Essay about The Great Depression and Social Security

Essay about The Great Depression and Social Security

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The Great Depression the worst economic crisis of the twentieth century. Beginning with the stock market crash in 1929, this economic catastrophe culminated in a skyrocketing unemployment rate of over 25% with massive poverty never before seen in the United States. Business investment was down 90% and if you had the misfortune to have put your money in a bank that went bust, you were wiped out. Hardest hit by this economic calamity were the elderly. In response the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt launched a series of programs called the New Deal. The purpose of these programs were to provide resources to protect the general welfare of citizens in hopes of decreasing the percentage of unemployment, stabilizing the banking markets, reigniting the economy and providing a boost in public morale. Of the numerous initiatives that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt established Social Security was one of the most effective programs enacted by the United States government during the Great Depression and one that has continued to have a powerful and enduring effect on the country through to the present day.
What is Social Security and how does it operate? Social Security is a form of social insurance meant to protect and to aid individuals during periods of difficulty such as old age, unemployment and death. It is a social insurance program funded though taxes on ones income. Social Security is a broad term that can be broken down into several different categories. It may refer to unemployment benefits, health insurance for the aged and disabled, temporary assistance for needy families, and grants to states for medical assistance programs. In the past, it served as a form of social insurance rather than welfare assist...


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...ortant improvement in social justice at a time when individuals were giving up hope and becoming disenchanted with the American system of government and economic organization. “The established legislation redefined the relationship between government and society.” (Béland 94). The result was a new notion of social obligation. “The Social Security Act of 1935 created permanent measures that have enduring social, economic and political consequences.” (Béland 94) Today, most Americans continue to see Social Security as an economic program providing financial support for retirees in their golden years. However, it is also an enduring social reform in which we citizens take care of each other. Never again will presidents receive letters stating, “I’m a 60 year old widow greatly in need of medical aid, food and fuel. I pray you, have pity on me” ("Social Security Online”)

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