On August 14, 1935 the Social Security Act became law during the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, with Senator Robert F. Wagner of New York and Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins key figures in promoting its passage.
For the first time, there was the pledge of providing senior citizens with some financial support in their later years.
Additionally, widows and orphans, and the disabled would be covered under the law.
The US was behind Germany, Great Britain, and France, industrialized nations which had enacted such legislation decades earlier.
There was bipartisan support from progressive Republicans and from Democrats, but more conservative Republicans set as their goal to destroy Social Security, as early as the Presidential Election of 1936.
But Social Security has survived eight decades, and has done so much good for the nation, and its most vulnerable citizens.
Even now, there are proposals to change Social Security, as was done in 1983, by a deal between President Ronald Reagan and House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, raising the retirement to age 66 and 67 for full benefits, depending on year of birth.
Now there is the call to raise the retirement age further, and cut benefits over the long haul, bitterly opposed by progressives and Democrats. Also, George W. Bush tried to privatize part of Social Security, which failed of enactment in 2005, but again is being promoted by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.
The tax base has been raised, but even now, only the first $118,500 is taxed, and many feel there should be no limit on the tax base, as that allows those who make much higher incomes to avoid further taxation, and putting the burden on the average American who does not earn more than $118,500.
The point is that by raising the tax base to unlimited income would insure the long term survival of Social Security.
It is essential to insure that the most successful “Safety Net” program in American history continued to survive and prosper!