Social Security at 80: Lessons Learned
Going to the Poor House was a solution before Social Security.
“….Social Security has transformed the nation. Before Social Security, growing old was something to be dreaded. In 1912, a writer described what it was like to grow old:
“After the age of sixty has been reached, the transition from non-dependence to dependence is an easy stage – property gone…ambitions collapsed, with death a final and welcome end to it all – such conclusions inevitably sweep wage-earners from the class of hopeful independent citizens into that of the helpless poor.”
The vulnerability of workers which underlay those words confronts today’s workers and their families,, as well. Almost all Americans are dependent on wage income, and so are vulnerable to the loss of those wages. To have even some small measure of economic security, workers and their families need insurance against the loss of those wages. To protect against lost wages due to disability, they need disability insurance. Workers who have dependents need life insurance. Those who are fortunate enough to live to old age need steady, guaranteed income that they cannot outlive. Social Security provides protection in all three eventualities – death, disability, and old age.”