The Scope and Nature of the Public Policy Problem
The concept of social security was introduced into American social policies as the means of protecting vulnerable groups and addressing the instances of inequality within the American community. According to the definition suggested by the U.S. government, social security is a system that suggests “using taxes paid into a trust fund to provide benefits to people who are eligible” (The United States Government, 2019, para. 1).
However, the introduction of social security into American society has been fraught with difficulties of reaching out to the target populations and making the services linked to social security accessible to the target demographic. Specifically, due to the rise in the beneficiaries and the demographic shift occurring in the U.S. setting, the amount of money for which the users of social security are eligible is shrinking, which could be addressed by increase in taxation and a drop in benefits.
In fact, the problems with social security and the delivery of social security services to underrepresented and underserved groups has spurred the creation of the idea of social investment as a healthy alternative (Jones & Li, 2018). However, there have been arguments that the creation of social investment opportunities instead of the current concept of social security will contribute to the spreading of the so-called “Matthew effect” (Hemerijk, 2017, p. 1).
On the one hand, the creation of social investment is expected to “particularly benefit disadvantaged, low-income people” (Hemerijk, 2017, p. 3). By definition, social investment represents a “welfare reform to ‘prepare’ individuals, families and societies to respond to the new risks of a competitive knowledge economy” (Hemerijk, 2017, p. 4). However, due to the paradigm of social investment logic, the focus may shift toward increasing the human capital for the sake of large companies and their owners, which will nullify the positive effect of the initiative. Therefore, the scope of the problem is quite vast, embracing the entirety of the American population. Namely, the people that are going to retire w within the nearest future experience the drastic change in the amount of financial resources that they will be able to enjoy once they retire.
How the Problem Came to Public and Political Awareness
The demographic shift observed in the social security context cannot be defined as unexpected, especially given the previous instances of economic crises in the U.S. The problem reportedly started with the generation of Baby Boomers being not quite careful with the financial resources that were at their disposal at the time (Kilgour, 2018).
Due to often irrational use of monetary assets by the previous generation, the present American government has found itself in the position where the trust funds have been almost fully depleted, and where the social support for retirees has to be cut by an unspeakable 15% across the country (Kilgour, 2018). Therefore, the issue has reached its peak point where ignoring it any further will result in an imminent catastrophe.
In retrospect, the problem of trust funds depletion has always been looming on the horizon, yet American authorities of the previous generations were willfully ignoring it until it grew out of proportions and started jeopardizing the quality of lives of millions of Americans (Herd, Favreault, Meyer, & Smeeding, 2018). The political awareness regarding the issue of funds depletion and the drop in the sources for social security has been quite high in the past few years, yet profound changes are required to reduce the extent to which soon-to-be retirees are going to be affected by it. Nevertheless, increasing political awareness about the issue among general audiences is also needed.
Though introducing it in the way that may produce fear-mongering would definitely be an error, it is imperative to promote financial literacy among the vulnerable groups that will face a social security crisis within the next 15 years. For instance, political awareness may involve encouraging the target population to save money in order to have the resources that they will need when they retire (Herd et al., 2018).
The Evolution of Related Public Policy
As explained above, there have been attempts at improving the current status of the social security crisis by introducing new policies. Apart from the notion of social investment discussed above, the idea of cutting benefits and increasing revenue have been used as the means of containing the development of the social security issue. However, the specified methods have been to no avail so far (Buchanan, 2017). Therefore, a more radical measure toward improving the situation will be needed. Overall, the current policy toward ensuring social security for American citizens is quite flawed since it does not take the future issues associated with the funding of social security into account.
Although several estimates have already been made to define the scale of the future catastrophe, very few alterations have been implemented to ensure that future generations will not fall into poverty and will be able to enjoy the same benefits as the current generation does. Therefore, the existing policies lack sustainability and a general understanding of the nature of the financial crisis that is about to take place within the next few decades.
In addition, the existing public policy for managing social security concerns makes few to no efforts to educate the target audiences. Given the challenges that are about to take place to the social security notion, recommendations for keeping the spending sustainable are drastically needed for all denizens of the American population. However, the existing policy ignores the specified issue, which needs to be amended as soon as possible.
Level of Government and the Actors Involved
Since the issue at hand affects the entirety of the American population, the levels of governmental involvement re presently very high. The issue of the drops in the amount of social security offered to retirees has been debated profusely in political circles, yet the parties have not reached any consensus on the issue yet (Buchanan, 2017). Specifically, the suggestions in reforming the existing approach toward social security provision have been offered. The paper by Tweedy (2019) mentions that the existing Social Security framework should be replaced with one of the models used in European countries presently.
For example, Tweedy (2019) refers to the Singapore solution, which compels employees to submit a certain amount of money per month so that it could later be used to form the bulk of their social security. As Tweedy (2019) explains, “In Singapore, the government has set up a compulsory savings scheme where employees and employers must contribute a certain percentage of gross income into accounts that belong to the individual employee” (131). Therefore, borrowing the experience of European states is expected to be of significant assistance in managing the approaching crisis.
Overall, the extent of involvement at the governmental, administrative, and local levels is tremendous currently. Due to the need to act swiftly and respond to the changes in the existing situation adequately, authorities at all levels have been striving to resolve the issue. However, the conflict of interests that most solutions entail combined with the lack of awareness among general audiences and the resulting unpreparedness to change create a rather unfavorable setting for implementing any alterations to the social security standards.
The Intergovernmental Structure and Political Concerns
Due to the connectivity between the existing political structures and the hierarchy according to which they function, making changes to the current social security framework is bound to be quite challenging. The U.S. intergovernmental structure can currently be described as vertical in terms of the mechanism of delegating responsibilities and transferring critical information from one agent to another.
The multilevel approach toward structuring the American political environment appears to be the most efficient as far as the development of policies and management of data are concerned (Hollo, Chow, & Wehby, 2019). However, it also leads to multiple conflicts caused by the challenges of coordinating policies and the analysis of permutations in the relationships within the current government system (Hollo et al., 2019). As a result, introducing new policies, especially the ones that imply challenges of such a huge scale, will require managing obstacles on numerous structural levels.
Overall, there is a tendency to view the intergovernmental relations (IGRs) as a combination of interactions between individuals rather than a complex structure of interconnected agents. The described model allows avoiding several biases that affect the discussion of the problems that social security is likely to represent in the future. Moreover, the lack of cohesion and agreement in the decisions made at different levels of the government and administration complicates the process and obfuscates the further analysis, making it nearly impossible to make a positive change.
Conflicting Public Opinion and Impact on Policy Solutions
Unfortunately, the problem of social security is one of the issues that do not resolve once they are discussed profoundly. Instead, the process of social change should be encouraged as the means of improving the quality of interpersonal relationships and the management of communication between the members of the team. However, worth the overly strong connection to the participants.
The Approaches to Policy Formulation, Adoption, and Evaluation
When it comes to the management of the current issue, one could admit that the development of a more rigid control over the issue could represent a possible solution. Indeed as the case of the character in question has indicated, there are significant issues in shaping the public perspective on the management of policies. For instance, when considering the alterations in the policy at hand one will realize that the popular opinion did not agree with the one that experts provided.
However, the general public direction was the one with which the participants of the case at hand had to deal since the rest could not allow for the involvement of as many people as possible. The creation, design, and implementation of a policy require the legal and political support, as well as substantial economic sources. In turn, considering the case at hand will show that the target population had a very poor concept of self-care and the management of patients’ needs in the setting of an appropriate policy.
The adoption of the policy that will lead to a better management of the currently available finances and the education of the target population will have to be adopted as a nationwide concept that is expected to produce a massive change in the public perspective on the social security issue. Therefore, the policy should be adopted on both nationwide and local levels, with authorities introducing educational opportunities to community members. Simultaneously, the problem of social security depletion will be handled at the nationwide level with the reconsideration of the framework for funding social security.
The assessment of the policy results, in turn, will be conducted after the proposed change to the current social security framework is implemented. The assessment of the change in question will be performed based on two main criteria, namely, the change in the social perspective on the idea of social security and the alterations in the financial framework that allows funding social security issues in the future. Specifically, the first criterion includes the aspects such as the education of the target population, the increase in awareness and understanding of the problems that the social security system is presently experiencing, and the relevant issues. The second criterion, in turn, will define the effectiveness of implementing the steps that will allow safeguarding people from becoming poor and underserved in the future.
The Suggested Policy Direction (Continuation, Change or Termination) and Future Impact
Since the problem concerning the social security and the amount of financial resources for supporting it are likely to reach their critical point soon, it is imperative that appropriate policy changes be made within the shortest time possible. Therefore, the suggested policy should take two key directions for the crisis to be avoided or, at the very last, alleviate its outcomes to the greatest extent possible.
Thus, the ripples of the changes within the current financial framework for supporting the social security will not be sent to the very foundation of the contemporary approach to supporting vulnerable social groups. Namely, changes to the budgeting of social security will have to be made, including an increase in the taxes that citizens will pay in order to provide support for their future existence. The proposed measure will have to be applied in tandem with another innovation , which involves educating the American population on the current situation, the factors that have caused it, and the outcomes to which it is expected to lead. Thus, people will be prepared toward the struggles that they are likely to face when retiring and trying to sustain the quality of living to which they are used to presently.
The program should be launched as the method of handling the likely complications that people will experience in the future, as the existing funds for providing social security will deplete. In addition, the program will allow handling the existing tendency toward the irrational use of the said resources. Although the threat of the funds depletion and the resulting fall of the social security has become apparent to most authorities, some of the remnants of the previously popular strategy toward allocating resources mindlessly still exist. The proposed strategy, in turn, will help to curb the rates of resource misuse and lead to a more sustainable approach toward the subject matter.
Buchanan, N. H. (2017). Social security is fair to all generations: Demystifying the trust fund, solvency, and the promise to younger Americans. Cornell JL & Public Policy, 27, 237.
Hemerijk, A. (2017). The use of social investment. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Herd, P., Favreault, M., Meyer, M. H., & Smeeding, T. M. (2018). A targeted minimum benefit plan: a new proposal to reduce poverty among older social security recipients: A targeted minimum benefit plan. RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, 4(2), 74-90.
Jones, J. B., & Li, Y. (2018). The effects of collecting income taxes on social security benefits. Journal of Public Economics, 159, 128-145.
Kilgour, J. G. (2018). The social security program and its funding problems. Compensation & Benefits Review, 50(3), 149-159.
The United States Government. (2019). Top questions about social security. Web.
Tweedy, J. (2018). Social insecurity: A proposal to reform the United States Social Security retirement system. Indiana International & Comparative Law Review, 28, 129-161.