Measuring Social Security Proposals by More than Solvency: Impacts on Poverty, Progressivity, Horizontal Equity, and Work Incentives

Melissa M. Favreault C. Eugene Steuerle

WP#2012-15

Abstract

As interest in proposals to restore Social Security solvency rises, it’s timely to examine whether current policy analyses provide adequate information on important distributional questions. This project explores measures of changes in Social Security benefits’ adequacy, horizontal equity, and efficiency under different proposals.  We apply the measures to simulation output from the Urban Institute’s Dynamic Simulation of Income Model under the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Social Security proposal.  A series of exhibits illustrates how they work and could inform policymakers about the relative merits of varied options to restore the program’s long-run solvency and meet other objectives.