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Most of the problems of the United states are related to the economy. One of the major issues facing the country today is social security. The United States was one of the last major industrialized nations to establish a social security system. In 1911, Wisconsin passed the first state workers compensation law to be held constitutional. At that time, most Americans believed the government should not have to care for the aged, disabled or needy. But such attitudes changed during the Great Depression in the 1930’s. Many Americans realized that economic misfortune could result from eventsover which americans had no control. In 1935, Congress passed the Social Security Act. This law became the basis of the U.S. social insurance system. It provided cash benefits to only retired workers in commerce or industry. In 1939, Congress amended the act to benefit and dependent children of retired workers and widows and children of deceased workers . In 1950, the act began to cover many farm and domestic workers, non proffesional self employed workers, and many state and municipal employees. Coverage became nearly universal in 1956, when laywers and other proffesional workers came under the system.
Social security is a government program that heips workers and retired workers and their families acheive a degree of economic security. Social security also called social insurance, provides cash payments to help replace income lost as a result of retirememt, unemployment, disability, or death. The program also helps pay the cost of medical care for people who is 65 years or older and for some disabled workers. About one-sixth of the people in the United States recieve social security benefits.People become eligible to recieve benefits by working in a certain period in a job covered by social security.Employers and workers finance the program through payroll taxes. Participation in the social security system is required for about 95 percent of all U.S. workers.
All industrialized countries as well as many developing nations have a social security system. The social security program in the United states has three main parts. They are (1) old-aged, survivers, disability, and hospital insurance, (2) unemployment insurance; and (3) workers’ compensation.
THE SOCIAL SECURITY PAYROLL TAX
This tax was to be taken from the payrolls of the nation’s employers. The government felt that, like unemployment benefits, the social security should be financed by those who got the greatest benefit, those who worked, and were liable to need those benefits in the future. A plan that would affect those only who had paid such a tax for a number of years would have done those who were currently suffering under the Depression no good at all. As a result, the social security plan began paying out benefits almost immediately to those who had been retired, or elderly and out of work, and who were unable, primarily because of the depressed economic conditions, to retire comfortably. In this way, the government was able to accomplish two objectives. First, it helped the economy pull out of the depression, by providing a means by which oldpeople could support themselves and, by buying goods and services, support others in the community ; and second, it showed the younger workers of that time that they no longer had to fear living out their retirement years in fear of poverty.
PAYING OUT BENEFITS
Social Security benefits increased 142% in the period between 1950-1972. not only the elderly, but many of the surivers, the widows and children, ofthose who paid into the Social Security system, have recieved social security checks. These checks have paid for the food shelters, and in many instances the college educations of the recipients. Unlike pivate insurance firms, the United States Government does not have to worry about financial failure. Government bonds are considered the safest investment money can buy-so safe, they are considered "risk free" by many financial scholars. The government, then, is in a totally unique position to pay out benefits that would be out of the reach of many American families. Another great advantage of this system, is the ability of the government to adjust the benefits for the effects of inflation.
THE FUTURE OF SOCIAL SECURITY
The thing to keep in mind about the Social Security system, then, is this: the system itself is in no fundamental danger of collapse. There is only temporary, cash flow situation that must be carefully looked at.The federal government pays out 4.5 billion more in Social Security benefits as it collects in taxes every year. In fact, $4.5 billion is a small price, compared to the other programs the federal governemnt now finanaces from general revenue. Besides tapping the general revenue fund and raising the retirement limit to 68 or even 70,the governemnt has the option of raising the Social Security tax or even reducing the benefits slightly. The government has so many options with regard to finanacing the benefits that the question becomes of the cash management, not quite as signifacent as the huge deficits that the Social Security has been accused of having.The government is already under way to help alleviate this cash flow problem. Public officials have debated which of the various ways would help best serve the public interest, and legislative action has been taken that would ultimately result of the Social Security system to a posititve cash base. This shift would provide the workers of america with the same benefits thay have been guaranteed since 1935- and have been paid, and expanded ever since. The social security system has withstood forty years of changing economic conditions and greater concern of public welfare. What would replace the system, if the critics had their way?
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