In 1935, Franklin Roosevelt struck a deal of recovering the economy and welfare of the United States of America. He created a method of spreading the wealth of the United States of America over the whole population. He created a program of social security which took the payout of workers and gave them to the elderly in the society as a means of their income on retirement. This was to be paid for citizens for the number of years that remained before they could die. Under certain conditions, the system works very well (Berstein 10). If people can live relatively the same age, and given that the life span in a given nation does not change too fast over a huge time period, then the efforts like those taken by Franklin would work on well. Again, the population must change relatively to the average life span. If the size of the population fails to grow in a consistent manner, then there will be disturbances in financing and payments of the program of social security. With a low age of retirement, the weight will be more on the workers. This term paper seeks to state that Social Security is the cause of our deficit and would be dealt with if the Social Security retirement age is raised to 70 years of age.
Conflict theory in sociology
Conflict theory in sociology makes an effort of explaining a scenario of this nature. It talks about the social facts pertinent to various groups competing for the control of advantages or resources. There is a strong debate on the underlying issue and it is thought to be the major cause of the deficit Americans are experiencing. There needs to be stability and the correct change to enhance this stability based on the conflict that is between the working class and those entering the retirement age. In this case, the older in the society should not be seen to be working to sustain their privileges at the expense of the working class. The disadvantaged who in this case are the working class are straining more to achieve more. As Karl Marx put it, by eliminating a given privilege, the general welfare of a given society could be increased. This is what is expected if equality is to be exercised amongst the society members. By way of class consciousness, Marx was confident that the workers could ultimately realize they are suffering and would make sure that the privilege is put to demise (Brym 2-25).
Well, increasing the age of retirement would be an efficacious solution in dealing with the prevailing situation. The problem of social security can actually be solved by altering the age at which the beneficiaries of the program start to receive compensation. The biggest difficulty realized with the present program of social security is the ever-growing population of the retired group. A balanced solution towards this problem would thus be changing the country’s age of retirement. Pushing the retirement age to 70 will go a long way in lifting the burden of the working class. The laws and dictates of the conflict theory seek to address such issues and find an amicable solution without ripping off one group of its rights or privileges.
It is therefore important that the age of retirement changes from 65 to 70 and this would work well given that the period of compensation will be lessened and thus little money resources would be required to serve the Social Security program. The population of America is constantly attaining a longer life span. By the time the change propositions on the retirement age for citizens comes into effect, it will be a long way after the declaration of the 65 years that was made in 1935. From the time the national age of retirement was set at 65, the American average life span has been found to gain about seventeen (17) years.
Ifsuch measures are not put into consideration, the bulk of America will suffer the consequences of a poorly financed system of government. For instance, towards the end of WW II, the United States was experienced a huge rate of birth of all times what was and is commonly referred to as the baby boomer generation based on the size and the speedy births. Therefore, like in this case, the demographics are changing in the nation and are expected to change in the near future. Therefore with such trends, there many people are getting needier of the program of social security. There is competition and solemn conflict of the available resources. The increase in population means that the nation must also provide for this class of the young who also need part of the share as members of the country.
Increasing more years of work will mean that many people are involved in building the country’s economy and therefore, there will be enough for the people as they retire. This is in the view that an increased retirement age will make the margin smaller. The compensation period for that matter is expected to get smaller. As a result, the Social Security program will work in a manner that does not interfere with the country’s other operations. The citizens and more in particular the workers will not experience exaggerated deficit. It will be a thing of the past. This is what Karl Marx was seeking to bring about in the conflict theory; ensuring that justice is done to everyone in the society. Therefore, the efforts made in reducing the compensation gap by increasing the age of retirement is expected to deliver great results.
Activities of Program of Social security
By the time the Program of Social security started in 1935, the life span in average was 61 years. The implication here was that above 50% of the entire population did not expect to benefit from the payments of the program which began at 65 years of age. Therefore, changes have been realized and they need to be balanced as described in the conflict theory. For a stable nation and proper distribution of resources ensuring the security and welfare of all, such measures are considered prudent. The urge to move up the retirement age is in the effort of supporting the well-being of all in the society. These changes are also expected to continue over the coming years and even the life span extends up to 80. The retirement age therefore cannot remain the same. It has to be moved up a little. This is not an arbitrary assumption but is based on factual information and what is happening on the ground in the society.
When situations and policies remain unchanged while nature is taking its cause, there is likely to be a state of imbalance. A conflicting situation is likely to arise. This is the situation that sociologists are trying to evade and ensuring a balanced system through the conflict theory. The trends of growth of the population are creating a relatively big percentage of the population being paid Social Security and a relatively small group of the population which is supporting them. Making adjustments from time to time will help avoid conflict in the future when drastic measures are made; those already benefiting from the program might realize a decreased pay while the workers will notice the problems as a result of having more deductions made from their gross pay.
Generation in future will also realize the problems of the program of Social security if no action will be made towards addressing the issue. The projections which have been made at present show that all the people born the years succeeding 1956 is not expected to see any change in the program of Social Security unless the current system undergoes some changes. In 2008, the funds as at then were projected to begin running a deficit by this year, 2011. The funds again were projected to have been completely spent by the year 2023. The percentage of the American elderly population is ever on the increase compared to the rest of the population.
From 1995 to 2040, the American Citizens aged above 65 years was projected to grow by about roughly 112%. This value could not be compared with the growth of the people aged between 20-64 years which was a marginal 24% while that of the group below 20 years was only expected to grow by only 5%. These figures justify the need to increase the retirement age to 70. In fact, the law of justice cannot apply if there are no changes effected to this cause. The people aged between 20 and 64 years cannot bear the burden of the people aged over 65. Based on this research, the population that is working is relatively small. If this number is kept that way with the elderly getting more and more, the economy of the country will collapse. The baby boomers will thus be left in abject need and great deficit. Increasing the maximum working age will be an appropriate solution to the challenge faced by Americans and make the Social Security program effective (Feldstein & Jeffrey 44-9).
With a decrease in the birth rate as experienced of late, the population is expected to grow at a slower rate. Essentially, the entire system is getting worse in many aspects. The retired population is getting bigger than the population that is working while the rates of birth are dwindling. There is therefore a lot to be desired in the Social Security program. The efforts of the minority working class cannot suffice the needs of the large retired population. When the program of social security was established, many people were not expected to get payments and the program was deemed successful. By 2000 however, every person apparently could receive payments in the social security program for 15 years. The conflict theory looks at this issue in two perspectives as it is not only the retiring citizens faced with the current system of social security. Workers are making extra payment to support the increasing elderly population to their disadvantage (Fried 27-33).
There are conflicting interests in the whole issue and all stakeholders are expected to come up together and reinforce amendments to the program. There is a crying need that must seek to ensure justice prevails; a situation where no one feels disadvantaged by the system. It is very imperative that the congress reconsiders its position in this and increase the retirement age. The working class is left in captivity where they are forced to succumb to the demands of the majority in the society which they cannot fulfill. For instance, the average retiree had an estimate of about 4 workers deemed to support them in the year 1970. Projections made by the year 2070 bring the figure down to only 2 workers supporting one retiree. The trend seen here is definitely going to provide little income for the Social Security program which apparently needs a lot of money resources owing to the increasing in the beneficiaries as time goes by.
Conclusion about Social Security program
In conclusion, the Social Security program is a very delicate issue that affects the society and that the conflict theory in sociology could be used to analyze and address it effectively. There is a yearning by two conflicting groups which seek to benefit from the country’s resources. One group, the retiring population is apparently getting an advantage over the working class in a poor system of governance in matters of finance. This exhibits a lot of injustice which is against the dictates and directives of a just society. This term paper has highlighted key issues within the social security program and pointed out all the flaws within it. It gives accreditation as an efficacy made by the government in 1935 and later points out the key factors that need to be changed (Kessler-Harris 23-31).
Generally, it has been found that the ratio of the elderly population is expected to be enormously huge compared to the working class. The average lifespan is also expected to get higher with improved health and general standards of living amongst the citizens. This means that the period of compensations for beneficiaries is likely to increase. This means that more resources will be pumped into the program. Leaving the retirement age unchanged will thus lead to a state of inequality and imbalance and therefore create an unjust system. Increasing the retirement age to 70 is thus thought to deliver much in making the system more effective and ensuring the security of all without deficit.