by Pamela Williams
Back before the Industrial Revolution most people were rural, and they lived off the land. Families took care of their aging families. Parents had big farm houses that encompassed not only Mom, Dad, and children, but Grandma and Grandpa were a part of the mix…possibly even Aunt Hilda if she needed a roof over her head. The whole family worked together to make the living. Even little Johnny had his chore of feeding the chickens. His little sister gathered the eggs, and Mama fixed them for breakfast.
Meanwhile, Daddy had already gotten up at the crack of dawn to build the fence in the South pasture where the cattle grazed. Papaw was busy cutting wood for the stove that the family used to cook on and for heat when the snows came. Bedrooms were cozy and warm, as fireplaces were found in most rooms. Children snuggled under their homemade quilts that Mama and Grandma had worked with big sister Sue to make.
Land ownership was handed down from generation to generation, and the land was good. The land provided, and it all worked until the Industrial Revolution. In 1880, America was still 72 percent rural and only 28 percent urban. In only 50 years, that portrait changed; in 1930, we were 56 percent urban and only 44 percent rural (Bureau of the Census 1961).
The problem of economic security in old age was not as pressing in preindustrial America, because life expectancy was short. A typical American male born in 1850 had a life expectancy at birth of only 38 years (a female, only 2 years longer). But with the dawning of the twentieth century, a revolution in public sanitation, health care, and general living standards produced a growing population of Americans living into old age.
Thus, the shift from preindustrial to industrialized societies undermined traditional strategies for providing economic security and created a need for new forms of social provision. That is when the family became divided as factories lured Pa and Big Brother Adam to the city, where they could make better money than they could off the land.
Life moved on leading to the Great Depression in 1929. The elderly were the hardest hit, and when they lost their jobs, they had no income with no hopes of ever being hired again. The extreme economic climate of the 1930s saw many “pension movements” spring to life. One of those pension plans was the Townsend Plan. It held the promise that every American 60 or older a retirement benefit of $200 per month. This came at a time when the average income of working Americans was about $100 a month. Can you imagine that?
Following the Townsend Plan came the following movements:
- Share the wealth plan – Huey Long, senator from Louisiana,
- Union for social justice – Father Charles Coughlin, the radio priest,
- End of Poverty in California plan – novelist Upton Sinclair.
Of course, millions of desperate seniors joined efforts to make these schemes national policy. President Roosevelt decided that the Government needed to take action to create a workable form of old-age pension. He said, “We have to have it. The Congress can’t stand the pressure of the Townsend Plan unless we have a real old-age insurance system.” (Perkins, 1946, 294). It started with good intentions, and I can only imagine how well it was received by the public. Thus, the Depression was the triggering event that established a social insurance system.
The Social Security Act of 1935 is the defining initiative and starting point for President Roosevelt’s proudest domestic accomplishment as president (Perkins 1946, 301). Roosevelt was loved, and the federal government were the “good guys” President Roosevelt appointed a special panel called the Committee on Economic Security (CES) to analyze the problem of economic security in the United States, and to design a social insurance system “suited to American purposes.” The CES was chaired by Secretary of Labor Perkins, who was clearly the most important figure in this early pioneering effort (DeWitt 2009). By the end of 1934 the committee had completed its major studies and designed a legislative proposal, which the president submitted to Congress in January 1935.
The Economic Security Act was submitted to Congress on January 17, 1935.13 Hearings were held in the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee throughout January and February. The bill was debated in the two houses for a total of 18 days, and it was signed into law on August 14, 1935.14 The legislation that now is thought of simply as “Social Security” was in fact an omnibus bill containing seven different programs (Table 1).
The following table chart shows us the various programs that the Act encompassed:
Programs in the Social Security Act of 1935
I Old-Age Assistance – Federal financial support and oversight of state-based welfare programs for the elderly
II Federal Old-Age Benefits – The Social Security program
III Unemployment Insurance – National unemployment insurance, with federal funding and state administration
IV Aid to Dependent Children – State-based welfare for needy children (what would come to be called AFDC)
V Grants to States for Maternal and Child Welfare – Federal funding of state programs for expectant mothers and newborns
VI Public Health Work – Federal funding of state public health programs
X Aid to the Blind – Federal funding of state programs to aid the blind
No wonder Roosevelt was so loved by the people. This seems to me to be a really good step for all American citizens who were lacking during that time. The following is an archived photo of all those present during the monumental signing of the Act:
Those present at the signing ceremony are as follows: 1. Rep. Jere Cooper (D-TN); 2. Rep. Claude Fuller (D-AR); 3. Rep. Robert Doughton (D-NC); 4. Rep. Frank Buck (D-CA); 5. Rep. John Boehne, Jr. (D-IN); 6. Sen. Robert Wagner (D-NY); 7. Sen. Alben Barkley (D-KY); 8. unknown individual; 9. Sen. Robert LaFollette, Jr., (PROG-WI); 10. Rep. John Dingell, Sr. (D-MI); 11. Sen. Augustine Lonergan (D-CT); 12. Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins; 13. Rep. Frank Crowther (R-NY); 14. Sen. William H. King (D-UT); 15. Rep. David J. Lewis (D-MD); 16. Sen. Byron Patton “Pat” Harrison (D-MS); 17. Sen. Joseph Guffey (D-PA); 18. Sen. Edward Costigan (D-CO); 19. Rep. Samuel B. Hill (D-WA); 20. Rep. Fred Vinson (D-KY); and 21. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
SSA History Museum & Archives.
Social Security has evolved over the past 75 years through major legislative enactments. The period from 1935 through 1972 expanded the program. Social Security legislation is highlighted in Table 2.
Major Social Security legislation Laws Of Change:
- The Social Security Act – August 14, 1935 – Established individual retirement benefits.
- The 1939 amendments – August 10, 1939 – Added dependents and survivors benefits and made benefits more generous for early participants. Financing at issue.
- The 1950 amendments – August 28, 1950 – Adjusted, on a major scale, coverage and financing. Increased benefits for the first time. Provided for gratuitous wage credits for military service.
- Legislation in 1952 – July 18, 1952 – Raised benefits; liberalized retirement test and expanded gratuitous wage credits for military service.
- Legislation in 1954 – September 1, 1954 – Extended coverage. Disability “freeze.”
- The 1956 amendments – August 1, 1956 – Added cash disability benefits at age 50. Early retirement for women.
- The 1958 amendments – August 28, 1958 – Added benefits for dependents of disabled beneficiaries.
- The 1960 amendments – September 13, 1960 -Disability benefits at any age.
- The 1961 amendments – June 30, 1961 – Established early retirement for men. Liberalized eligibility requirements for other categories.
- The 1967 amendments – January 2, 1968 – Added disabled widow(er)s benefits.
- The 1972 Debt-Ceiling Bill – July 1, 1972 – Added automatic annual cost-of-living adjustments.
- The 1977 amendments – December 20, 1977 – Raised taxes and scaled back benefits. Long-range solvency at issue.
- The 1980 amendments – June 9, 1980 – Tightened disability eligibility rules.
- Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 – August 13, 1981 – Eliminated student benefits after high school.
- The 1983 amendments – April 20, 1983 – Raised taxes and scaled back benefits. Long-range and short-range solvency at issue.
- Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 – August 10, 1993 – Raised taxable portion of Social Security benefits from 50 percent to 85 percent.
- Senior Citizens Freedom to Work Act of 2000 – April 7, 2000 – Eliminated the retirement earnings test for those at the full retirement age.
SOURCE: Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report RL30920, Major Decisions in the House and Senate on Social Security, 1935–2009.
As you can see numbers 12 through 17 is the decline period. What went wrong? I am going to try and find that answer.
First of all, the following chart shows who opposes cutbacks to the social security system:
The following are five facts you should know about social security:
1 Social Security touches more people than just about any other federal program. At the end of 2014, according to the most recent trustees’ report, some 59 million Americans were receiving retirement, disability or survivors’ benefits from the system; the total cost was $848.5 billion. 166 million people paid payroll taxes into the system.
2 Social Security is, and always has been, an inter-generational transfer of wealth. The taxes paid by today’s workers and their employers don’t go into dedicated individual accounts (although 32% of Americans think they do, according to the 2014 Pew Research survey). Nor do Social Security checks represent a return on invested capital, though you might be forgiven for thinking so since the “personalized Social Security statements” that used to be mailed out once a year and now are available online detail your payment history and projected monthly benefits. Rather, the benefits received by today’s retirees are funded by the taxes paid by today’s workers; when those workers retire, their benefits will be paid for by the next generation of workers’ taxes (caveat: see Point 3). Your benefit amount is based on your earnings history and age at retirement, not on how much you and your employer paid in Social Security taxes (although for most people, taxes paid are closely tied to their earnings).
3 Right now, Social Security has plenty of assets. For much of its history, Social Security was a strictly pay-as-you-go system, with current tax receipts funding current benefits. That changed in 1983, when Congress (as part of a comprehensive overhaul of the program) raised the payroll taxes that provide the bulk of Social Security’s revenue, to build up a cushion for the coming onslaught of Baby Boomer retirees. For nearly three decades, the system took in far more revenue than it paid out in benefits; the surplus was invested in special non-tradeable Treasury bonds, with interest credited to the system’s two trust funds (one for old-age and survivors’ benefits, the other for disability payments). As of July 31, those trust funds together held $2.83 trillion in Treasuries. (Some people characterize that as the government “borrowing from” or “raiding” Social Security, but the system is in essentially the same position as any other investor who buys Treasuries.)
4 But since 2010, Social Security’s cash expenses have exceeded its cash receipts. Negative cash flow last year was about $74 billion, according to the latest trustees’ report, and this year the gap is projected to be around $84 billion. While the credited interest on all those Treasuries is still more than enough to cover the shortfall, that will only be true until 2020. After that, Social Security will begin redeeming its hoard of Treasuries for cash to continue paying benefits – as was the plan all along.
5 Social Security’s combined reserves likely will be fully depleted by 2034, according to the trustees’ intermediate forecast. The disability-insurance trust fund could run dry as soon as the end of 2016, while the old-age and survivors’ fund is expected to be depleted in 2035 – assuming it’s not tapped to backfill the disability fund. (The Congressional Budget Office, in a separate report that uses somewhat different demographic assumptions, projects that the disability fund will be exhausted in fiscal 2017 and the old-age and survivors’ fund in calendar 2031; if the funds are combined, they would be exhausted in calendar 2029.) The exact depletion dates depend, of course, on future demographic and economic trends. After the reserves are exhausted, the system still will be receiving tax revenue, but it will only be enough to pay about three-quarters of scheduled benefits – unless Congress changes the benefit formulas, raises the payroll tax, or makes other changes such as raising the cap on taxable wage income (currently $118,500).
ARE SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS IN TROUBLE?
I HATE TO TELL YOU THIS, BUT, YES, THEY ARE IN TROUBLE. This is because the next decade will see the largest drop in worker-to-beneficiary ratios in history, as baby boomers begin to retire. The problem gets compounded when you consider that people’s life-spans are growing longer, the birth rate is declining, and the cost of living is only going up.
When Social Security was first established, the worker to beneficiary ratio was over 15 to 1; today it’s closer to 3 to 1, with odds that it will shrink even further over the next few decades. This means that less money will be put into the Social Security system, while more gets taken out. In fact, projections show the federal government paying out more money in Social Security benefits than it will take in via payroll taxes around the year 2020.
Economically speaking, this shortfall is not sustainable for the long term, and without an infusion of money from another source, the Social Security benefit retirement system will face problems within the next 20 or so years. Current predictions indicate that the Social Security trust fund will run out in 2035 if nothing is done. After this point, retirees can generally expect about 75 cents on every dollar of their scheduled benefits. Thats because once the trust fund is depleted, there will be no surplus left. From that point on, the amount thats paid out in the form of benefits can only match what’s coming into the Social Security system through employment taxes.
WHAT DOES THE SOCIAL SECURITY LANDSCAPE LOOK LIKE FOR 30 YEAR OLDS COMPARED TO THOSE RETIRING NOW?
If you’re decades away from retirement, this is where things get dicey in terms of your Social Security benefits. This is the primary focus of the current debate taking place on Capitol Hill. It is very likely that those currently entering (or relatively new to) the workforce will see a very different Social Security system than the one that’s in place now — absent some sort of drastic change in the numbers.
Unless changes are made, current 25-to-35-year olds face an over 25% reduction in benefits once the Social Security trust fund is gone. The response to this problem varies among politicians, educators, and economists. Some (including the Chairman of the House Budget Committee) believe that though recovery will be slow, it will happen in time to fix the shortfall in the benefit system by the time this younger generation is ready to retire. Others (including various economic think tanks) warn that drastic reform must occur to prevent the inevitable bottoming out of the Social Security system.
So our young people will be forced to put money in as always, but they will not be assured of having that money when they retire. Older people are safer and are less likely to face majors changes in social security in their lifetimes?
WHAT IS BEING DONE TO ADDRESS THE SOCIAL SECURITY PROBLEM?
In places like the United Kingdom, governments have begun to prefund their Social Security plans. In the United States, prefunding is being considered, and so are other solutions like infusions from general revenue and increases to payroll tax.
Social Security is seen as too important of a safety net for millions of American workers to risk losing. If small changes to the Social Security system are made now, they’ll go a long way toward ensuring that drastic measures don’t become necessary in the future.
Here are a group of questions I feel need to be answered:
Q: I’m 25 years old. If nothing is done to change Social Security, what can I expect to receive in retirement benefits from the program?
A: Unless changes are made, when you reach age 63 in 2042, benefits for all retirees could be cut by 27 percent and could continue to be reduced every year thereafter. If you lived to be 100 years old in 2079 (which will be more common by then), your scheduled benefits could be reduced by 33 percent from today’s scheduled levels. See the Trustees Report
Q: Should I count on Social Security for all my retirement income?
A: No. Social Security was never meant to be the sole source of income in retirement. It is often said that a comfortable retirement is based on a “three-legged stool” of Social Security, pensions and savings. American workers should be saving for their retirement on a personal basis and through employer-sponsored or other retirement plans.
Q: Does Social Security have dedicated assets invested for my retirement?
A: Social Security is largely a “pay-as-you-go” system with today’s taxpayers paying for the benefits of today’s retirees. Money not needed to pay today’s benefits is invested in special-issue Treasury bonds.
Q: Is there really a Social Security trust fund?
A: Yes. Presently, Social Security collects more in taxes than it pays in benefits. The excess is borrowed by the U.S. Treasury, which in turn issues special-issue Treasury bonds to Social Security. These bonds totaled $1.5 trillion at the beginning of 2004, and Social Security receives more than $80 billion annually in interest from them. However, Social Security is still basically a “pay-as-you-go” system as the $1.5 trillion is a small percent of benefit obligations.
Social Security’s Future Q: I hear that Social Security has a big financial problem? Why?
A: Social Security’s financing problems are long term and will not affect today’s retirees and near-retirees, but they are very large and serious. People are living longer, the first baby boomers are five years from retirement, and the birth rate is low. The result is that the worker-to-beneficiary ratio has fallen from 16-to-1 in 1950 to 3.3-to-1 today. Within 40 years it will be 2-to-1. At this ratio there will not be enough workers to pay scheduled benefits at current tax rates.
Q: What will happen if Social Security is not changed?
A: If Social Security is not changed, payroll taxes will have to be increased, the benefits of today’s younger workers will have to be cut, or massive transfers from general revenues will be required. Social Security’s Chief Actuary states, “If benefits were reduced to meet the shortfall in revenue for the combined program, the reduction would need to be 27 percent starting with the exhaustion of the Trust Fund in 2042 and would rise to 32 percent for 2078. Alternatively, if additional revenue were provided beginning in 2042, revenue equivalent to a payroll tax rate increase of about 3.1 percentage points (from 12.4 percent under current law to about 15.5 percent) would be needed for the year. The additional revenue needed for 2043 would be equivalent to a payroll tax rate increase of about 4.5 percentage points for the year. Thereafter, the amount of additional revenue needed would gradually rise, reaching an amount equivalent to an increase in the payroll tax rate of about 5.9 percentage points for 2078 (or about 50 percent higher than today’s rate). See the Trustees Report
Q: How big is the future problem?
A: Social Security is not sustainable over the long term at present benefit and tax rates without large infusions of additional revenue. There will be a massive and growing shortfall over the 75-year period. Social Security’s Chief Actuary projects that in present-value dollars the total net Social Security cash flow for years 2004 through 2078 is projected to be nearly -$5.2 trillion. When the trust fund balances of $1.5 trillion at the beginning of 2004 are added to this value, we get a financial shortfall (or unfunded obligation) for the 75-year period of $3.7 trillion. This unfunded obligation indicates that if an additional $3.7 trillion had been added to the trust fund at the beginning of 2004, the program would have had adequate financing to meet the projected cost of benefits scheduled in current law over the next 75 years. See the Trustees Report
Q: If Social Security’s financial problem is so long term (negative cash flows not until 2018 and trust fund exhaustion in 2042), why do we need to fix it now?
A: As the Trustees of Social Security, the Comptroller General of the United States and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board have said, the sooner we address the problem, the smaller and less abrupt the changes will be. The independent, bipartisan Social Security Advisory Board has said: “As time goes by, the size of the Social Security problem grows, and the choices available to fix it become more limited.” Addressing the problem now will allow today’s younger workers planning for their retirement to have a better assurance of the future of Social Security. See the Trustees Report
The following is the link to the TRUSTEES REPORT: www.ssa.gov/OACT/TR/TR04/index.html
Published on Jun 11, 2017
See How Democrats Have Stolen From Working Americans, “History Lesson On Your Social Security” Going Viral
This “history lesson” is circulating about how Democrats have over time used social security to fund big government and it’s not pretty.
This is something the Democrats don’t want Americans to see. Well, Americans who work anyways…
History Lesson on Your Social Security Card
Just in case some of you young whippersnappers (& some older ones) didn’t know this.
It’s easy to check out, if you don’t believe it. Be sure and show it to your family and friends. They need a little history lesson on what’s what and it doesn’t matter whether you are Democrat or Republican. Facts are Facts.
Social Security Cards up until the 1980s expressly stated the number and card were not to be used for identification purposes. Since nearly everyone in the The United States now has a number, it became convenient to use it anyway and the message, NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION, was removed.
Two old Social Security cards with the “NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION” message.
Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat, introduced the Social Security (FICA) Program. He promised:
1.) That participation in the Program would be “Completely voluntary”,
No longer Voluntary
2.) That the participants would only have to pay 1% of the first $3,000 of their annual Incomes into the Program,
Now 7.65% on the first $90,000
3.) That the money the participants elected to put into the Program would be deductible from their income for tax purposes each year,
No longer tax deductible
4.) That the money the participants put into the independent ‘Trust Fund’ rather than into the general operating fund, and therefore, would only be used to fund the Social Security Retirement Program, and no other Government program, and,
Under Johnson the money was moved to the General Fund and Spent
.) That the annuity payments to the retirees would never be taxed as income.
Under Clinton & Gore up to 85% of your Social Security can be taxed
Since many of us have paid into FICA for years and are now receiving a Social Security check every month — and then finding that we are getting taxed on 85% of the money we paid to the Federal government to ‘put away’ — you may be interested in the following:
———— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— —-
Q: Which Political Party took Social Security from the independent ‘Trust Fund’ and put it into the general fund so that Congress could spend it?
A: It was Lyndon Johnson and the democratically controlled House and Senate.
Q: Which Political Party eliminated the income tax deduction for Social Security (FICA withholding?
A: The Democratic Party.
Q: Which Political Party started taxing Social Security annuities?
A: The Democratic Party, with Al Gore casting the ‘tie-breaking’ deciding vote as President of the Senate, while he was Vice President of the US
Q: Which Political Party decided to start giving annuity payments to immigrants?
AND MY FAVORITE:
A: That’s right!
Jimmy Carter and the Democratic Party.
Immigrants moved into this country, and at age 65, began to receive Social Security payments! The
Democratic Party gave these payments to them, even though they never paid a dime into it!— ———
Then, after violating the original contract (FICA), the Democrats turn around and tell you that the Republicans want to take your Social Security away!
And the worst part about it is uninformed citizens believe it!
If enough people receive this, maybe a seed of awareness will be planted and maybe changes will
In conclusion, I hope this report answers some of your questions on the social security situation we are now facing. It was not easy to find reliable sources. I hope you will watch the video, as it is a very important source. Hang in there, everyone. Keep fighting the good fight.