1st Edition

Safeguarding Social Security for Future Generations Leaving a Legacy in an Aging Society

By W. Andrew Achenbaum Copyright 2023
    192 Pages
    by Routledge

    192 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book offers a unique multigenerational approach to saving Social Security. Public programs have adapted to societal aging, but fears overwhelm hopes for Social Security’s future prospects. Conservatives want to privatize operations that liberals seek to expand. Younger workers are happy that Social Security protects their elders, but most do not expect benefits when needed. Achenbaum reframes conflicting perspectives and offers new models of respectful transgenerational dialogue that can mobilize pragmatic reforms.

    Designed for use in gerontology, social work, and public policy courses, Safeguarding Social Security for Future Generations offers measured hope for leaving a legacy that safeguards the common good.

    Introduction  Part One: Communication Gaps across Generational Perspectives  1.Can Baby Boomers Leave a Meaning-filled Legacy to Millennials?  2.Social Security Myths in an Age of Misinformation and Big Lies  3.Why Historical Facts Matter When Interpreted Pragmatically  4.Risks, Rights, and Responsibilities under Social Security  Part Two: A Senior Historian’s Evolving Interpretations of Social Security  5.The Significance of the 1983 Social Security Amendments  6.Conservatives Create a Different Historical Context for Social Security  7.Will Fears over a Pandemic, a Fractured Political Economy, and Racism Stir New Hopes and Demand for Social-Security Reforms?  Part Three: Re-Thinking Social Security in Order to Become Change Agents  8.Changing within Myself to Better Relate to Others  9.Negotiating Solidarity, Sustainability, and Stewardship under Social Security  Conclusion


    W. Andrew Achenbaum is a semiretired professor of history and gerontology in the Texas Medical Center, Houston. He served as Deputy Director of University of Michigan’s Institute of Gerontology and as Professor of history, before he became founding dean of the University of Houston’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. A former board chair of the National Council on Aging, he has received several teaching and public service awards and won the Gerontological Society of America’s highest honor, the Kent Lectureship. Achenbaum has published six books, coedited a dozen others, and written more than 200 peer-reviewed articles at the interface of the humanities and aging.

    "This book provides a unique blend of historical scholarship about the origins and development of Social Security and practical suggestions for how Social Security might be reformed to meet its present challenges. The scholarship is impeccable throughout. The author has a strong grasp over the materials related to the history of Social Security and utilizes a very wide range of the philosophical and ethical writing on the subject. Andy Achenbaum is the leading historian of old age, and this book only solidifies his reputation. I have no doubt that the book would be useful to students in such fields as social work, gerontology, public policy and history."

    Edward Berkowitz, George Washington University

    "Andrew Achenbaum is arguably the most important historian of later life in America we have ever known. With Safeguarding Social Security for Future Generations he offers a framework for maintaining the value and vitality of what is arguably the most important social policy innovation we’ve ever enacted. In the process he’s done something just as important; provided a model for "pragmatic, transgenerational" understanding, cooperation, and action, one that couldn’t be more timely as this country enters a period of unprecedented age diversity. Buy this book, read it carefully, and use it as a roadmap for creating a better future for all generations."  

    Marc Freedman, Founder, Encore.org, and author, How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting The Generations