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ERIC Number: EJ984660
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 23
ISSN: ISSN-1074-1917
Social Security: Strengthening a Vital Safety Net for Latinos
Cruz, Jeff
Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy, v24 p5-9 2011-2012
Since 1935, Social Security has provided a vital safety net for millions of Americans who cannot work because of age or disability. This safety net has been especially critical for Americans of Latino decent, who number more than 50 million or nearly one out of every six Americans. Social Security is critical to Latinos because it is much more than a retirement program. In addition to protecting those that cannot work because they are too old, the program benefits disabled workers and their families as well as children and spouses of the deceased. Despite the importance and popularity of Social Security to Latinos, the past year has seen conservative politicians call for the program to be slashed. For example, some members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, colloquially referred to as the Supercommittee, have called for a chained consumer price index (CPI) benefit cut, which would slash benefits by drastically reducing the cost of living adjustment (COLA). Opponents of Social Security have tried to present the proposed adoption of the chained CPI benefit cut as a minor technical change, but it would have drastic consequences for Latinos. Another way opponents of Social Security have proposed cutting benefits is by increasing the normal retirement age past sixty-five. Opponents of Social Security have called for these devastating benefit cuts under the guise of deficit reduction. In this article, the author stresses that Social Security should be strengthened to further help Latinos and suggests that by eliminating the earning cap, treating all salary reduction plans like 401(k)s, and diversifying the trust fund into local and state infrastructure, Social Security can be strengthened for future generations. Policy makers should also make it easier for agricultural and household workers to qualify for benefits and reinstate the college benefit for "student children" of deceased and disabled parents. With these reforms, Social Security can continue to provide a vital safety net and better protect the Latino community.
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. 79 John F. Kennedy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. Tel: 617-496-0320; Fax: 617-384-9555; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Social Security
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: California Psychological Inventory