Sunday, April 17, 2005

What about the children?

Daniel Shorr writes in the Christian Science Monitor about a completely overlooked part of the Social Security debate currently going on.

In the current great debate about Social Security, you hear a lot about retirees and soon-to-retire baby boomers, not much about the 1 in 3 beneficiaries who receive support from other components of the program.

About 3.1 million children under 18 receive benefits because a parent has died or become disabled. Another 2.2 million children live in households where at least one adult receives Social Security benefits. For many families, Social Security is the primary, if not the only source of support, preventing many low-income families from falling into poverty. […]

The debate loses sight of the fact that Social Security was designed as a family insurance program. […]

When the Bush administration talks of introducing private investment accounts, it doesn't say how this would affect disabled younger workers who can't accumulate enough assets to start such an account.

It is very unlikely that someone who dies or becomes disabled will be able to provide for his children and spouse through savings. These are people who will have to be covered by the government in some way. Right now, they are covered through the Social Security System.


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