The 75th Anniversary of the Social Security Act of 1935 emphasizes the decades that this social insurance system has made positive change in millions of lives. 21 signatories including President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Francis Perkins, Secretary of Labor, the first woman to hold a cabinet-level position, were part of signing the Social Security Act into law. Lump sum payments were made at first to get money to people fast during the Great Depression, but since January of 1940 regular monthly social security payments have been made. Upon retirement, disability or death of a parent, many citizens have learned the usefulness of Social Security which allowed them to live with dignity during hard times.
The subject of social security is important enough to have been included in the State of the Union Address 2011 by President Obama. “. . . find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. We must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market.”
After decades of popularity the Social Security Trust has become a bone of contention due to a group of people who would like to see the money in the fund privatized. Bailed out Wall Street banks see the money from the Social Security Trust as more money with which to gamble and claim profits. Headlines such as ” Social Security posting $600,000 deficit over 10 years ” are frightening and misleading. Although in the 8th paragraph of the article Sen. Bernie Sanders explains, “Social Security today has a surplus of $2.6 trillion.”
Social insurance experts such as Nancy Altman offer solid facts and practical solutions to any problems arising with the Social Security Trust account. In an interview on Talking Progressive Politics she noted . . . according to the annual Trustee Report from August, 2010 . . . “(the Social Security account) still can pay all benefits in full and on time until 2037 and can pay most benefits thereafter even if Congress does nothing.” Ms Altman was on the 1982/83 Greenspan Commission that restored Social Security to “sound financial footing.”
Jim Cullen’s editorial in The Progressive Populist reminds readers that, “Social Security does not contribute to the national debt” and he suggests that “Lawmakers looking for revenue to lower the Social Security retirement age and/or expand Medicare could start by re-establishing a Wall Street speculation tax on transfers of credit swaps, derivatives, stocks, currencies and other financial instruments. A tax of 0.5% would generate $353.8 billion in annual revenue, the Center for Economic and Policy Research estimated.”
StrengthenSocialSecurity.org has establishe d seven campaign principles in honor of Social Security’s75th Anniversary. The organization represents over 50 million Americans who are members of 215 national and state organizations.
1 Social security did not cause the federal deficit. The Trust has over $2 trillion which the federal government borrowed against and must now repay.
2 Government collection and distribution of Social Security monies have been time tested and should not be privatized.
3 Social security is a social insurance and workers should receive what they have paid into the account.
4 Social security is funded for more than 25 years and after that Congress can close any funding gap with monies from those who can afford to make larger payments.
5 The retirement age should not be increased any further than 67 years of age.
6 The average social security benefit in 2010 was $13,000 providing protection from
(a) loss of wages,
(c) death and
(d) old age.
7 The Americans who are the most disadvantaged need the most help.