Réal Bourchard’s chapter and the others in this volume are useful and thought provoking because examining other countries’ public pension systems can provide insights into the United States’ current situation. This allows us to discuss Social Security a little bit differently. Foreign experience can provide either a pessimistic or optimistic view of the world, depending on how we look at it.
The Canadians have a defined benefit pension plan and somewhat worse population aging than in the United States. The Canadian Pension Plan was in trouble and would have required the tax rate on wages to be raised to 14 percent to keep the system financially viable. Their reforms brought the necessary tax rate down to 9.9 percent.
International Perspectives on Social Security Reform is available from the Urban Institute. Click here for more information or to purchase a copy.