Why Social Security Is So Insecure

In "Social Security: Apocalypse soon--or sooner" (Economics, May 1), Paul Magnusson correctly notes that the projected date for the insolvency of Social Security may be as soon as 1997 because of slow growth in real wages. Yet the fundamental reason for the abatement of growth in real wages seems to elude him--namely, the burgeoning costs associated with ever-expanding employment-related legislation and regulation. The very real benefits associated with OSHA, ERISA, ADA, the Medical & Family Leave Act, and dozens of other laws come at a cost to U.S. workers and retirees. In essence, productivity-based increases in real wages have already been absorbed ("invested") in regulatory compliance. Public policy analysts, economists, and, ultimately, voters will need to address these trade-offs.

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