It is not difficult to understand why Social Security is our country's most popular government program. Prior to its inception in the 1930's, more than half the nation's elderly lived in poverty. The program was designed as a social (old-age) insurance plan which provides a guaranteed income to retired and disabled workers whose loss of wages promises an uncertain economic future. I emphasize the word guaranteed, as this is the issue in contention when considering reform propositions.
Social Security, as we know it, ensures an acceptable standard of living for all citizens, and provides a safety net for those who, due to age or disability, are no longer able to support themselves by labor. It's benefits are, as stated by author Joseph White, "guaranteed, adjusted annually to account for inflation, paid for as long as the recipient lives, and based on collectively set standards of need and contribution, as opposed to returns and investments in markets" (White 43). The entire concept of privatization distracts us from the reason behind Social Security that ALL Americans would have the means to live in dignity. As such, to perform its proper role in the protection of our citizens, social insurance should be "national, compulsory, and contributory, and provide benefits as a matter of right" (Brown 10).
Politicians argue that there is an emergency need for drastic reform, as the current system is facing collapse, but this is not necessarily the case. It is important that we, as taxpayers, are able to wade through the often party-prejudiced political jargon and arrive at an informed opinion. This essay is an attempt to dispel some of the myths surrounding the controversy, and offer an argument against the private market's ability to adequately protect individuals (and hence society) against risk and uncertainty.
Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system, meaning that current payroll taxes are... [continues]
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