Social Security Reform Against Women
Social Security was created in order to ensure comfortable retirement for hard-working citizens of present times, and also to make sure that the disabled receive adequate governmental support (Social Security). What is ironic is that Social Security is at stake. It has been projected that in the year 2012, the first batch of baby-boomers (those who were born in the 1950’s) reach retirement age; the next generations, born after the years of baby-booming, much lesser in number than the 1950’s population, would be the only source of taxes.
Obviously there would be a decrease in the number of people supporting a retiree’s income— in the it has been estimated that there were about 16 people supporting a single retiree. In 2012, the worst case scenario would be that only 2 people would be supporting one retiree.
In short, at some point in the near future, there will be more retirees that would require benefits than the number of workers whose taxes supplement the Social Security System. Different solutions or ways with which to tackle this important issue have been considered such as: 1. increasing current taxes; 2. ) cutting the social security benefits; and the one which the Bush administration is really pushing, 3. ) privatized accounts, also called personal retirement accounts or PRAs (Reform). PRAs are supposed to be some sort of extra savings account that every person is obliged to supplement in addition to all his/her expenses in order to secure comfortable retirement, something that social security in itself must be able to provide for.
While it is good that the government is looking at solutions rather than ignoring the problem, they have created a solution that does not really ensure security for everybody regardless of gender or race; the PRAs are a discriminative solution, good only for high-income, tax-paying, white males (Boushey). The solution overlooks several factors that affect retirement conditions, especially for women. For one, women live longer than men and thus need heftier PRAs. Yes, they may depend on their husbands’ accounts because they have so-called “spusal benefits”, but this presents other problems (Williamson and Rix 6).
The following questions arise: what if the husband’s current work provides him with an income that may barely even support his own retirement? And another, what of the unmarried women who support themselves with meager incomes? Again, there lies a discrimination against the women who are single, supporting themselves on their own, while other women who are married may have fat PRAs if they have work, plus they are entitled to spousal benefits in the event of their husbands’ deaths.
A second problem is that women commonly do not have stable or continuous work experiences. Women have been making the slow climb up the working ladder, and recent economic status of women have improved. However, the quality of work that most women hold are still not at par with those of the men. Women’s incomes are still usually lesser than most men, and hence it can be expected that, again, their PRAs would not last them long enough if it comes to that, married or unmarried.
Last point but certainly not the least, women have a tendency to have more home-making related work, dependent on their husbands’ incomes for their own expenses. In other words, they do not have incomes with which to create their PRAs. Needless to say, the social security reform must be dropped if equality in this democratic nation is not to be put at stake, too. There are other solutions better than privatized accounts which not everyone can afford to have, and which does not necessarily secure their future.
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