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

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.

The Form and nature of the old-age insurance plan, is very questionable; the whole matter should have received careful study by an expert commission. It would mean an added tax burden equal to nearly half of the existing total Federal tax burden.

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Editorial, The New York Times.

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.

We believe that this measure, if adopted, means at best an annuity of doubtful value for the aged of the future and unemployment benefit of doubtful value for the normally temporarily unemployed of the future--at the terrific cost of retarding the reemployment of those who are unemployed today.

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John Harrington, general counsel for the Illinois Manufacturing Association. Senate Finance Committee hearings.

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.