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The Predictable SurpriseUnraveling the U.S. Retirement System$
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Sylvester J. Schieber

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199890958

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199890958.001.0001

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Early Concerns Prove Nagging and Persistent

Early Concerns Prove Nagging and Persistent

(p.42) 4 Early Concerns Prove Nagging and Persistent
The Predictable Surprise

Sylvester J. Schieber

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines early concerns about Social Security, particularly worries about paying welfare benefits through the program and misusing its trust fund. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s original intention for the system to accumulate a much larger share of Social Security payroll taxes than it had done, did not happen, resulting in greater subsidization of retirement benefits during the program’s start-up years. The original intent of the Social Security Act of 1935 was for income redistribution to persist even as the system matured. Spending payroll taxes as they were collected had profound implications for the program. It also impacted on the baby boom and subsequent generations of workers. The chapter also considers the debate over “banking” versus “social insurance” principles to finance Social Security, along with the early change in directions on program financing and benefit structure through amendments to the Social Security Act.

Keywords:   welfare benefits, Social Security Act, Social Security, trust fund, payroll taxes, retirement benefits, income redistribution, banking, social insurance, financing

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