COVERED: a week-by-week look at the political and legislative developments that led to the creation of Medicare and Medicaid 50 years ago. Bob Rosenblatt, Academy senior fellow and former Los Angeles Times Washington correspondent will report on the people and the maneuvers that led to this major expansion of social insurance.
Are you interested in learning more about Social Security: Just the Facts? (If you have not seen the video, click to watch below.) This page provides more information and lists additional resources for exploring each topic.
“Social Security is insurance.”
Social insurance encompasses broad-based systems that help workers and their families pool risks to avoid loss of income due to retirement, death, disability, or unemployment, and to ensure access to health care. In the case of Social Security, it covers workers for the risks that go hand-in-hand with getting older but are out of one’s control, affect all of us, and are difficult to plan for.
“The retirement costs of the baby boomers are mostly paid for.”
Yearly surpluses have been accumulating in the trust fund since 1984. Social Security has collected more in revenue than it has paid out in benefits, creating substantial reserves for the retirement of the baby boomers.
“A large majority of Americans—even across party lines and age groups—don’t mind paying for Social Security because it provides security & stability to the people who get it.”
Many public opinion polls have found that Americans draw a connection between the Social Security taxes they pay and the value they get for themselves, for their families, and for their broader communities. Moreover, working Americans also express willingness to pay more if that is what it will take to preserve Social Security for future generations. Large majorities—across party lines (88% of Democrats; 83% of independents; and 74% of Republicans) and generations (77% of Generation Y; 80% of Generation X; 84% of Baby Boomers; and 90% of the Silent Generation)—agree that “it is critical that we preserve Social Security for future generations even if it means increasing Social Security taxes paid by working Americans.”
“The average retirement benefit is modest, $1,230 a month. Yet benefits are the main income for most seniors.”
Social Security’s benefits are modest, both in absolute terms and in terms of the percentage of wages replaced. In light of the trillions of dollars of losses in savings and home equity experienced in the last few years, the adequacy of Social Security benefits is a subject of growing concern.