Social security

Social Security - Then and now

17 August 2018 was the 83rd anniversary of the passage of the Social Security Act of 1935

This act has been referred to as 'the third rail of American politics" because Congress has been shocked too many times when approaching it with the intent to modify the basic social contract, which was "hold a job for 40 quarters of a year (10 years of continuous employment) and you will qualify at ages (varying) above 62 for a monthly pension for the rest of your life."

This basic formula was never mathematically sound. The payouts to individual workers  were always likely to exceed the pay-ins from those same workers. In economics-speak, the entire program represented transfer payments from one set of younger workers to one set of older, retired workers. It was never the actuarial equivalent of an annuity linking pay-ins from one worker to payouts to that same worker. And it has been amended copiously every year or two, as coverage and program mission has expanded. But it is also credited with reducing the proportion of older persons living in extreme poverty.

How could this possibly work? By having the larger pool of younger workers paying in more than was being paid out to the pool of fewer retired workers. For decades this was the case. Now, however, with shifts in the relative sizes of the working and retired pools, and in the shift from lifetime employment to a series of jobs, sometimes interspersed with periods out of the labor force or unable to find work, inflows of social security taxes are no longer esceeding payouts.

As a result the Social Security Trust Fund is beginning to decline. Without changes, money to pay out monthly will be lacking.

Now the rubber meets the road: do we, Americans, want to reduce payments to persons who have 'earned' them in the work life or do we want to increase the pay-ins to the Trust Fund and keep the bargain with workers. This imbalance can be remedied in various ways. Creating these remedies has been put off again and again, but the problem only gets more difficult to fix with passing time.

Finding out more about Social Security:


The Truth About Social Security: The Founders’ Words Refute Revisionist History, Zombie Lies, and Common MisunderstandingsPaperback – August 14, 2018
by Nancy J. Altman   $5 - $15 (electronic to paperback) Ms. Altman has authored numerous books about Social Security
Social Security Basics: 9 Essentials That Everyone Should Know Kindle Edition
by Devin Carroll   $12 paperback

And many others. Just search for "social security books"

Web Sources

Social Security (United States) Wikipedia.
This is a long, long article with many tables and citations. I believe it is a good starting place. Beyond this are many links representing different points of view. I leave these to the reader to find according to taste. This post should be considered merely a starting point, not a scholarly review.
Recently I learned of the connection between the siting of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the passage of the Social Security Act and Robert L. Doughton, a powerful member of congress from northwest North Carolina in the 1930's. It is a fascinating story of back room meetings and compromise and tradeoffs. Do a search for "social security doughton blue ridge parkway" and you will find many links.

--Michael Rulison

WCSD Newsletter - September 2018

Wake County Senior Democrats

September 2018 Newsletter

Meeting: Wednesday September 19, 2018
11:00 am for buffet lunch followed by program at about noon.
Golden Corral, 6129 Glenwood Avenue, 27612, 919-782-4880, Rt 70, west of Crabtree Valley Mall.
September Program: Current Political landscape, trends and what Democrats must do to win.


THOMAS MILLS, Editor, founder and publisher of, a website of commentary and analysis.

Since its beginning in April 2013, PoliticsNC has been a must-read for people following North Carolina politics. Thomas and his posts have been widely referenced in state and national publications.

How to Plank a Platform

How to Plank a Platform

By which criteria would you judge a political platform? (a draft)

  • Is it fair?
  • is it worth doing? 
  • Is it effective?
  • Is efficient?
  • What is the time horizon?
  • Is it equitable?
  • Is it accessible?
  • Cui bono? (Who benefits?)
  • Whose ox is gored?
  • How does the money flow?

Volunteers - Our Core

Nothing happens until someone voluntarily does something.


Here's how you can start: The Wake County Democratic Party has a well-designed volunteer recruiting form when you can put your contact information and specify where and when you can work and describe your skills and what you like to do. This serves to create a database that candidates and organizations can tap.


The form is at


In addition, every candidate from low to high needs volunteers. If you have a particular office or candidate, check them out. 


Candidates are listed by office in the top right menu of the Wake Dems web site: Here:  This includes a link for finding just the candidates for whom you are eligible to vote based on your Precinct and address.


Several election sites, including the official ones of the Board of Elections are listed in our Sources:


"Almost all of our members volunteer in many different Democratic campaigns and other activities."

Here are some areas where energy is needed by Wake County Senior Democrats and other groups: 


developing 'messages' 


creating content for web site or blog


promoting additional traffic on web site and blog. Right now they are well-kept secrets.


managing the web site and blog, keeping items fresh, or moving them out when no longer relevant


reaching out to existing members and recruiting new ones with phone calls


providing help to various campaigns, including stuffing mailings, phone banking, and street-by-street canvassing


participating in rallies and marches


advocating with office holders and candidates: in person with them or their staff, or via phone and email 


advocating for and with the programs of a zillion nonprofits. You are probably getting mail, email, and phone calls from some of these already.


And do not overlook MONEY. They all want it.

WCSD Newsletter - August 2018

Wake County Senior Democrats
August 2018 Newsletter

Meeting: Wednesday August 15, 2018

11:00 am for buffet lunch followed by program at about noon.

Golden Corral, 6129 Glenwood Avenue, 27612, 919-782-4880, Rt 70, west of Crabtree Valley Mall. 

August Program: State Representative Joe John, District 40
Joseph R. John, Sr. is a former judge of the North Carolina Court of Appeals. He served on that court from 1992 until 2000. Previously, he had been a state superior court and state district court judge, based in Greensboro. He retired in 2014 as director of the NC State Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab.


Voter statistics as of July 21, 2018:
Dem: 269,183       Rep: 188,550       Lib: 4,726       Gre: 48       Cst: 14     Una: 264,255           Total: 726,776
​We can only win if ALL Democrats Vote and ALL Republicans and Unaffiliates STAY HOME
Many Unaffiliateds vote for Democratic candidates.
The Fall 2018 election is too important to take anything for granted. Find your neighbor the Una who voted in the Democratic primary this year and get him/her to vote the Democratic ticket this Fall.
This is the only chance we get to put members of the General Assembly out to pasture. Let's do it!
Use the BOE site to look up neighbors so approach about voting.


Early Voting - 

General Election - Tuesday 6 November
for a list of dates, candidates, etc.

Verify that you are registered to vote at your CURRENT address:

    mail in ballots

First day to request a mail-in ballot = 7 September
Last day to request a mail-in ballot - 30 October

Your mail-in ballot must be postmarked on or before 6 November 
Cost: under $2.00 of postage


    other dates


for a candidate

  as a poll  worker
or email to
or fax 919 856 5864

get paid as an election official during early voting or election day. Make a difference, learn new skills, meet new people, strengthen your community.

Web site


Lunch at the Media

As the saying goes, "There is no free lunch." To which I would add, "But there are free riders." So, activat...