For many years, workers could manage their medical expenses with employer-provided health insurance and Medicare and look forward to underwriting their golden years with payments from a defined-benefit pension and Social Security.
But the landscape of social insurance is shifting. Many large corporations are moving their employees from traditional pensions to riskier 401(k)s and asking workers to pay more out of their own pockets for health insurance. At the same time, Social Security and Medicare, the two venerable entitlement programs, are facing growing demographic strains as the vast baby boom generation reaches retirement age.
The Wall Street Journal Online asked economist bloggers Mark Thoma and Andrew Samwick to explore how we how arrived at this point and discuss what workers and retirees might expect in the future, as the composition of the social safety net continues to shift.
Thanks to Mark for exchanging ideas. Enjoy!