Social Security, arguably the most popular social program in United States history, began way back in 1935 as a signature part of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. It was the end result of years of competing ideas about what a program of social insurance would look like for the United States – a country that had rapidly changed in the modern industrial era.
The idea was that Social Security would address the permanent problem of economic security for the elderly by creating a work-related, contributory system. Workers would provide for their own future benefits through taxes paid while employed. According to the Social Security Administration, it was an “alternative both to reliance on welfare and to radical changes in our capitalist system. In the context of its time, it can be seen as a moderately conservative, yet activist, response to the challenges of the Depression.”
Over the last thirty years, in anticipation of the needs of the Baby Boomer generation (hello, Daddies!), Social Security has taken in much more than it has paid out. Now that’s changing as the Boom generation retires.
How do you feel about Social Security? Do you think it’s in trouble, like some conservatives would have you believe, or do you think it’s in fine shape, as progressives usually point out? Hunters, do you worry there will be no benefits for you when you get older?
Most politicians agree that some changes have to be made to the program for it to last. Former President Bush wanted to invest Social Security money in the stock market, as opposed to its current...