So, you think you’ve been paying into Social Security since you were 16 and now your benefits are going to be taken away from you by a bunch of politicians who don’t care about you.
Let’s see how much you actually know about social security.
Democratic Party President and self-identifying Progressive Liberal Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal included the Social Security Act of 1935, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1396. The federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program took effect in 1937 when the first beneficiary cards were distributed, the first collection of funds occurred and the first outlay payment was made of 17c to Ernest Ackerman under the original taxation and distribution rules. The first annualized payment didn’t occur until 1940 in which Ida May Fuller received 22.54$ based on a scale of contributions into the fund.
In 1950, the Democratic Party led by Texas Conservative Sam Rayburn in the House of Representatives and the somewhat leaderless Senate (due to former Democratic Party leader and self-avowed Conservative Scott Lucas losing his seat) passed a series of bills signed into law by moderate Democratic Party President Harry S. Truman who marshaled benefits increases and cost of living adjustments (COLAs) made at irregular intervals, and taxation collection changes by leveraging support by the original New Deal coalition.
Flemming v. Nestor, 363 U.S. 603 (1960) the Court upheld the constitutionality of Section 1104 of the 1935 Social Security Act. The Court ruled that there is no contractual right to receive Social Security payments. Payments due under Social Security are not “property” rights and are not protected by the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The decision was a part of Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson’s court, the last Chief Justice appointed by the Democratic Party and the first in what continues an over 60-year span of Conservative leaning Chief Justices, resided over the decision at a time when the Court was dominated by Conservative Justice Felix Frankfurter’s majority penned opinions. Loosely interpreted, the decision does not guarantee payouts by the SSA and provides the government a fairly wide berth the ability to determine eligibility.
The Social Security Act was amended from to encompass a number of programs beyond OASDI, including the payroll tax supported Health Insurance for Aged and Disabled (HIAD), or colloquially known as Medicare, which was defined in Social Security Amendments of 1965 by adding Title XIX to the Social Security Act of 1935. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was introduced as part of SSA in 1997. SSA eligibility can also impact Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937, United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) support as well as being influenced by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-325, ADAAA), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Title I and more.
The 1972 Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is fully federalized and assigned to Social Security Administration. The change was signed into law by Conservative Republican Richard Nixon after passing the the Democratic Party led House under self-described moderate, cold-war liberal, Carl Albert and Democratic Party led Senate under Michael Joseph Mansfield, a moderate conservative. Title 16 went into effect in 1974 officially replacing the original joint-funded and administered federal-state adult assistance programs.
Money collected into SSI is through Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). The effective tax rate regresses, or decreases, as income increases beyond the compensation limit or wage base limit amount. Workers and employers pay for Social Security via FICA at a combined rate of 12.4% as established in 1990 that is split equally between employer and employee. The maximum contribution is capped as the Social Security Wage Base and goes up each year based on average national wages as reported via the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and benchmarked against the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U). As of 2017 an employee contribution was capped at $127,200 of gross compensation, resulting in a maximum Social Security tax for 2017 of $7,886.40 while employers are also responsible for a fixed withholdings cap as well.
FICA tax revenue goes towards funding the United States government’s Social Security two trusts. First, the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund, which holds in trust special interest-bearing federal government securities bought with surplus OASI payroll tax revenues. The second, smaller fund is the Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund, which holds in trust more of the special interest-bearing federal government securities, bought with surplus DI payroll tax revenues.
These trusts are legally earmarked, meaning they are solely legislatively designated, to fund the programs administered by the Social Security Administration and function as a pay-go system, meaning that taxpayer payments into the system are used toward payouts to current recipients. “Unlike a typical (private) pension plan, the Social Security Trust Fund does not hold any marketable assets to secure workers’ paid-in contributions. Instead, it holds non-negotiable United States Treasury bonds and U.S. securities backed “by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government”. The trust funds have been invested primarily in non-marketable Treasury debt, first, because the Social Security Act prohibits “prefunding” by investment in equities or corporate bonds and, second, because of a general desire to avoid large swings in the Treasuries market that would otherwise result if Social Security invested large sums of payroll tax receipts in marketable government bonds or redeemed these marketable government bonds to pay benefits.”
According to Pub.L. 101–508, title XIII, Sec. 13301(a), Nov. 5, 1990, 104 Stat. 1388-623 SSA Trust Funds are separate entities from the primary Federal Budget, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the receipts and disbursements of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund shall not be counted as new budget authority, outlays, receipts, or deficit or surplus for purposes of – (1) the budget of the United States Government as submitted by the President, (2) the congressional budget, or(3) the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.”
However, SSA budgetary surplus can be used by the Federal Government for non-Social Security purposes, similarly to a no-interest loan, temporarily creating debt obligations by the Federal Government’s General Budget to the Social Security Administration Trust (and thus program recipients). This is, in part, a result of the Democratic Party, cold-war liberal, President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Administration’s regulatory changes in 1968 which enabled SSA Funds to appear, for accounting purposes, as “on-budget” and was effectively signed off by Democratic Party leadership: cold-war moderate John W. McCormack in the House of Representatives, and moderate conservative Michael Joseph Mansfield in the Senate, while overseeing overseeing the the Senate majority during budget appropriations. It remained this way until 1990 when they were taken “off-budget” through a series of non-legislative regulatory maneuvering during conservative Republican George Bush’s Administration.