The University Record, March 26, 1996

Forum on Social Security reform slated for April 4

By Bernie DeGroat
News and Information Services

Leaders from academia, business and the media will discuss Social Security reform in a public forum 1­4:30 p.m. April 4 in the Business School's Hale Auditorium.

"Social Security Reform: Is the System or Media Coverage Going Bust?" will feature a panel of journalists, educators and financial experts.

"Social Security has been a highly popular program since its inception, perhaps the most popular government domestic program in the history of the United States," says Edward M. Gramlich, dean of the School of Public Policy. "Polit icians are reluctant to make dramatic changesas they should be.

"At the same time, the U.S. population is aging and the pay-as-you-go payroll tax required to keep up the replacement ratio is rising. It might well be time to switch over to a new approach whether that be simply investing Social Security funds in the equity market or creating small- or large-scale individual accounts."

Among the questions to be addressed in the forum will be: How to stop Social Security from going broke? Raise Social Security taxes or cut benefits? Continue investing in Treasury securities or plunge into the stock market? Maintain the existing pay-as-you-go program or create personal accounts similar to 401(k) plans? How to maintain fairness and equity for low-wage workers, younger workers and older workers nearing retirement? How does media coverage affect reform?

Moderated by Charles Eisendrath, director of the Michigan Journalism Fellows, the forum is sponsored by the Fellows program, School of Business Administration, Department of Communication Studies' Howard R. Marsh Center for the Study of Journalistic Performance, and the Office of the Vice President for University Relations.

Panelists are: Gramlich, who also is a professor of economics and public policy and chair of President Clinton's Advisory Council on Social Security; Joel B. Slemrod, director of the Office of Tax Policy Research and professor of business economics and public policy; Thomas W. Jones, vice chairman and president of TIAA-CREF and deputy chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York;

Sylvester J. Schieber, vice president and director of the Wyatt Company, Research and Information Center, Washington, D.C. and member of President Clinton's Advisory Council on Social Security; Miles Benson, Washington correspondent, Newhouse News Service; Christopher Georges, Washington correspondent , Wall Street Journal; Robert Rosenblatt, Washington correspondent, Los Angeles Times; and

Eric Schurenberg, assistant managing editor, Money magazine.

A reception in the Business School's Assembly Hall will follow the discussion. For more information, call Randy Smith, 764-0529.