"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." -2 Chronicles 7:14

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Social Security

Below is an excerpt from my article in Smart Girl Nation, which came out earlier this week.  Hope you enjoy it!


Believe it or not, there was an economic period that was worse than this one. In 1929, before the stock market crash, unemployment was at 3.1%, sheer economic bliss. After the crash, unemployment continued to go up until in 1933, it was just under 25%. Drastic measures needed to be taken to turn this around. President Roosevelt instituted his New Deal, which created nine new government programs designed to boost the economy and lower unemployment rates. Social Security was the only one that did not fall in either of those categories.

There were a number of reasons we needed Social Security in the first place. The first was the disappearance of family homesteads and the appearance of “nuclear families.” For centuries, the tradition was that parents and children lived together on family farms. Children took over for parents, had children of their own and cared for their parents. Everyone lived on the same farm for generations. This meant that grandparents never worried about their financial future. After the Industrial Revolution, people left the family farm for work in cities and big factories, changing what had been in place for centuries. Now, seniors were responsible for their finances. What would happen once they became too old to work? Now Social Security comes in. Before it, American workers had three options: work until you drop, an option many chose; stop work on their own initiative or their employer retired them, suffering the economic consequences; or become a superannuated worker, someone kept on with reduced responsibilities and pay in place of retirement pension.

There was one more option that was not as commonly chosen, called institutionalization. Right up to the time Social Security passed, there were approximately 2,000 poorhouses in America. These were places seniors were sent for the crime of being old and too feeble to care and provide for themselves.


You'll be hearing more from me this weekend, I promise :)  I should have a post up on immigration soon.

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