Sample Essay Paper on Social Security Programs

Social Security Programs

President Franklin D. Roosevelt is remembered for initiating social security program way back in the 1930s. He envisioned the program as a means of eliminating the poverty problem from the elderly Americans’ lives so as to enable them maintain their dignity and sense of independence (Shally-Jensen, 2011, p. 291). It achieved this by granting a monthly benefit to persons aged 65 and above that are no longer in employment. The amount paid to a beneficiary was based on his/her payroll tax contributions. The F.D. Roosevelt idea of the program had emerged from the experience during the Great Depression, which had impoverished most of the American household, with the hardest hit being the elderly. Some modifications instituted to the program later also advanced aid to the dependants’ children, the disabled and other individuals adversely affected by the disabilities, and also provided grants to state s to facilitate delivery of medical care to individuals under the program’s coverage.

Social security program has proved to be among the most successful and effective domestic programs in the United States’ (U.S) history. Although it has been amended severally, its core principles have remained largely the same. However, the unemployment insurance is presently covered by a joint state-federal program, rather than entirely by the federal government under the Social Security Act (SSA). SSA presently provides for Medicare, a program extending health care benefits to certain categories of people, such as the disabled and elderly persons with low incomes. Although the program has been previously beneficial and successful, its viability within the next 20-30 years is questionable (Kankam-da-Costa, 2012, p. 178-179). This is mainly attributed to the increasing costs of running the program, which would surpass the payments made to the Fund as from the year 2016, and the increasing life expectancy of Americans (Herendeen, 2008, p. 253). This implies that the government would be injecting more funds the program, a figure that would be higher than what it collects from the taxes. Therefore, there is need for urgent changes to the program to prevent the system from collapsing because of bankruptcy.

To improve the viability of the viability of the social security program for next generation, there is need to institute several changes to the program in order to reduce the costs of running it. Firstly, the costs of running the program can be reduce d considerably by raising the retirement age to 70. This would enable individuals to continue supporting themselves for an additional five years, as most of them are often energetic and productive when they retire at age 65. The strategy would also work to reduce the number of people supported by the program, thereby resulting in reduced costs of running the program. Furthermore, since the population that would be approaching retirement age during the period is relatively large, increasing the retirement age would prevent the system from plunging into a crisis (Ellis, 2010, p. 47-48). Finally, research shows that an individual’s health deteriorates exponentially after attaining age 70. Letting the people retire at such an age would reduce the costs associated with health care services as individuals and employers would be contributing significantly to such costs until the individual turns 70. The Medicare program is among the most costly programs to run, thus raising the retirement age would reduce the number of elderly people, whose health care costs are normally higher. Secondly, the federal government can improve the program’s viability through raising the payroll tax to ensure that it collects enough money to support the program over the coming decades. However, the raising of taxes strategy should be approached with much caution as it would likely result in adverse outcomes. For example, the decline in the future workers’ willingness such taxes because of viewing it as a political scheme would actually lead to the collapse of the entire program or system. The move can also lead to a decrease in the working population, thereby compelling the government to spend enormous resources importing labor from outside. All these actions by workers and the government would possibly have adverse social, economic, and political outcomes that would make the system crumble. To avoid this, the government should embark on a third strategy, which is, developing a policy that would attract sponsors or donors from the private sector, such as offering them tax credits, which would enhance the program’s sustainability/viability in the long-term (Lader, 2008, p. 335).

The implementation of these recommendations should be undertaken with much caution as it can have potentially adverse political, social, and economic implications. For example, the raising retirement age to 70 or above would potentially spark protests by the youth, some of whom have been complaining of lack of unemployment or meaningful employments. Raising the payroll tax would reduce the people’s purchasing power, consequently reducing their standards of living, which can be a recipe for national protests. It may push individuals into informal business generating activities that can be illegal and/or not taxable. Therefore, successful implementation of the recommendations requires comprehensive consultation amongst the key stakeholders involved to come up with a solution that is acceptable to the majority, if not all stakeholders. This can be actualized through extensive communication amongst stakeholders, adequate and effective public awareness regarding the importance of implementing the changes, and support from both the public and private sectors, such as strengthening the culture of providing assistance or support across social and institutional levels.





Ellis, C.W. (2010). The resurrection of America: A return to constitutional roots. Durham, CT: Strategic Book Publishing.

Herendeen, J. B. (2008). Issues in economics: An introduction. Lanham [Md.: University Press of America, Inc.

Kankam-da-Costa, V. (2012). Who is fit to rule america in the twenty-first century and beyond?: The twenty-first century and beyond american enlightenment. Bloomington, IN: Xlibris Corp.

Lader, C. (2008). AP United States government & politics. Hauppauge, N.Y: Barron’s Educational Series.

Shally-Jensen, M. (2011). Encyclopedia of contemporary American social issues. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO.