Readings in Social Security

By William Haber; Wilbur J. Cohen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
THE PROBLEM OF
INSECURITY

"… The merits of social security, even in its most modest form, have yet to be tested in the downward swing of the business cycle. Since only minimal demands have been made upon the system thus far, there is little basis for judging whether a full-scale program of state-provided welfare is either necessary or practicable for the long run in this country."

Virgil Jordan in Foreword to Walter Sulzbach, GERMAN EXPERIENCE
WITH SOCIAL INSURANCE. National Industrial Conference Board,
1947, p. v.

"… even though we achieve the goal of full employment and full production it is still necessary in a system of private enterprise such as ours to have a program designed to eliminate want, because the working people of this country will still be confronted with the great economic hazards of sickness, physical disability, want, old age, and death as well as intermittent unemployment. All of these great hazards mean interruption of income to the individual family and still spell want in a land of plenty."

A. J. Altmeyer, "Statement Before the Advisory Council on Social
Security, Senate Finance Committee,"
DECEMBER 4, 1947.


INTRODUCTION

THERE ARE NOT just two points of view on social security; there are many points of view. Differences arise over such matters as the amount of benefits to be provided, the methods of financing the costs, the methods of administration, the relationship of public to private plans, and numerous other problems. But basic to any consideration of how any program of social security should be formulated and administered, is the extent and importance of the problem of insecurity. The solutions recommended by many persons are, in large part, deter

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