Social Security was never meant to be something to be relied upon for retirement funds. Passed in 1935 as a part of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal program, it soon became entrenched within American politics.
The program was essentially a forced version of budgeting during the turmoil of the Great Depression. By law, the federal government required employees to give them a certain percentage of paychecks. After a while, this amount of money would accumulate into a fund that could be used by the employee. The fund was never intended to be a permanent fixation in the federal budget, but as people came to be dependent on it as a means for retirement funds, the more strained Social Security became.
Today, Social Security poses an incredible challenge to politicians and the Office of the Treasury. As the Baby Boomers, those born in the post-World War Two population spurt, age, the American population also ages on the average. This means that since a large portion of the American population is made up by the Baby Boomer generation, as it ages and retires, Social Security funding will be stretched to the breaking point.
Presently it is normal for Congresses to push a significant amount of tax payer money into the fund in order to sustain it, as Social Security is headed for bankruptcy. As more and more people from the Baby Boomer generation retire, they demand their money from the program. It is currently one of many entitlement programs that cannot be sustained.
There is a great debate on how to fix Social Security. One way would be to terminate the program, have the IRS and Congress return the funds to each taxpayer, and then rely on banks and employers to provide retirement funding. However, there are opponents of this plan, who believe that if Social Security were to be terminated altogether, they then will not have retirement funding. Those opponents should understand, though, that Social Security is only a type of forced budgeting, and if they were to budget a certain amount of their paychecks themselves and not leave it to the federal government the results would be the same.
People must have the responsibility to budget for their retirement themselves. Under this rubric, it would cut the middleman, the federal government, out of the equation. It would also free up funding so that Congress could spend taxpayer money elsewhere.
Social Security, while providing benefits to countless in America, is also a source of unsustainable debt.