An Extraordinary Time » How We Got to Where We Are and How We Are Shaping Our Future

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Social Security


On August 14, 1935 President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into Law.


At that time, in 1930, the census reported that 5.4% of the population,was over 65 years old.


Due to advances in medicine and baby boomers coming of age today in the US, in 2000, 12.4% of the population is over 65 years of age.


In 2030, it is projected that over 20% of the population, will be age 65 and older.


As social security funds are expected to run out, President Bush proposed younger workers be allowed to divert some of their Social Security payroll taxes into private investment accounts.This idea garnered little support from democrats or the public. Three generations of Seattle women share their views on what social security means to them.


Mary Bess Kelly, 85  (in photo)

Tom, my husband, has been in Columbia Lutheran Home now for over 3 years and is getting very excellent care and I try to get here everyday and help feed him his lunch.  And then wheel him down the hall.   We listen to his favorite music of the big band era.  When he was playing as a young man in dance bands, he had bands of his own and loves this music.  It seems to bring back wonderful memories because he does respond to it and he doesn’t respond much to anything else at all.


(Social Security is)  a nice handy thing to have of course after your 65 however I’m worried about the future of it.  I think its going to be a major problem now that the present generation is aging.  I don’t think Bush’s plan of private investment is a good idea.


Diana McKinney, 52  (Mary Bess’ niece talking about her own parents)

Until my father died 4 months ago I didn’t know really anything about how the social security system worked.  It doesn’t come with an instruction booklet.  Had I known a few things like “you can only have $2000 in your name I would’ve… they didn’t have very much but now they have nothing.  I could’ve done some things ahead of time and I didn’t ‘cuz I didn’t know.


Lindsey McKinney, 20 (Mary Bess’ grandniece)

I was in Japan last summer and I had the opportunity to stay with some families. When your in a family situation, everybody lives in the same house.  The Grandparents took care of the kids while the parents went off to work and fixed dinner and it wasn’t like you got old and didn’t contribute to society anymore.


With the current social security program for my generation its almost harming us to contribute because with president Bush’s current plan to privatize it there’s not going to be any money left over of our money that we’re already paying in there for us to get it.

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