JSU Student Symposium 2020
Positive and Negative Aspects of the United States Social Security Program



Faculty Mentor

Manabu Saeki, Political Science & Public Administration


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Houston Cole Library, 11th Floor | 1:00-1:10 p.m.


While many Americans have an opinion on the topic of public assistance in general, they may or may not be fully informed of the positive and negative aspects of Social Security. In order to form a position on the topic of Social Security, one must examine the history, purpose, and future of this long-debated safety net program. This essay examines lessons-learned from field literature which informs the variable pros and cons of Social Security in the United States. Some of the positive aspects examined include decreases in destitution and dependency, provision of income for aging and disabled citizens, and increases in the standard of living for U.S. citizens. Negative aspects of the Social Security program include insufficient funding mechanisms due to increased life expectancy of claimants, moral hazard dependency on the assistance program, and limitations placed on worker freedom. Additionally, this essay examines the positive and negative aspects of several reform plans which have been proposed, including increasing the retirement age, increasing the funding tax base, and slowing the indexed growth benefits. In summary, the reader finds a well-informed list of pros and cons of the general Social Security program in America. The author recognizes, supported by a survey of relevant literature, the significant need met by the Social Security program, but discusses some of the ways in which the program has been expanded over time to include safety nets which were not originally included in the program. Summarily, readers will find that what “Social Security” means to one individual may differ from the understanding another holds of the same term. Therefore, this in-depth analysis should aid readers in understanding what this broad term can mean at the global level of interpretation in addition to understanding the specific aspects of the program such as disability income, retirement income, etc. On reform, many recognize that reform is needed, but none want reform to affect their personal financial future.


student presentations, student papers, Social Security reform


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American Politics

Presentation Information

Johnson, B. (2020, 13 February). Positive and negative aspects of the United States Social Security Program. Paper presented at the 2020 JSU Student Symposium, Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, AL.

Positive and Negative Aspects of the United States Social Security Program