Social Security

Social Security

Social Security is one of the centerpieces of America's social safety net. It was created in 1935 by the Social Security Act (unemployment insurance and welfare were also instituted by this law).  Social Security is a federally administered and funded insurance program to alleviate poverty among the elderly. Social Security functions as a contributory system wherein workers and their employers contribute taxes to the program throughout their working lives, and are then able to utilize the fund upon retirement. The Social Security Act has been expanded and amended over the years.

Commentary

Lessons from FDR: When the Right Cries Wolf, Bite Back

August 14, 2010

Cry Wolf Quotes

The Senate Finance Committee stands between us and stands between businesses that are almost prostrate, stands between us and destruction, and we feel that we can come to you for support and for protection. You will have no taxes to pay anything with if you do not keep American industry alive, and we have a right to depend on you gentlemen to do it, no matter what propositions, impractical propositions, are brought up.

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Elon H. Hooker, president of the Manufacturing Chemists Association. Senate Finance Committee hearings.

I submit, however, that no man who himself has any practical acquaintance with business processes and methods who is not utterly blinded by partisan political considerations can examine the Securities Act, the Stock Exchange Act, the successive revenue acts in recent years, the Social Security Act, the Public Utilities Act, the Tennessee Valley Authority Act and many of the arbitrary regulations devised under a dozen other recent acts and arrive at any verdict other than they cripple and retard business rather than help revive it. The fact is even so clear that it is hard to keep from wondering if such a result were not actually intended.

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Chamber of Commerce Vice President Philip J. Fay

In other countries, the problem is handled by taking the necessary sum each year from the current taxes. Otherwise the load would get so big as to be a menace. On the other hand, if industry is burdened with too heavy taxes, the result may be more unemployment in the future, killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

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Harper Sibley, the incoming president of Chamber of Commerce.

This is the largest tax bill in history. And to call it ‘social security’ is a fraud on the workingman…. I am not exaggerating the folly of this legislation. The saving it forces on our workers is a cruel hoax.

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Alf Landon, the 1936 Republican nominee for president.

Related Laws and Rules

Resources

Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) is a progressive think tank that concentrates on social and economic policy, both domestic and international.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) is a think tank focused on tax and fiscal policy. They provide in-depth analysis of state issues.