When Social Security was enacted as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal reforms in 1935, about half of U.S. senior citizens lived in poverty. Many had to live out their lives in shameful places that people at the time called the “poor farm.” It was forever a family’s shame when during the Depression, grandma and grandpa had to go off to live in one of the county’s makeshift homes for the elderly because they couldn’t afford their own places and their children couldn’t afford to help them.
Today, fewer than 10 percent of America’s elderly live in poverty. More than 53 million Americans receive Social Security benefits to at least cover the basics of life. And as Bernie Sanders said, in the more than 75 years since, the program has never failed to pay out every nickel it owed.
Now Ryan and his compatriots want to mess with that success story. They want to begin the privatization of Social Security by turning over part of the funds that America’s working people pay into the program to Wall Street investors — yes, the same investors who have such a great track record, like blowing up the economy and requiring federal bailouts to save them.
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