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Social Security and the Diversification of the Traditional Family

            The shortsightedness and myopic tendencies of our society have ultimately led to our Social Security system. If left without government intervention our society would focus on today rather than tomorrow, disregarding the ominous necessity of saving for retirement. Furthermore, citizens struggle to account for how much of their money they will need to save for future use. Social Security acts as insurance for people who have trouble saving, and stated plainly, prevents the poor from getting poorer and the rich from getting richer. Before Social Security, life expectancy was shorter, people worked as long as possible without many pensions, and retirement was usually short-lived and spent in ill health. Many families could not even afford to support their elderly, as they became a burden on the family and could not earn wages. A government adviser wrote in 1934, "many workers can escape the economic problems of old age only by dying before their period of superannuation sets in." State governments enacted old-age pension plans in the early 20th century, but they were mostly underfunded and undersubscribed.1 These are daunting realizations and can allow society today to be grateful for the subsequent Social Security enactments. Social Security requires public saving and reduces these historical and foreseen problems. However, at the dawn of Social Security, the policies were male dominant, relying on a working male figure. .
             Social Security was designed primarily to benefit traditional households in which the wife was a fulltime homemaker. Due to the recent change in society and the influx of women into the workforce, Social Security does not benefit all women equally. Now that the necessity of Social Security has been prevalent for quite some time, other factors regarding whom Social Security is truly designed for must be addressed. In the last 50 years, there has been a drastic change in the roles of women.

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