Eric R. Kingson

Syracuse University
Social Work

Syracuse University School of Social Work
401 Sims Hall
Syracuse, NY

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Eric Kingson's scholarship examines the politics and economics of population aging, Social Security policy, baby boomers, cross-generational obligations and the distributional effects of changes in retirement age.

Altman, N. A. and E.R. Kingson. 2010. “Social Security and the Deficit.” American Prospect.
Abstract: Social Security is not part of the federal deficit: Even with no policy changes, it will be in balance for the next 26 years.
Kingson, Eric. 2010. "A Tale of Three Commissions: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." Poverty and Public Policy 2 (3).
Abstract: Eric Kingson was an advisor to the 1982 National Commission on Social Security Reform and to the 1994 Bipartisan Commission on Entitlements and Tax Reform. Drawing on the experience of 1982 (the Good) and 1994 (the Bad) commissions, he concludes that the fast-track debt commission as proposed by senators Kent Conrad and Judd Gregg would result in an unprecedented and deleterious approach to Social Security policy-making. The structure and functioning of the 1994 commission provides insight into likely goals and functioning of the Conrad-Gregg Commission, a commission Kingson suggests would be akin to the 1994 entitlement commission on steroids. Noting the disregard for traditional congressional processes and the mischaracterization of Social Security as part of a unified entitlements problem, Kingson concludes that Senator Max Baucus is not exaggerating when he warned on the Senate floor that Senators Conrad and Gregg have painted a big red target on Social Security and Medicare. That is what this commission is all about.
Kingson., E.R. 2011. ““Framing Social Security for the 21st Century." A Promise to All Generations: Stories and Essay About Social Security and Frances Perkins. Kirstin Downey and Chris Breiseth eds. Frances Perkins Center, Newcastle Maine.
Abstract: Although couched largely in terms of economics, the debate over the future of Social Security is most fundamentally a debate about the role of government and the societal values the nation seeks to achieve through Social Security. This chapter begins with a discussion of the understandings, values and positive social insurance frame giving rise to and structuring Social Security for much of the past 75 years. This traditional Social Security framework, once dominant, has in recent years been challenged largely by a conservative critique that has drawn attention away from Social Security's core goal of providing widespread protection to individuals, families and the national community against risks to which all are subject. Further, this new frame, the entitlements problem framework, defines the contemporary debate almost exclusively in terms of affordability, solvency and deficit reduction. It pulls attention away from other critical concerns, including improved adequacy of benefits especially for those at great risk, replacement income for family leaves, and benefits for spouses and their dependents for partners, married and not, in Lesbian/GayBisexual/Transgendered families. The chapter concludes by suggesting that those seeking to advance progressive Social Security reform should give greater consideration to developing a narrative, frame, strategies and policy proposals that reflect the ideals and values outlined above in President Franklin Roosevelt's June 8, 1934 message to Congress. Absent this, we are doomed to remain in a defensive posture.
Altman, N. A. and E.R. Kingson. (2015). Social Security Works! Why Social Security Isn't Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help Us All. New York, N.Y.: The New Press
Abstract: A growing chorus of prominent voices in Congress and elsewhere are calling for the expansion of our Social Security system—people who know that Social Security will not “go broke” and does not add a penny to the national debt. Social Security Works! amplifies these voices and offers a powerful antidote to the three-decade-long, billionaire-funded campaign to make us believe that this vital institution is destined to collapse. It isn’t. From the Silent Generation to Baby Boomers, from Generation X to Millennials and Generation Z, we all have a stake in understanding the real story about Social Security. Critical to addressing the looming retirement crisis that will affect two- thirds of today’s workers, Social Security is a powerful program that can help stop the collapse of the middle class, lessen the pressure squeezing families from all directions, and help end the upward redistribution of wealth that has resulted in perilous levels of inequality. All Americans deserve to have dignified retirement years as well as an umbrella to protect them and their families in the event of disability or premature death. Sure to be a game-changer, Social Security Works! cogently presents the issues and sets forth both an agenda and a political strategy that will benefit us all. At stake are our values and the kind of country we want for ourselves and for those that follow.

Substantive Focus:
Social Policy PRIMARY

Theoretical Focus:
Agenda-Setting, Adoption, and Implementation PRIMARY
Policy Analysis and Evaluation SECONDARY