PAD 510-Intro. To Public Policy Analysis
Dr. Thomas Walkington
December 11, 2014
Historical Perspective on Social Security The purpose of this paper is to critique a policy across two different presidential administrations. It begins with a historical perspective, followed by the social, economic, and political environments associated with molding the program. It will also identify a couple issues across two presidential administrations within the Social Security program.
Historical Perspective The Social Security Act of 1935 was intended for individuals to contribute to a central fund managed by government, and this fund is then used to provide income to individuals when they become unable to support themselves through their own labor (DeWitt, 2010). This Act provided monthly benefits from retiring, payable to persons 65 and older, to help support those no longer working, in order to, care for their families. In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt, won the Presidential Election, promising to get this nation back to where it was. Roosevelt’s best national success was “initiated in the New Deal which was designed to recover from the impacts of the New York Stock Exchange crash of 1929. The Second Deal was to reform, in which the administration sought to introduce with longer-lasting changes to the nation’s political economy” (DeWitt, 2010, p.3), thus birthing the Social Security Act. Over the years, the program was expanded to include child, spouse, and survivor benefits, health benefits, and increases in benefits as the economic status changed.
Social, Economic, and Political Environments
This was a time when people were dying younger (60 years old) than today, so men wanted to work for as long as their body would allow them, because they could not afford to stop working. By implementing this Act, it forced the “older Americans out of the work force to free up jobs for younger workers to ensure that buying power would remain strong in times of high unemployment” (Vance, 2013). Even though, this Act was not initiated until 1937, it gave the older citizens a hope of survival to look forward to. The Social Security Act has been amended throughout the years to accommodate the ever changing world by, increasing monthly funds, adding a certain criteria of people, and to include health insurance to help with medications and doctor’s bills. In 1939, the first amendment took place to include dependent and survival benefits. A wife of a retired worker, widows, and dependent children of deceased workers received 50 percent average wages (Martin & Weaver, 2005). This endorsed the women who had no income, due to not being in the work field, a new purpose. The economy was hurting for all Americans, especially the senior citizens who did not have children to help take care of them. Only half of the applicants in the program were covered due to limitations requiring only workers in trade and business. Therefore, there was still homelessness among certain populations. The political aspect was a presidential election, and a need for a turnaround from the Depression, as well as, a new era in goods and services among the nation. Policies were needed for the welfare of children, disabled persons, public health, and unemployment. The Social Security Act help aid those people who had working members of their families, and those who could not provide for themselves.
Critique the policy for its effectiveness of the time
The Social Security Act of 1935 was a great policy for the time due to the Great Depression and the future of a working country. President Franklin Roosevelt saw that as the economy was slowly returning, but businesses were not hiring older men back, and women were not fully accepted in the workforce yet. Key elements in the policy during this time were for retired workers, spouse age 65+ and children under 18 of retired workers, widowed mothers with children along with widows