Republicans who attack Social Security or seek to gut or privatize it refer to it as an “entitlement,” ignoring that nearly all working people make Social Security payments, and retirement payments are calculated in part on the amount contributed during their working years.
Also ignored is the support Social Security provides to dependent children after the death of a bread-winning parent, and to those among us who are disabled. A recurring theme of Republican policy positions is to attack programs that provide for the common good.
My father died in 1957, leaving my mother, then a 37-year-old housewife with a high school education and limited financial resources, as the sole provider for his four young children. I was the oldest at 12.
My mother found a job in a stationery store and, in addition to her modest salary, she received annual Social Security payments of approximately $1,200 under a program providing aid to dependent children. We were eligible for these payments due to Social Security payments made by my father before his death.
Twelve hundred dollars doesn’t seem like a lot today, but it enabled my mother to make ends meet. Coupled with the modest cost of attending state-supported University of Massachusetts, these payments enabled me to have a successful career as an attorney in Manhattan, and my brother to establish a thriving dental practice in Chicago. This aid also enabled one of my sisters to have a successful career as a health facility administrator and the other to have a successful career as a paralegal in New York City.
Over the years, my siblings and I have paid millions of dollars in federal, state and local real estate and school taxes, including, of course, Social Security payments. The investment in my father’s young children under Social Security, and by our state-supported education, yielded a robust return on investment.
Rather than calling Social Security an entitlement, as if it were a gift, Republicans should acknowledge it is a sound investment paid for in large part by working men and women.
Republicans are masters of deceptive labeling. Their major legislative accomplishment during the Trump administration was to give a massive tax break to the ultra-wealthy. Republicans come up woefully short on supporting programs providing for the common good and investment in our country’s human capital, our children.
Investments in our children through Aid to Families with Dependent Children, early childhood education, the child tax credit, SNAP, parental leave and similar support programs are without doubt among the soundest investments our country can make.
Human capital should not be wasted. After all our children will be the taxpayers of tomorrow.
One fine body…