The Wall Street Journal's Social Security Tool

It seems that interactive tools are definitely in vogue. We'd like to say we started the trend with the Stabilize the Debt simulator, and we have continued it with the fiscal plan Comparison Tool we released yesterday. Today, The Wall Street Journal highlighted an interactive tool of its own on its website allowing users to construct their own Social Security reform plan from a menu of given options. The tool acts as an easily digestible version of the solvency provisions section of the Office of the Chief Actuary's website.

The graphic contains fifteen different options for making changes to Social Security. Among them are various changes to benefits--like increases in the retirement age, reductions to initial benefits, and switching to the chained CPI--and tax increases generally involving the payroll tax cap; in addition, there are a few of the more common benefit increase options included such as a robust minimum benefit and an age-85 benefit bump up. When you click an option, a slider at the top of the page shows how that option affects the 75-year actuarial balance of Social Security.

Try to make your own plan! Although WSJ has only included a small sampling of the options available for reform, it is good interactive tool that helps show the magnitude of the changes needed to restore 75-year solvency to the program. For more options, check out the Office of the Chief Actuary's solvency provisions here and CBO's most recent Social Security Options here.