Fermilab LInC Online


The Future of the

Social Security System:

Will it Accommodate Future Generations of Americans?



  Current Problems/Concerns:
 Social Security will be bankrupt by 2025 according to CNN Interactive
 January's 1997 Social Security checks had an increase (2.9%) in the cost-of-living adjustment for the new year.

Got your attention? Do you remember when your principal was talking about your check stubs...and how much money was taken out for Social Security???  A 13 member Advisory Council on Social Security cannot agree on what to do to extend and expand Social Security. There are at least four different approaches.

Toes first: The simplest at least risky plan would maintain current benefits and seek higher returns by investing 40 percent of the trust fund in stock and bond markets. Protect the American Family.

Knee Deep: A more adventuresome plan would set up mandatory savings accounts. Current benefits would be scaled back.

Over their Heads: Personal Security Accounts would be set up using forty percent of the fund. Very risky!

Design Your own: You can also decide to develop your own plan. You are a part of the Advisory Councils decision making team. Your team needs to decide, what action should be taken.

Your assignment: is to develop a solution  for the Social Security dilemna and make oral/electronic presentation at a town meeting.

To get you started here is a brief history of the Social Security System.
 The Social Security Act was signed by FDR on 8/14/35. Taxes were collected for the first time in January 1937 and the first payments were made that same month. Social Security numbers were first issued in November 1936. To date, over 370 million different numbers have been issued.  The original Security program was designed to be self-supporting.  The actuaries estimated the program would have a $47 billion reserve by 1980, and the Trust Fund balance hit $46 billion in 1974. However, the reserve declined after that so that the balance stood at only $26 billion in 1980. (Today the Trust Fund reserves are over $500 billion). Originally Social Security was meant to be just for retirement.  Under the 1935 law, Social Security only paid retirement benefits to the primary worker. A 1939 change in the law added survivors benefits and benefits for the retiree's spouse and children. In 1956 disability benefits were added.

Possible Sites to Investigate:
Social Security Online
Financial Status of our Agency
AllPolitics - Social Security Skirmish 
Metacrawler query: Social Security
Budget proposals1
Budget proposals2
AARP Webplace
Social Security Disability

You will be keeping a journal of your research throughout your investigation. Journals will be kept by each person on a team.  The journal will include daily summaries from the data you found during your research. Each team will email to their partner team on Fridays. During your research on-line you need to be aware of the netiquette for for netscape

Your team will create a mind-map in Inspiration .

Your team will make a presentation at the town meeting October 27th. Your presentation can be orally or in an electronic format.

To finalize the Social Security project a summary article will be written and emailed to Jerry Weller, Peter Ladd, and Marcelyn Creque.



Created for the Fermilab LInC program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office, Friends of Fermilab, United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, and North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium (NCRTEC) which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL).
Author(s): Lucianne Sweder     lsweder@pda.k12.il.us
                 Robbin O'Connell    roconnell@pda.k12.il.u
                Professional Development Alliance
                A Regional Office of Education for Will, Grundy-Kendall Counties
                Joliet, Illinois
Created: May 17, 1998- Updated: May 19, 1998
URL: /lincon/w98/projects/socsecurity/student.html