Americans were once able to rely on a "three-legged stool" of Social Security, pensions, and savings to ensure a secure and dignified retirement. Today, that stool is broken. Yes, Social Security remains as a solid pedestal for our retirement. But pensions are shrinking or non-existent and workers are more apt to have debts than savings. As a result, more and more Americans face poverty and insecurity as they age into retirement.
This hardship of aging, imposed by private and public policy-making, can be overcome by creating and embedding multiple supports for economic security for all workers and retirees. First, build on the pedestal that remains -- Social Security -- by augmenting federal benefits. Second, advance universally accessible voluntary retirement accounts. Third, as this brief outlines in more detail, develop a progressive state-level supplemental social insurance system.