The National Pension Crisis: A Test in Law, Economics, and Morality

41 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2016 Last revised: 23 Nov 2016

See all articles by Donald Carroll

Donald Carroll

University of San Francisco - School of Law

Date Written: 2016


This article explores the national retirement income security crisis. While the current arguments about how to meet the crisis portray the problem as both financial and political, this article concedes that America's workers do not have financial and political arguments for making their November-December years secure. They do have, however, a strong moral argument which needs to be explicitly acknowledged so that the crisis is not seen solely as one of finance or political will.

This article explores in some detail how the three-legged stool of private/public pension plans, personal savings, and Social Security is failing to provide a fundamental minimum of security for too many people. The language of the Judeo-Christian tradition inherent in Catholic Social Teaching is employed. The article argues that adequate security for old age is an inherent part of a living wage. In addition, the author asserts that neither private employers nor the taxpayers are entitled to the labor of employees who have to face their last years with inadequate security. The article does not propose any particular solution in new laws or policy because the province of moral criticism is to evaluate the effects of laws and policies both old and new.

Suggested Citation

Carroll, Donald, The National Pension Crisis: A Test in Law, Economics, and Morality (2016). 50 University of San Francisco Law Review 469 (2016), Univ. of San Francisco Law Research Paper No. 2016-23, Available at SSRN:

Donald Carroll (Contact Author)

University of San Francisco - School of Law ( email )

2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
United States

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