Social Security Is Vital for Whole Families, Not Just Elders

By Butts, Donna | Aging Today, March/April 2012 | Go to article overview

Social Security Is Vital for Whole Families, Not Just Elders


Butts, Donna, Aging Today


When trying to cut programs that benefit all generations, politicians often evoke the next generation, saying cuts are needed so our young are not hampered with overwhelming debt. But the decision not to invest in today's youth foretells of a generation ill-prepared to innovate and outperform in a competitive global arena.

A 2010 poll by Harris Interactive, commissioned by Generations United, found the majority of Americans don't believe investments in one generation deprive another. Rather, they believe such investments help us all. The poll also found Americans believe politicians unfairly pit one generation against another, and many people don't have opportunities to interact with other generations (gu.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=3eJS8M xzD9Q%3databid=157amid=606). Yet interaction between generations is essential to protect the commitment each generation has to another.

It's Not a Fight; It's a Family

Once, while traveling in Cambodia, I visited a temple and was greeted by two smiling temple keepers. They were both barely 5 feet tall, with few teeth, but many laugh lines. When our tour guide cautioned me not to beat a sacred drum, one of the temple keepers came over, grabbed a padded stick and banged away. We laughed while the guide shrugged. It never occurred to me that the two temple keepers, ages 89 and 91, were working there because that was their only road to income security in old age. Of the three avenues available- family support, temple-keeping or begging on the streettaking care of the temple was the most viable option.

In America, there is no temple-keeping equivalent for retirement. Through Social Security benefits and other social insurance programs, we have lowered the poverty rate among older adults to about half that of our nation's children. Yet what should be heralded as a success is often cast as an injustice between generations. Rather than taking a more expansive view of how we can lower the poverty rate for children, some falsely believe if benefits are cut for elders, the freed funds will be directed to children. It doesn't work that way.

We must find new ways to lower the overall poverty rate, while upholding progress we've made with elders. Our current age-segregated policymaking results in advocates battling each other over crumbs. Older and younger would be better served if policymakers recognized how intertwined the generations are and how they can be engaged as resources for each other.

Fortunately, as those Harris poll results indicate, most Americans understand that it's not a fight; it's a family. They recognize that social supports designed to help keep one family member safe often benefit all. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Social Security Is Vital for Whole Families, Not Just Elders
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.