Exactly 81 years ago on Sunday, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law, creating the country’s first national pension program.
In subsequent decades, the program evolved to cover all on-the-books workers and provide benefits to severely disabled workers and their dependents, as well as the spouses and dependent children of deceased workers.
Social Security is credited with reducing elderly poverty from 50 percent prior to its creation in 1935 to roughly 10 percent today. The program enjoys the rare distinction of enormous popularity with both Republicans and Democrats.
While most headlines about Social Security nowadays typically focus on the program’s long-term shortfall, two reports released last week in honor of Social Security’s anniversary chronicle the extent of its successes.