Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2000


The debate over social security reform has far-reaching implications for the economic well-being of blacks and other minority groups. In this article, we examine how blacks have fared under the existing system, and then consider the likely consequences of moving toward a privatized system. Specifically, we consider the claim, recently advanced by some privatizers, that blacks receive an especially "bad deal" under the existing system and would be better off under a privatized system. We find that, for blacks as a group, this claim tends to overstate both the shortcomings of the existing system and the advantages of privatization. Furthermore, we urge that the racial impact of social security reform deserves serious and sustained consideration. While the path of reform will inevitably require difficult tradeoffs between competing policy goals and political constituencies, no serious reform proposal can ignore the issue of racial equality in the debate over social security.