Seventy five years ago, FDR signed Social Security into law. Some Americans were apprehensive because of reasons similar to our current health care reform arguments. FDR, like several before him and many after (both Republicans and Democrats) unsuccessfully attempted to pass a national healthcare package.
Whenever I enter a senior housing facility, I know that the few dollars taken out of my check is well spent. Americans have an obligation to help take care of our senior citizens. These brave men and women are the Golden Generation that fought for the preservation of freedom not only here at home, but on the beaches of Normandy, in the fields of Korea, and more recently in Vietnam.
Today as we commemorate the start of Social Security, it seems that our old friend is going through some of the same financial woes everyday Americans are facing. My conservative friends bring up the great debate of whether Social Security will be available for our generation after we have paid into the system. They say that individuals should invest in a safety net for the golden years. I can agree that people should invest in personal accounts and plan for retirement so that they may live the dream of traveling, spending time with family or whatever it is that they have been daydreaming about while working for the last 30 or more years.
However, it is very important to think about friends and family members that live in subsidized senior housing and survive on, as low as, a whopping $300 a month. These are the same people that split prescription pills in half, foregoing needed medications, and wear the same clothes that were in their closet the day of their retirement party. These proud and noble seniors never complain while teaching the younger generation duty, honor, and dignity. All of the while somehow finding that notorious $10 bill to send to each of their grandchildren on their birthdays.
Just think about the medications, cable TV, new bed linens and the like that grandparents are putting off so that you can upgrade to the bigger popcorn or extra value meal after opening that dollar store birthday card that they put so much effort into procuring.
It may very well be that Social Security needs an overhaul. All programs in government and private business have to be reviewed and audited. It makes good fiscal sense and ensures accountability for all individuals involved. It also guarantees that we, as tax payers, are getting the biggest bang for our hard earned taxpayer bucks. It protects the interests of everyone involved. Some say that all government funded programs never work out. To them I ask; don’t you think that the military does an excellent job at protecting Americans? I do! I think that they are the best in the world and— the military is a government business. That’s right; it is totally funded by taxpayer money. That government program seems to be working rather well.
Everyone seems to have varying estimations of the problem—that is if one exists. Some say in less than 10 years Social Security will be giving out more than taking in, others say that it will take 40 years; others say that it won’t dry up at all and this debate is null and void. President Obama’s administration is currently taking a look at Social Security and their report is due out late this year. Hopefully this report will identify how we can balance taxes and benefits to a level in which we can all agree. I think that Americans can come together, figure out any problems, and come up with efficient and innovative solutions. This is an important step to showing citizens of all nations how a free nation solves a problem and a reminder to all Americans that our dream still endures.