The Social Security Blanket: Full of Holes?

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The Social Security Act was enacted in 1935, and since then it has undergone numerous revisions and amendments. Today the act covers a wide range of benefit programs, including Medicare, unemployment compensation, and Supplemental Security Income. The major portion for which the Social Security Act has become known, however, is the Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program, or OASDI. While today the OASDI program is most frequently referred to as “Social Security,” it is only a thread in what has been called the “social safety net.” Therefore, throughout this paper, it should be understood that Social Security will be the term used to refer to all its encompassed programs as a group, as a matter of convenience. Recent budget controversy in Congress and the media has once again brought to the forefront the pressing desire for fiscal responsibility in the United States Government. Although Congress came to a compromise over the budget in the proverbial eleventh hour, the extra attention afforded to the budget issue has reignited a lingering controversy: is the current system of transfer payment programs a financially viable one, or should these programs be recognized as an economic burden? As new waves of retirees stream into the system, it has once more become necessary to consider whether or not the U.S. Government can truly afford to keep the implicit promises it has made, and if the next generation to reach retirement age will see the benefits that it pays for current claimants to enjoy. To begin with, it should be understood what the hallmarks of an “economic burden” are. Perhaps the most obvious point is that it should consume a large portion of funding. This distinction is awarded to the Social Security prog... ... middle of paper ... ...merica's Social Security System and How to Plan Now for Your Own Financial Survival. New York: Villard, 1991. 22. Print. Walsh, Mary W. “Social Security to See Payout Exceed Pay-In This Year.” The New York Times, 24 Mar. 2010. Web. 22 Apr. 2011. Office of Management and Budget. “Table S-3 Baseline Projection of Current Policy by Category.” Budget of the United States Government: Fiscal Year 2011. 6 Aug. 2010. Web. 25 Apr. 2011. Schieber, Sylvester J., and John B. Shoven. The Real Deal: the History and Future of Social Security. New Haven, Conn: Yale UP, 1999. 190. Print. Shenkman, Rick. “When Did Social Security Become the Third Rail of American Politics?” HNN. History News Network, 3 June 2005. Web. 24 Apr. 2011. Summers, Lawrence H. “Unemployment.” The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. Library of Economics and Liberty. Web. 23 Apr. 2011.

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