The Retirement Challenge by Martin Neil Baily and Benjamin H. Harris

The Retirement Challenge: What's Wrong with America's System and A Sensible Way to Fix It by Martin Neil Baily and Benjamin H. Harris
Martin Neil Baily

The Retirement Challenge | What’s Wrong with America’s System and A Sensible Way to Fix It by Martin Neil Baily and Benjamin H. Harris provides a comprehensive plan from two leading experts on how to fix America’s outdated retirement system.

America’s retirement system has serious problems. While it works well for some retirees, millions of others don’t have the sound retirement they have worked decades to secure. Roughly 40 percent of today’s $4 trillion federal budget is devoted to supporting retirees, which will grow to roughly half over the next decade–imperiling the sustainability of the whole system.

The system is out of date. It reflects the America of a bygone age–an era in which company or union pensions provided middle-class families a decent standard of living in retirement. In America today, however, private pensions have mostly disappeared, Social Security is threatened to go insolvent, people are living longer, and health care costs continue to rise. Poorer retirees now must choose between buying enough to eat and their prescription drugs.

In The Retirement Challenge, influential former White House economists Martin Neil Baily and Benjamin H. Harris explore America’s outdated retirement system and explain how improving retirement requires changes by families, employers, and policymakers alike. Households need to save more, get smarter about their finances, and trade part of their 401(k) balances for insurance products. Companies need to take a more active role in their workers’ retirements. And lawmakers need to amend the tax code, Social Security, and a host of other programs.

Despite today’s wide political divide, policymakers from both parties can come together around changes that will promote a stable retirement. This book shows that these changes do not represent a radical overhaul. If families, businesses, and policymakers do their part, everyone–current retirees and future generations–can enjoy a much more secure and prosperous retirement.

Martin Neil Baily is a Senior Fellow Emeritus at the Brookings Institution, and was previously the Bernard L. Schwartz Chair in Economic Policy Development at Brookings from 2007-2020. Baily served in President’s Clinton’s Cabinet from 1999 to 2001 as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, and he was a Member of the Council from 1994 to 1996. He was a Partner at McKinsey & Company 1996 to 1999 and a Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute 2001 to 2007. He has taught at MIT, Yale, and the University of Maryland. He is a Senior Advisor to McKinsey & Company and the Albright Stonebridge Group. He has written extensively on productivity, financial regulation, and retirement policy. He has often been interviewed in the media and is the author of many op-eds in leading newspapers.

Benjamin H. Harris is a long-time economic adviser to President Joe Biden. He was President Biden’s chief economist from 2014 until the end of the Obama administration and was the senior economic adviser for the Biden’s campaign. He is now Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy, previously serving as Counselor to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Harris was previously a Professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, a Senior Economist with President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, Senior Economist for the House Budget Committee, Policy Director for the Hamilton Project, and Deputy Director of the Brookings Institution’s Retirement Security Project. He has published widely in academic journals and the popular press, including regular contributions to the Wall Street Journal on issues related to retirement and personal finance.

  • ISBN: 9780197639276
  • 304 pages
  • January 18, 2023

Published by:  Oxford University Press