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Economics

Economics

Rutgers Law School (Newark) Faculty Papers

2005

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Social Security, Generational Justice, And Long-Term Deficits, Neil H. Buchanan Mar 2005

Social Security, Generational Justice, And Long-Term Deficits, Neil H. Buchanan

Rutgers Law School (Newark) Faculty Papers

This paper assesses current methods for evaluating the long-term viability and desirability of government activities, especially Social Security and other big-ticket budget items. I reach four conclusions: (1) There are several simple ways to improve the current debate about fiscal policy by adjusting our crude deficit measures, improvements which ought not to be controversial, (2) Separately measuring Social Security’s long-term balance is inappropriate and misleading, (3) The methods available to measure very long-term government financing (Fiscal Gaps and their cousins, Generational Accounts) are of very limited value in setting public policy today, principally because there is no reliable baseline ...