SOCIAL SECURITY rcon.™^
Social Security — A Current Analysis
By Representative Robert W. Kean (R) of New Jersey*
Representative Kean lias heen called "Mr. Social Security" line to his
incessant efforts to broaden Social Security coverage on a sound hei-i-.
His plans for the future as a legislator include Sen-ieil Security for all.
with benefits based on ten years of earnings, and with extra benefits
for people who work pasl the age of sixty-five.
WHEN 1 first meule- u careful study
of our Social Security system it
bad been in existence for nceiilv
ten years. Il was no longer an experimental innovation, but had become em
integral part of our economy; however
I found tbut the system was full of inequities.
No changes bud been made since
1939. Only about half our workers were
in covered employment, umi benefits
wen- bused on tbe pre-war value of the
dollar, giving no consideration to the
inflation which bud taken place.
My study convinced me of the worth
of the program. Since then I have tried
lo guide improvements in the system in
the direction which would maintain its
value- lo ils beneficiaries, bul would ul
the- same time maintain sound principles
ami a sound financial structure.
Then- is dynamite in tin- program, for
voting increased benefit- ha- a strong
political appeal- especially in an election year; and tbe light to keep the
system sound, both financially and socially, will be unending.
In the past ten vcais strong attacks
which might have wrecked the system
have been made both from conservative
and radical elements, and in Irving lo
-te-e-i- a straight path I found mvsclf both
at limes eit odds and eil times bund in
hand with groups from both the left
and the right.
PRESENT AND PROJECTED BENEFITS
Let u- look eil the system a- it exists
today. About nine out of ten people- who
work for a living can lenek forward to
retirement benefits under the Federal
(lid "ige and Survivors Insurance program. Furthermore, nine out of ten
mothers and children are assured "I
monthly benefits in case of the death of
tin- family breadwinner.
Benefits for un individual may be u-
high us S108.S0 a month; for a married
couple, 8102.75 a month; for a widow,
<::il a month; and lor a widow with
minor children as much as 1200 a
•This address was given September 8, 19vs. during
the annual meeting of the Ceeuncil of State Chambers of Commerce en Atlantic ( 5-.. New Jersey.
.-\l tfie beginning of 1955 over seventy
million people were insure! under tin-
law, umi approximately thirty million
wt-ii- permanently insured, that is. they
will ultimately receive benefits even if
they do no more- work.
lu August, benefits were being paid
to ovei seven and u half million people.
Representative Robert W. Kean (R), of New Jersey, known at "Mr. Social Security."
These payments will total almosl fixi-
billion dollars in 1955. The fund will
receive more ibun five ami a half billion
dollars from Social Security taxes and
nearly live hundred million dollar- in
interest from its investments in iln- im-i
It i- estimated tbut by 1975 twcniv
years from now there will be more than
twenty million -Vmericans age 65 or
over und thai some sixteen and a half
million pee.pic will then be receiving
monthly Social Seem itv benefits.
The trust fund now i eensi-ls of twenty-
one billion dollars invested in government bonds. You can sec bow vast is the
Even minor changes in iln- law can
have a profound und far-reaching effect
on American life. To millions ol our
pe-eeple- the- system represents the ljt(.(| (
foundation of their own n-liii-nienl r
rarity, as well as the survivorshipltll| a(
tection of their dependents.
Our contributory Social SooiiritfUM,| j
Icm is founded on certain basic |'(a s.„.r
pies, I believe that they are sound. Vnditi
are these basic principles? u- So
First. I.e-ne-lils arc paid a- a '" \ ,.,
of right withoul a "means test." W^yste-m
and llieir employers have- paid 'N'av t\
emd the former are entitled to b*4lien I
whatever their linam inl situation f-j 1 >uI■ ■
Second, the program is l'maiicf'onil i
tin contributions Irom both cinp' This
anil employee on a percentage "-.reul...
roll. This insures that management-liisum
eunl lhe- ge-iie-reil public will leik'' 'aver
sponsible interest in the program, si,,.
Third, benefits arc related lo 'vice I
This principle is in accord tt'itniiisrs.
American system of free enterprise, p n.
incentive-. The worker who earns Vimei
gels more ieil Si
Fourth, benefit- are paid only I" Kpens
who have virtually retired. The sv'-lynniei
one by which benefits are paid
retirement, not a system to pay
tics eil et certain age.
Fifth, the program should be srtuin
luineil on us sound u financial l*** This
i- possible in any program whef'licilu
are so many unknown qu;iiiiiii''"'vi-ii-n
as how many aged people- there *>|| its
fifty years from now. whal will "ave t,
wage scale, what will be tbe veih't' ay e
dollar then, and so Forth. dual.-
I would like to discuss this till'1 id so
ciple first, for there have bee" lis,- a
attacks on the financial set-up. hich
Some have said that the- progra*%purti
not carry oul sound insurance r Hon,
pies because if the system were Inch
abolished today there is not **e an;
enough money in the trust fund ''cut.
ben. lit- to eell those who haV'icse
tribute.I. aV(' I'
However, the conception of ;,fl!ut 'I'
soundness as it applies to our ("'"steel
eunl Survivors Insurance system ,"L' "''
lid 'f its
) ' hid,
blv from tK?V1''
cept of actuarial soundness us i'
pliceihle to private insurance. "mot
The mosl important differeii'
to the facl that a social insura'** anv
tern can be assumed to he per|*t"v"(<' '
nature with u continuous flov
entrants ns a result of it- coml™''lhi
provision*. ' "
Vccordinglv. il may he -..i.i ||: '"" '
Old Vge and Survivors Insurant*''*1"
gram i- actuarially sound, if ''J ."
eietiieiii.il balance by reason ol
tbat future income from cmitriP
Facts Forum News, JaiiiuV'1'.