SHOW AUDIO: kpft_2014-04-16_2200, HISTORY OF SOCIAL SECURITY
Link is usually posted within about 72 hours of show broadcast.
Welcome to Thinkwing Radio with Mike Honig (@ThinkwingRadio), a listener call-in show (every Wednesday night from 10-11PM CT) on KPFT-FM 90.1 (Houston). My engineer and discussion partner is Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies).
Thinkwing Radio with Mike Honig is usually a call-in show. Whether you’re listening live on the radio or on the internet from anywhere in the world, when the show is live, we take calls at 713-526-5738. (Long distance charges may apply.)
For the purposes of this show, I operate on two mottoes:
- You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts;
- An educated electorate is a prerequisite for a democracy.
GUEST(S): You callers are the guests!
TOPIC: Open Forum
Last week, being near April 15th, we talked some about taxes. A couple of callers brought up the subject of payroll taxes which pay for Social Security. I feel like there’s some more conversation to have on this subject.
NOTE: This post is subject to update before and after the show.
Some of the links used for this show are BELOW the break:
SOURCES (Below the break) Not all topics discussed on tonight’s show:
- How Corporate Moderates Created the Social Security Act (…And Then Tried to Undermine It Later), by G. William Domhoff
- History of Social Security in the United States, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- The Social Security Act, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Social Security Act (1935), National Archives
- FDR’s Statement on Signing the Social Security Act,August 14, 1935
- FDR: “Let me warn you…” (1936 Campaign Speech) [Excerpt]
- U.S. Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins (1933 to 1945) , From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
NOTES FOR THE SHOW:
Last week, being near April 15th, we talked some about taxes. A couple of callers brought up the subject of payroll taxes which pay for Social Security.
I personally believe that if there was another president added to the Mount Rushmore monument, it would be Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Any Liberal, and most Americans, would agree that among his greatest achievements was the Social Security Act of 1935. When signing the Bill into law, FDR said, in part,
“The civilization of the past hundred years, with its startling industrial changes, has tended more and more to make life insecure. Young people have come to wonder what would be their lot when they came to old age. The man with a job has wondered how long the job would last…. We can never insure one hundred percent of the population against one hundred percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life, but we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age.” ~ FDR’s Statement on Signing the Social Security Act [Excerpt], August 14, 1935
Possibly more than any single piece of legislation, the Social Security act of 1935 changed the very fabric of life in the United States from that day forward. And Conservatives have been trying to change it, privatize it, minimize it, and in their dream of dreams, repeal it.
- FDR: “Let me warn you…” (1936 Campaign Speech) [Excerpt]
Citing Wikipedia’s entry: The Social Security Act was drafted during President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first term and enacted on August 14, 1935.
The Act was drafted by the President’s Committee on Economic Security, under U.S. Secretary of LaborFrances Perkins (1933 to 1945). Secretary Perkins was the first woman in American history to serve in a presidential Cabinet, and she became the longest-serving secretary of labor, from FDR’s first term in 1933 to his death in 1945.
Title II of The Act provided benefits to retirees and the unemployed, and a lump-sum benefit at death. Payments to current retirees are financed by a payroll tax on current workers’ wages, half directly as a payroll tax and half paid by the employer.
- Title I of the act also gave money to states to provide assistance to aged individuals
- Title III provided for unemployment insurance
- Title IV Aid to Families with Dependent Children
- Title V aid for Maternal and Child Welfare
- Title VI provided money for public health services
- Title X provided money for the blind 
Apparently, for reasons related to the constitutionality of the 1935 Act), the taxing provisions were in a separate title (Title VIII)
As part of Amendments made to the Social Security Act in 1939, the Title VIII taxing provisions were taken out of the Social Security Act and placed in the Internal Revenue Code and renamed the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Social Security payroll taxes are thus often referred to as “FICA taxes.”
Dates of coverage for various workers
- 1935 All workers in commerce and industry (except railroads) under age 65.
- 1939 Age restriction eliminated; seamen, bank employees added; additional domestic workers and food-processing workers removed
- 1946 Railroad and Social Security earnings combined to determine eligibility for and amount of survivor benefits.
- 1950 Regularly employed farm and domestic workers. Nonfarm self-employed (except professional groups). Federal civilian employees not under retirement system. Americans employed outside United States by American employer. Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands. At the option of the State, State and local government employees not under retirement system. Nonprofit organizations could elect coverage for their employees (other than ministers).
- 1951 Railroad workers with less than 10 years of service, for all benefits. (After October 1951, coverage is retroactive to 1937.)
- 1954 Farm self-employed. Professional self-employed except lawyers, dentists, doctors, and other medical groups. Additional regularly employed farm and domestic workers. Homeworkers. State and local government employees (except firemen and policemen) under retirement system if agreed to by referendum. Ministers could elect coverage as self-employed.
- 1956 Members of the uniformed services. Remainder of professional self-employed except doctors. By referendum, firemen and policemen in designated States.
- 1965 Interns. Self-employed doctors. Tips.
- 1967 Ministers (unless exemption is claimed on grounds of conscience or religious principles). Firemen under retirement system in all States.
- 1972 Members of a religious order subject to a vow of poverty.
- 1983 All federal civilian employees hired after 1983; members of Congress, the President and Vice-President and federal judges; all employees of nonprofit organizations. Covered state and local government employees prohibited from opting out of Social Security.
- 1990 Employees of state and local governments not covered under a retirement plan.