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MICROECON - Group Paper (Collaboration) (09 APR 2006)

MICROECON - Group Paper (Collaboration) (09 APR 2006) -...

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Throughout history, humankind has been challenged with the economic hardships associated with illness, unemployment, and old age. Attempting to solve some of these economic hardships has been the focus of societies in countries throughout the globe. In the United States, the generally agreed upon solution to some of these problems was the establishment of a Social Security Program. This paper will examine the historical progression, formation, and detailed structure of the Social Security Program as well as national perceptions, global comparisons, the role of transfer funds in national economics, the characterization of Social Security as a program in crisis, and finally suggest possible solutions for the successful reformation of the program in American society. The historical progression of what we now recognize as Social Security is extensive and received influence by a number of states around the globe. In 1601, the British codified ideas about the responsibility of the state to provide for the welfare of its citizens. With the formation of the English Poor Laws, the progression towards modern Social Security began. As emigration from Britain to America increased during the Seventeenth Century, ideas and customs such as the English Poor Laws fused into American life. The battles for American Independence and the Civil War within America prompted many changes regarding social responsibility of the state to its citizens. Revolutionary War hero Thomas Paine blazed a trail in search of retirement security in the young democracy with his pamphlet of 1795 entitled Agrarian Justice. Though no employment of Paine’s ideas resulted immediately thereafter, debate ensued over solutions to the unavoidable economic problems of illness, unemployment, and old age. The mass loss of life and disability among soldiers resulting from the Civil War led
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to the Civil War Pension program of 1862. By 1910, Civil War veterans and their dependents were entitled to benefits to alleviate the economic hardships related to disability and old age, similar to some parts of the Social Security program not yet formed. War exposed the vulnerability of Americans to economic hardship; however, four demographic changes during the 1880s rendered the traditional systems of economic security increasingly unworkable.
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