A long-standing debate in American politics is whether social program benefits (e.g., Social Security or Medicare) should be awarded to people based on age or need. Although the social poli¬cies in the United States, in combination, provide support to some groups of people based on need (welfare) and others based only on age (Medicare), some people believe that such programs should support only those eligible on the basis of need. Others maintain that Social Security and Medicare should remain policies provided to people based on age, using dignity and solidarity as the basis for their argument.
Arguing for need-based eligibility, for example, is Peterson (1996) who maintained that, because of their greater political power, we spend too much on older adults and not enough on children. Arguing for age-based eligibility are Minkler and Robertson (1991) who explained that, rather than blame the “greedy geezers, age-based benefits help all of us, e.g., relieving middle-aged children of the need to support aged parents when many are still raising their own children.
Do you agree that Social Security and Medicare should remain age-based policies, or do you think that they should be altered in some way? Why?
Structure your case analysis as follows:
Related to the controversy, state your own position and briefly explain why you think this way.
For the remainder of paper—say, 4 of the 5 to 6 pages—you will present the other side of the case or controversy. That is, you’ll be arguing the side that you don’t believe or think you don’t believe.
Finally, conclude by explaining whether you have managed to change your own mind about this controversy.
Social benefits programs should be need-based rather than age-based to promote inclusivity and ensure that all economically constrained Americans can benefit from the programs irrespective of age. Firstly, the government’s spending on the aged population is creating an economic strain that threatens the sustainability of the macroeconomy, as well as, affecting public policies for other generations such as children and adolescents health needs. Secondly, a persistent ageism stereotype has generated a construct of compassionate ageism that portrays the aged as weak, frail, powerless, and deserving care. However, most of the aged people are not as helpless as the stereotypes presume. Despite having minimal or zero sources of income because of retirement and reduced productivity, they have a lifetime worth of savings that can sustain their health care and other social needs. Clark, Strauss, and Knox-Hayes (2012) observed that a retirement savings plan could have a significant impact on the financial sustainability of retirees aged above 60 years. In addition to the ability of the aged to have sustainable savings, the generalized age-based eligibility prevents younger at-risk groups such as children, adolescents, unemployed youths and veterans, as well as, low-income families from accessing essential services such as healthcare and shelter. The federal budget must be inclusive to cater for the multiple population demands rather...
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