NPR Online


Overview, by Pam Fessler
Morning Edition, May 20, 1999
A new poll by NPR, the Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, found there is little sentiment for some of the most painful solutions to make the Social Security system solvent in the long run - raising taxes, reducing benefits or increasing the retirement age. More popular are proposals to use the federal surplus or private investment to fix Social Security.
audio buttonBut underlying these choices, the poll found, are widespread misunderstandings about the program and its financial troubles.

Taking Care of Themselves, by Pam Fessler
Morning Edition, May 21, 1999
Americans don't believe that Social Security will take care of them when they retire, and they think they'll rely on their own savings and investments.
audio button The question is whether they're doing enough on their own to make it happen.

Privatization, by John Ydstie
All Things Considered, May 20, 1999
Many Americans want private investment options for some of their Social Security taxes. How would it work? Is it really viable?
audio button Is it safe? And what about people who are too old to benefit?

Chile's Privatization Experience, by Marie-Armelle Lafaury
All Things Considered, May 21, 1999
audio buttonChile has had a privatized system since 1981, and Chileans seem to be satisfied with how it is working.

Other Countries' Experiences, Interview with John Ydstie
All Things Considered, May 21, 1999
audio buttonAround the world, countries have been implementing their own privatized social security systems with mixed results. Some have run into serious difficulties.

Social Security and the Political Process, by Peter Kenyon
Weekend Edition Saturday, May 22, 1999
Why isn't Congress - even the Republican majority - running with the privatization idea? Older Americans are more likely to vote, they have become swing voters whom both parties
audio buttonneed, Social Security is their No. 1 voting, and older Americans are opposed to even partial privatization of Social Security.

The Gender Gap, by Elizabeth Arnold
Weekend Edition Sunday, May 23, 1999
Women are more vulnerable in their old age than men, and they know it. Women are more worried that they will not have enough to live on and more worried that they will be burdens on their families.
audio button But the factors that make women more vulnerable have not yet crystallized as distinct political issues for them.

Knowledge and Interest Groups, by Elizabeth Arnold
Weekend All Things Considered, May 23, 1999
Why is it that Americans seem to get some things absolutely wrong about Social Security (for instance, most Americans believe that older people are worse
audio button off than they were 30 years ago, when the opposite is true), and what do interest groups do to exploit issues like Social Security?

Changing Views of Retirement, by Pam Fessler
Morning Edition, May 24, 1999
Retirement used to be something to do at the very end of life when you could no longer work.
audio button Now it's glorified as the Golden Years. What's behind the change, and can it be a reality for many people?

Talk of the Nation Wrap-Up
Talk of the Nation, May 24, 1999
Guests include Bob Blendon of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, NPR Economics Correspondent John Ydstie, and NPR Special Projects Editor Marcus Rosenbaum.
audio button