First of all I must admit I’ve been a passive part of our society in that I haven’t really paid attention to what was going on in the world around me, that outside of my direct life. Now I know everyone has a social security card and we all pay into a retirement account through employers thus known of as social security. I have heard this and that here and there about the background of social security, but I truly didn’t know much of anything about the history behind our national old-age insurance program until I did the research for this paper.
The search of our social security history took me back to 1601 to the English “poor laws”, an Elizabethan law, that had the first idea the citizens welfare was the states responsibility. Though the law saw the government’s duty to provide welfare to the poor it also viewed the poor as being outcast and treated them as such. This was the fundamental structure the pilgrims brought with them to the new world. Because there was a great stigma with receiving welfare aid we relied mostly on our large networks of friends and family for help in times of need and when that wasn’t possible some were able to receive help from churches.
... migrants. The government in Australia have made social security and other relevant welfare benefits available to most migrants upon their ... migrants. Presently, however, changes made to the laws regarding social security payments have severely reduced the effectiveness of this mechanism ... they are unemployed or on low incomes, they have poor English skills, and discrimination can occur in tenancy ...
Colonial America had many of the same ideas and customs they knew from England. They made their laws similar to those of Queen Elizabeth in that they had local taxation to help provide support for the poor, they determined the worthiness of the poor, and made relief as unpleasant as possible to discourage reliance on the aid. In many cases those receiving the aid were treated as second class citizens at best they could lose their property, right to vote, right to move, and in some cases they were required to were a big “P” on their clothes to show their status. One of the first people to propose an idea for retirement security was Thomas Paine. In his last great pamphlet published in the winter of 1795, Agrarian Justice; he called for the establishment of a public system of economic security for the new nation. Thomas Paine had a lot of insight some of which was as follows; “Liberty and Property are words expressing all those of our possessions which are not of an intellectual nature” and “It is wrong to say God made rich and poor; He made only male and female, and He gave them the earth for their inheritance.” Now I have pointed these out because they intrigued me as I feel we have become a society focused on our possessions and monetary things so much so that we have forgotten the important things in life.
It is surprising to me to find that the idea of social security has been around in so many different forms and for so long. With the 1601 Poor Laws, the idea of Agrarian Justice 1795, the Civil War pension program in 1862, the Company Pensions in 1882, to the Social Security Act of 1935. The civil war pension program was close to that of the Social Security in that it provided benefits to disabled war veterans and to their widows and orphans. Still this form of “social security” was not available to the general public and was only allotted to those whose disabilities were a direct result of military duty. The company pension down fall was simply the amount of workers supporting it where inadequate.
Huge changes took place in America that helped transform the then existing foundations such as the following:
... and the progressive politics of Roosevelt were considered liberal. Thus, because the Great Depression quickly changed America's view ... occasionally supporting similar policies. Because the Great Depression occurred during Hoover's term as president, in the public's mind, ... public purpose policies of Teddy Roosevelt, the laissez-faire policies of these presidents seemed extremely liberal. The invention ...
• The Industrial Revolution
• The urbanization of America
• The fading of the “extended” family
• An obvious increase in life expectancy
• The great Depression
The stock market crash “Black Tuesday” of 1929 was the start of the longest depression in our history. This was the third depression of the modern era, following previous economic collapses in the 1840s and again in the 1890s.
Unemployment exceeded 25%, many banks fail; the GNP fell by half, and most everyone was affected by the great depression. The great depression of the 30s was not only an American phenomenon but its effects were felt worldwide.
With the economic and social stress of the great depression President Roosevelt new something had to be done and fast for the good of the people. Behind President F.D. Roosevelt early in his first term in office were a group of intellectuals known as the “brain trust” who were essential in creating the New Deal. Roosevelt’s goals were relief, recovery and reform once he took office as president. The new deal created new jobs for many American people through the creation of the Works Progress Administration (WPA)along with many other programs and legislation. The president was very connected with the average American person through his “fireside chats” over the radio speaking on topics of concern. A flood of letters started to come into official’s offices in Washington by the thousands from people across the country to the President, to Mrs. Roosevelt, to almost any one whose names were familiar to the general public.
With concern for the elderly’s economic welfare flooding into Washington by the thousands action was demanded and required quickly. In June of 1934 President Roosevelt answered many prayers and letters with his public announcement of his intention to provide a program for social security. With that he created a Committee on Economic Security (CES) to study the entire problem of economic insecurity and make recommendations on how to solve this epidemic. In a little over six months the CES had developed a report and had a detailed proposal prepared. The Social Security Act was signed into law on August 14, 1935.
... stocks to their heirs. When Social Security was launched in 1935, in the middle of the Great Depression, there was no way to ... 40 years before paying out the first benefits. Instead, President Franklin D. Roosevelt opted to tax active workers and use that money ... overlook an even more important fact: No law of God or man says that Social Security benefits can only be paid from the ...
“We can never insure one hundred percent of the population against one hundred percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life, but we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age.”–
President Roosevelt upon signing Social Security Act
Now this new Social Security Act of 1935 is not the same as what it has come to be known today. In the original version the monthly benefits were to be paid only to the persons over 65 no longer working. The law also provided unemployment insurance, aid to dependent children, and grants to states for medical care. The Social Security Board was created to establish, enroll, and track workers into the program. The first year was all about the set up, recruitment, informing the public and training of personnel. One of the biggest first tasks was registering the works for their SSN. By January 1937 the first FICA taxes were collected and these revenues were placed in trust funds.
The Social Security Act is the longest standing law in our history. I believe it is due to our ability to adopt it over the years. With our changing society many amendments have been made to the law. With each amendment we come closer to getting a round more comprehensive coverage. The problem is our society is changing at a faster rate than the laws can be adjusted. So here we are now with a yet another system on the verge of failing. In our modern society we have a more diverse family structure than the original version of the law sees. There are many changing factors to be considered:
• divorce rates in America of 51%
• gay and lesbian couples
• rising cost of living
• growth in population
• our aging society
Social Security was never intended to be to sole source of income for anyone and now with the baby boomers reaching retirement age we are in a world of heart if something is not done to bring our laws of all kinds up to par with our modern society. (Social Security) (Our Decuments) (SSA history)
FDR. Quotations. 7 april 10 .
Our Decuments. 5 april 10 .
... which laws and social policy affect family life. Social policies consider the actions that the government take to make changes in society. Social ... policies are developed to help tackle social issues. There are some different views ... brought up to respect their parents and social institutions such as the law. They are opposed to family diversity and ...
Social Security. 5 April 10 .
SSA history. 01 Feb. 2010. 6 April 2010 .