Social Insecurity

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Dorcas R. Hardy, formerly United States Commissioner of Social Security under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush, wrote the book’s first section (sixty-two pages). It surveys the current Social Security system, reviews suggestions for altering it, and makes recommendations for its reform. Her father, C. Colburn Hardy, a financial advisor, wrote the second section (ninety-three pages), which reviews options individuals can exercise to provide for their own retirements.

Dorcas Hardy’s section provides summaries of such suggestions for revising the Social Security system as those offered by Senators Bob Graham and Daniel Moynihan, Representatives Robert T. Matsui, James Porter, and Richard Gephardt, ex-governor of Delaware Pete DuPont, Alan Greenspan, Michael J. Boskin, and others.

Dorcas Hardy foresees that the Social Security system will have considerable difficulty in meeting its obligations after 2010, and that by 2030, there will be only two workers for every beneficiary. Early retirement, longer life expectancy, and declining birth rates all contribute to the problem. Hardy would move to a retirement age of seventy-two rather than the present sixty-five.

Colburn Hardy commends the virtues of compounding and urges workers consistently to save ten percent of their incomes from their twenties on. He occasionally belabors the obvious, but those unacquainted with their financial options will find what he suggests accessible. Hardy urges a reinstitution of Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) for everyone. He gives examples of how various investments—treasury bonds, mutual funds, annuities—can serve retirement needs.