Andrew Biggs

Andrew G. Biggs is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC. Prior to joining AEI he was the principal deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA), where he oversaw SSA's policy research efforts and led the agency's participation in the Social Security Trustees working group. In 2005 he worked on Social Security reform at the National Economic Council and in 2001 was on the staff of the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security. Andrew’s work at AEI focuses on Social Security reform, state and local government pensions, and comparisons of public and private sector compensation. His work has appeared in academic publications as well as outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post, and he has testified before Congress on numerous occasions. He holds a Bachelors degree from the Queen's University of Belfast, Masters degrees from Cambridge University and the University of London and a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics.
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Economics, Entitlements

Better no Social Security replacement rates than wrong replacement rates

Boston College economist Alicia Munnell’s recent writings on Social Security replacement rates – along with a defensive paper recently released by Social Security’s actuaries – have a “move on, nothing to see here” quality: SSA’s actuaries follow “international standards” and it’s just bad guys – like me, and presumably those arch-conservatives who make up Social Security’s Board of Trustees – trying to spoil a good retirement for everyone by removing replacement rates from the annual Trustees Report. In fact, there’s a lot to see on the replacement rates question, if you’re willing to look. read more >

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Economics, Entitlements

Responding (again) to arguments I didn’t make

A sign that you’ve hit the mark is when people respond to arguments you didn’t make rather than the ones you did. My recent Wall Street Journal piece on progressives’ response to the rising Social Security deficit made a very simple point: you’d think a bigger shortfall would cause progressives to take Social Security reform more seriously, but instead the consensus position is now to expand Social Security, paying for that expansion with the tax increases they once proposed to fill the program’s funding gap. read more >

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Economics, Entitlements

Couldn’t have said it better myself: Salam’s ‘The wrong kind of Social Security reform’

My recent Wall Street Journal op-ed noted that, while Social Security’s funding shortfalls are growing, progressives are showing even less seriousness with regard to fixing them. Indeed, the most common position among progressives today is toward increasing Social Security benefits. New York Magazine’s Jon Chait (who I usually enjoy reading) takes me to task for the piece but National Review’s Reihan Salam handily dismantles Chait’s arguments – more handily than I could have myself, I think. read more >