On November 10, 2010, Lisa Mensah, Executive Director of Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security (Aspen IFS) and Board Chair of the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), moderated the “Strengthening Social Security for the Long Run: Insights from 1983” panel in the Rayburn House Office Building. Organized by the National Academy of Social Insurance, the event featured panelists Janice Gregory, NASI President; Virginia Reno, NASI Vice President for Income Security; and Wendell Primus, Policy Advisor to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Janice Gregory began the event by detailing the 1983 Greenspan Commission reforms to Social Security, pointing out that the retirement age increases enacted in 1983 were effectively a benefit cut for Social Security recipients.
Virginia Reno went on to affirm that while current policy conversations concerning Social Security have focused on the additional reduction of benefits, Americans have routinely demonstrated their support for the strengthening of Social Security in polling data – even when confronted with the subsequent need for higher taxes. With that backdrop, Reno asserted policymakers must not ignore policy options to bolster Social Security benefit adequacy, exploring two specific proposals that would enhance Social Security for millions of Americans – 1) raising the income floor for vulnerable elders; and 2) extending college access to those children of disable or deceased workers.
The National Academy of Social Insurance also released its most recent policy brief, “Strengthening Social Security for the Long Run.” The paper details in full the 1983 Greenspan Commission’s actions, the effects of those actions on benefits for current and future retirees, and specifics on several proposals designed to improve the adequacy of Social Security benefits for the long run.