Social Security/Medicare Trustees

1988 Public Trustees' Symposia on the Implications of the Social Security Trust Fund Build-Up

In 1988, Mary Falvey Fuller and Suzanne Denbo Jaffe, the first two Public Trustees appointed as non-government overseers of Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds, sponsored two symposia to examine the findings by two contractors regarding the implications of the projected Social Security Trust Fund build-up. (1) The two contractors were Lewin-ICF, Inc. and the Brookings Institution. (For a history of the Boards of Trustees and the Public Trustees, see below.)

The first, or "technical" symposium took place on June 27, 1988. About 40 economists from the academic/research institutions and Federal Government agencies were invited to critique the technical aspects of the studies, their assumptions, methodology, analyses, and the like. The second one, or "public policy" symposium had a broader focus, was held on September 16. Some 120 participants (including economists and other specialists from academic/research institutions, Congressional committees, public interest organizations, and executive branch components) reviewed public policy options of the projected build-up. Although the circumstances of the Trust Funds have changed since 1988, the two symposia are presented here both for historical interest and for the vast amount of background information they contain on the operations of the Trust Funds.

The proceedings of these two symposia were never published. Of the two contracted studies, the Brookings Institution has subsequently incorporated its findings in a book Can America Afford to Grow Old? published by the Brookings in 1989. The Lewin-ICF study, which has never been published, is now available in the SSA History Archives. Some audio tapes and other printed documents from the Symposia are also now available to researchers in the SSA Archives.

We are publishing here, for the first time anywhere, selected documents from the symposia. The documents have been selected based only on which documents were available in electronic so that they could be easily converted for publication on the Internet. In addition to the documents now being made available online, the Checklist available below itemizes the full collection available to researchers in the SSA History Archives in Baltimore.

1. The three trust funds are: Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund and the Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund; Hospital Insurance Trust Fund (Medicare Part A), and Supplemental Medical Insurance Trust Fund (Medicare Part B). The contracted-studies and symposia were related to the OASI and DI trust funds only.
The Symposia Materials
General Material


History of the Public Trustees

Checklist of Materials Available from SSA

List of Speakers
Technical Symposium

List of Participants


Ed Gramlich: Comment's on Lewin-ICF Report


Transcript of Meeting
Policy Symposium


List of Participants




Paper by Alicia H. Munnell


Comments by Anthony Pellechio


Transcript of Meeting