security: A Brief History from the Official Web site of the Social Security Administration

OASDI contribution and benefit base

A collection of articles on Social Security by The Urban Institute

PBS Newshour page dedicated to the Social Security debate

In Britain and Chile, Lessons For Revamping Social Security (Christian Science Monitor)


The Cato Institute's dedicated site for Social Security reform

The Cato Institute's library of briefings and papers (most are in PDF format)

• "Modernizing Social Security" by Jeffrey Brown, Brian Jenn, Charles E. Rounds Jr. and RH Sager in The American Enterprise

Use Proquest to connect and search on the title "Modernizing Social Security"

• "Social Insecurity: High Costs and Questionable Returns from an Outdated System" by Kenneth Blackwell in Vital Speeches of the Day

Use Proquest to connect and search on the title "Social Insecurity: High Costs and Questionable Returns from an Outdated System"


• "Protecting Americans'Pensions" Letter to Washington Post August 10, 2002

Use Proquest to connect and search on the title "Protecting Americans'Pensions"

• "Fear of All Sums" by Paul Krugman in The New York Times June 21, 2002

• "What Crisis?" by Richard Leone for The Century Foundation Project [The article originally appeared in The New York Times]

• "Boo" by Richard Leone for The Century Foundation Project

Chile's Pension Mirage" by Marc Cooper excerpted from The Nation article ["Twenty Five Years After Allende"] March 23, 1998.

Century Foundation's website dedicated to the issue of Social Security

Chile's Experience with Social Security Privatization (The Century Foundation)


Other Articles on Privatization

• "As Multinationals Run the Taps, Anger Rises Over Water For Profit" an August 26.2002 New York Times article by John Tagliabue on the privatization of water.

• "Who Owns Water?" by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke in The Nation [September 2, 2002]

Prison Privatization [articles for a previous class asignment on the privatization of prisons]

Real Audio Presentations

Dec. 8, 1998 "Talk of the Nation"—A discussion of President Clinton's two-day conference on Social Security Reform

Aug. 23, 2001 "Morning Edition"—President Bush's Commission on Social Security reform faces increasing opposition

April 7, 1998 "Online News Hour"—Social Insecurity (a panel [Martin Feldstein, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Reagan and professor of economics at Harvard University; Michael Tanner heads a project on Social Security privatization at the Cato Institute, a think tank in Washington; John Rother is the legislative policy director of the American Association of Retired Persons, And Theda Skocpol is a professor of government and sociology at Harvard University] discussing Social Security reform)

Strike The Root: A directory of audio and video presentations on Social Security (from the perspective of those who promote free market models as solutions)

False Consciousness and Crisis: [A book forum presented by the Cato Institute] Featuring the author, John Attarian; with comments by Charles Rounds, Professor of Law, Suffolk University; and Amitai Etzioni, Professor of Sociology, George Washington University.

Corruption, Graft and Fraud

• "Political Money Said To Sway Pension Investments" by Mary Williams Walsh on February 10, 2004, in the New York Times


• Play the Social Security Game. See how your reforms could affect the next generation of Social Security by using actuarial tables.Click here.

Student Paper #1