Special Focus on Social Security

This month The CPA Journal focuses on Social Security, one of the U.S. federal government’s oldest, broadest, and most positively perceived programs. It is also one of the most controversial, and one whose future in its current form is widely questioned. A brief history of the founding and development of the Social Security system . A detailed analysis of the tax rates and benefits paid, the funding and redistributive aspects of Social Security, and the options for future reform follows. Although the prospects of immediate legislation seem dim, the sheer magnitude of the Social Security problem and the political impact of potential reforms ensure that it will be increasingly in the foreground of policy discourse. If CPAs are to have a role in communicating complex tax issues to the public and shaping sensible policy outcomes, they must be ready to participate in the ongoing debate.

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Essentials
Publisher's Column
Perspectives

Revisiting the Ripple Effects of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act

Almost four years have passed since the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) was legislated and implemented. In “Ripple Effects of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act” (February 2004 CPA Journal), the authors identified and discussed foreseen, and unforeseen consequences of the Act. Now, with the benefit of hindsight, these previously identified effects will be revisited and their status updated. Several additional effects are noted that were not originally identified. Full Story

Scoring the CPA Exam

The AICPA’s decision to change the CPA exam from a pencil-and-paper–based test to a computer-based test (CBT) in 2004 was an excellent move forward in the exam’s evolution. CBTs offer several benefits over their hard-copy counterparts: They are easier to administer, more convenient for test-takers, and make analysis a breeze. But change is never easy, and although the transition to CBT has been relatively smooth, there have been bumps in the road.
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The Demise of Social Security

After reading in the August 2005 CPA Journal (“Social Security: Safety Net in Need of Repair”) that “Even if no changes are made in the law governing Social Security, the Trust Fund will be able to pay promised benefits until 2042,” we were so startled that we checked our files. Before he left office in 2005, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the sixth director of the Congressional Budget Office, disagreed, saying: “The Trust Fund has no real economic resources .. Full Story



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