Liberal Proposal 1 by Robert M. Ball

Jagadeesh Gokhale

in Social Security

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780226300337
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226300368 | DOI:
Liberal Proposal 1 by Robert M. Ball

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Robert M. Ball, was a staunch defender of the Social Security program who made several proposals to return the program to financial balance, two of which have been evaluated by the Social Security Administration's Office of the Chief Actuary. Earlier proposals by Ball recommended preserving current benefits while increasing the program's revenues through various measures—expanding the payroll tax base, increasing payroll tax rates, and dedicating new revenue sources to the program. The only benefit-side reform that ex-commissioner Ball recommended is to revise the cost-of-living index that is applied to keep nominal benefits growing with inflation. The Ball proposal aims to build up the trust funds continually “so that future earnings on the invested reserve will contribute to financing the system beyond the current 75-year estimating period.” The first item—Social Security's ratio of taxable-to-total payrolls—is likely to be sensitive to future demographic and economic changes. An item under Mr. Ball's proposal is to shift a part of the trust fund's portfolio from investing in Treasury securities to private equities. All three elements of the Ball proposal are intended to generate revenues from higher-earners by increasing the taxable earnings ceiling and from wealthier individuals and families who mostly hold riskier equities and leave bequests.

Keywords: Robert M. Ball; Social Security program; proposal; reform; demographic changes

Chapter.  3951 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Economics

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