Social Security is 75 Years Old!

Aug 17th, 2010 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

*NOTE: Senior Moments is written today by Dr Sharon Shaw Elrod, MSW, EdD, Senior Editor of Senior Citizen Journal.  Please read the SCJ DISCLAIMER.

On Saturday, August 14, we celebrated the 75th anniversary of President Roosevelt’s signing the Social Security Act.  Seventy-five years ago, the legislation was a social insurance program aimed at providing financial assistance to the elderly, disabled and people in poverty.  The OASDI Act, date of enactment, signing are emblazoned in the minds of social workers the country over.  It’s a program we have primary responsibility for administering.  It is dear to us, not because it pays our salaries, but because it has provided assistance for millions of citizens to live with better food and housing, have most medical needs addressed, and not have to worry if there will be a place to live and food on the table tomorrow.  The Social Security program is simply morally right. 

There are those in the political world who suggest Social Security needs to be changed.  One suggestion is to get rid of it entirely.  Another is to privatize the program, that is to have it handled by private investment firms, maintain private investment accounts and dissolve the Social Security Administration as we know it today. 

The senior Republican on the House Budget Committee (Rep. Paul Ryan, WI) recently proposed making changes to Social Security, in effect privatizing it within a massive budget overhaul that he constructed.  On the other side of the political aisle, the President recently said, “We have an obligation … to safeguard Social Security for our seniors, people with disabilities, and all Americans – today, tomorrow, and forever; but what we can’t afford to do is privatize Social Security.”  The events of the past two years surrounding the Wall Street investment and banking community alone should tell us Social Security investments would not be safe there, even with the protections recently enacted in to law. 

Christian Science Monitor reported this week,

“Indeed, more proposed changes to the program could be coming. A bipartisan fiscal commission examining America’s federal deficits and debt is expected to come out with recommendations later this year. Many have speculated that the commission could recommend a change (or changes) to Social Security. A frequently cited idea: raising the retirement age at which people qualify for Social Security benefits.

“In 2037, it’s estimated, Social Security’s combined trust funds will be exhausted. But that doesn’t mean that benefits would stop: Rather, the tax revenue coming in would pay about 78 percent of benefits, according to a report earlier this month from the Obama administration.”

A new AARP survey suggests an overwhelming majority of respondents support keeping Social Security as it is, making no changes, and not using it to address budget deficit issues.   Social Security is a very popular socialized government program.  Candidates up for election or re-election in November are probably not very serious about their candidacy if they think changing Social Security will get them elected.

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