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 bill opens the door and invites the entrance into the political field of a power so vast, so powerful as to threaten the integrity of our institutions and to pull the pillars of the temple down upon the heads of our descendants.

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Rep. James W. Wadsworth (R-NY)

I fear it may end the progress of a great country and bring its people to the level of the average European. It will furnish delicious food and add great strength to the political demagogue. It will assist in driving worthy and courageous men from public life. It will discourage and defeat the American trait of thrift. It will go a long way toward destroying American initiative and courage.

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Senator Daniel O. Hastings (R-DE) speaks against Social Security in 1935.

Effective January 1937, we are compelled by a Roosevelt New Deal law to make a 1 percent deduction from your wages and turn it over to the government. You might get this money back . . . but only if Congress decides to make the appropriations for this purpose.

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Two weeks before the election, workers in various Detroit plants found these placards at their workplaces. October, 1936.

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.