WEBINAR Social Security: How Can We Afford It, an updated issue guide presented by National Issues Forums Institute and the Kettering Foundation

Jan 28
Jan 28 2015, 11:00am - 12:00pm EST

Jen Nickulas
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015 | 11 am EST

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Join National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) researchers as they discuss NIFI’s newly-released issue guide, Social Security: How Can We Afford It. This webinar is ideal for people in the dialogue field, educators, students, policymakers and media involved in the study, research and coverage of aging, retirement, Social Security and the economy.

Maura Casey, Brad Rourke and Tony Wharton will introduce the issue guide, talk about its purpose, describe the kind of research that goes into developing such a guide, and ways that communities might use the issue guide to deliberate on the topic. Casey and Wharton researched and drafted the guide and Rourke is executive editor of issue guides and a program officer at the Kettering Foundation.

Based on public research, the issue guide presents three options that address Social Security’s financial challenges, along with the trade offs and disadvantages of each. The options presented are:

Option One: Shore Up and Reaffirm Social Security

Social Security benefits represent a promise made to Americans, symbolizing a shared commitment to one another that is a fundamental value of our country. The program has earned its near-universal support, and the promise should be kept by doing whatever it takes to keep these benefits as they are.

Option Two: End Reliance on Social Security for Retirement

Government has been taking too much responsibility for the well-being of its older citizens, undermining the nation’s traditional emphasis on self-reliance. We should phase-in a privatized system of retirement savings accounts, which could be regulated by the government, but controlled and managed by individuals.

Option Three: Reinvent Retirement and Social Security

It is unrealistic to continue to support a plan that enables people to retire in their early-to-mid-60s when the average life span is now 78. The compact that Social Security represents should be adjusted to take that change into account

National Issues Forums Institute issues guides are nonpartisan, nongovernmental, and are intended to provide the basis for a deliberative conversation in which citizens weigh the options for action against the things they hold valuable, making their own determination about what should be done.

Participants may download a copy of the issue guide here for a nominal fee, but it is not required to have a copy in order to be on the webinar.

Meet the Presenters

Maura Casey is a Kettering Foundation Associate. A former journalist, she has written issue guides on Social Security, juvenile violence, and overuse of alcohol. Casey was an editorial writer for The New York Times. During her 30-year journalism career, she worked on opinion pages at four newspapers and won 40 regional and national awards for commentary. She shared a Pulitzer Prize awarded to the staff of the Lawrence (Mass.) Eagle-Tribune, where she was editorial page editor for five years. She also won the Scripps-Howard Foundation Walker Stone Award for outstanding editorial writing.  Her Hartford Courant editorials, written in response to the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. in 2012, won the National 2013 Delta Sigma Chi Distinguished Writing Award and Bronze Medallion. Casey holds a Master’s Degree in Journalism and Public Affairs from The American University, Washington, D.C. and a Bachelor of Arts degree, Magna Cum Laude, in Political Science from State University College at Buffalo. 

Brad Rourke is a program officer at the Kettering Foundation. His work includes studies of naming and framing issues in public terms and how people make decisions and work together on shared challenges in communities. Rourke is executive editor of the National Issues Forums issue guides as well as other issue books produced for public deliberation. He received is BA in comparative literature from UC Berkeley.

Tony Wharton is a freelance writer with a long association with the Kettering Foundation, specializing in writing and editing issue guides. He also edited “Journalism as a Democratic Art: Selected Essays by Cole C. Campbell,” published in 2012 by Kettering Foundation Press. He worked in daily newspapers for 20 years and won multiple awards for writing and investigative journalism. Tony has a B.A. in English and history from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida.

Social Security: How Can We Afford It  was prepared for the National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) in collaboration with the Kettering Foundation. National Issues Forums issue guides are used by civic and educational organizations interested in addressing public issues. These organizations use the books in locally initiated forums convened each year in hundreds of communities. Recent topics have included US politics, the national debt, America’s role in the world, and immigration. For more information on the National Issues Forums, visit: www.nifi.org.

Founded in 1927, the Kettering Foundation of Dayton, Ohio (with offices in Washington, DC, and New York City), is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute that studies the public’s role in democracy. It has provided issue guides and other research for the National Issues Forums. For information about the Kettering Foundation, please visit www.kettering.org or mail the foundation at 200 Commons Road, Dayton, Ohio 45459-2799. 

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