In the preceding part of this book the attempt has been made to describe broadly the major American programs in the field of relief and social security with special emphasis on those features of the program that present issues of public policy. As one studies these separate programs, the fact becomes clear that three issues of public policy exist which are of fundamental importance. They are:
1. The issue of universal coverage. The American programs have so developed that millions of citizens are excluded from the benefits of social security systems despite the fact that directly and indirectly they are now being taxed to maintain them, and they will be more heavily taxed as the systems mature. In some instances, on the other hand, individuals who are not in need and have made only small contributions toward old-age and survivors nsurance are receiving benefits from it, the cost of which will greatly exceed their contributions. Because American governments have legislated piecemeal by categories without consideration of the field as a whole, they have created, sometimes at the behest of pressure groups, specially privileged classes. If it be assumed that social insurance is desirable and necessary, the country faces the problem of extending and broadening it so that possibly with supplemental devices it effects universal coverage.
2. The issue of comprehensiveness. The American programs have developed to give protection in the event of the happening of some of the common major contingencies. If need results from some other one of the common hazards the victim may be dependent on poorly planned, poorly administered, and poorly financed general public assistance. Elaborate and in some instances relatively costly programs have been developed to give protection against one hazard before anything ap


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Relief and Social Security
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