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For post-boomers, public education worth more than Social Security and Medicare
Date:4/15/2010

ooked at public pension and health plans only when balancing the transfer of benefits from one generation to the next, concluding that the baby boomers those born between 1946 and 1964 will strain and possibly even drain Social Security and Medicare, threatening to leave future workers with government IOUs.

Using historical data and future projections, Lee and his research team calculated the net value of Social Security, Medicare and public education at all levels minus taxes for Americans born from 1850 through 2090. They found that people ages 38 and younger including those born 20 years from now will make net gains in earnings of 4 to 6 percent over their lifetimes. By contrast, those now aged 63 to 80 will have paid out more in taxes than they will have received in Social Security, Medicare and public education benefits, losing 1 to 2 percent in net earnings over their lifetimes.

The researchers' calculations are based on a person's "net present value at birth," which takes into account the taxes paid and benefits received throughout a person's life, then establishes his or her worth as a lump sum today.

While the study found greater benefits for those born after 1972, it projects that tougher times are ahead for generations born 50 years from now. Unless significant changes are made to the Social Security and Medicare programs, those later generations would have to be heavily taxed 44 percent of their lifetime earnings and their benefits reduced, to make up for severe shortfalls due to population aging and escalating health care costs, according to the study.

Nearly 80 million baby boomers are phasing into retirement and by 2017, Social Security is expected to pay out more than it collects in payroll taxes, according to a recent report from the Social Security and Medicare Board of Trustees.

"The current young and future generations are sometimes viewed as victims of profligate public policy in the United
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Contact: Yasmin Anwar
yanwar@berkeley.edu
510-643-7944
University of California - Berkeley
Source:Eurekalert

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