Thomas Saving, RIP (1934 – 2024)

Tom Saving and I were friends and colleagues for many years. We produced studies together. We wrote editorials for the Wall Street Journal and other publications. We published scholarly articles in such publications as Health Affairs and the Journal of Business Economics. We conducted numerous briefings for members of Congress and their staff.


Dr. Saving was appointed by President Clinton and reappointed by President Bush as a Public Trustee of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds from 2000-2007. Largely due to his role as trustee, the Social Security and Medicare Trust funds began including the long-term unfunded liability in both programs in their annual reports. That practice has continued ever since. For example, a recent report found that combined unfunded liability in both programs is $163 trillion – almost seven times the size of our economy.


Saving served on the President’s bipartisan Commission to Strengthen Social Security during the Bush administration. In this role, he produced cutting edge research and modeling – explaining how the system could become solvent through the use of private savings accounts. His work heavily influenced the thinking of the commission, and much of it was published by my own think tank at the time – the National Center for Policy Analysis.


During this time, he was also one of the most effective public spokesmen for Social Security reform.


Although not part of the commission’s agenda, Medicare has an even greater long term unfunded liability than Social Security. Dr. Saving, Andrew Rettenmaier and I produced the only scholarly study showing that Medicare’s financial problems can also be solved with private saving accounts.


Along with Milton Friedman, Frederich Hayek and others he was a long-standing member of the Mont Pelerin Society – an international organization that allows classical liberal scholars from countries around the world to regularly meet and share ideas on public policy.

John Goodman





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