In light of Social Security's long-term funding deficit, Robert Ball, a long-serving former Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, has proposed a three part plan that would bring the Social Security system into close actuarial balance. The first part of the plan consists of gradually increasing the maximum earnings base until it reaches 90 percent of earnings. The second part of the plan calls for dedicating the estate tax to funding Social Security beginning in 2010, and the third part of the plan consists of investing a portion of the Social Security trust fund in equities. Nancy Altman, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Pension Rights Center and assistant to Alan Greenspan when he served as Chairman of the bipartisan National Commission on Social Security Reform from 1981 to 1983, endorsed the plan in her recent book, The Battle for Social Security: From FDR's Vision to Bush's Gamble.
This Article analyzes the costs and benefits of this three part plan.