Share/Bookmark

Why Social Insurance?

By: E.J. Dionne, Jr.
Published: March 1999
Social Security Brief No. 6 ~ March 1999

Summary: Some believe that the strongest danger facing us is financial insolvency in our social insurance programs -- Social Security and Medicare. A larger danger is that we will forget why we have social insurance and why its preservation is necessary, not only to a civilized society, but also to the very market economy that has provided us so much wealth. Social insurance was a wise admission on the part of supporters of competitive economies that citizens would take the risks such economies require only if they are provided with a degree of security against old age, unemployment, the sudden death of a spouse and the vicissitudes of health. The basic idea behind Social Security, the need for collective provision against certain forms of insecurity, remains deeply popular despite the rise of the ideology of privatization.