The social security system is a program that was established almost a century ago. However, multiple aspects of US society, livelihood, and general life expectancy have changed, which is why it needs revisions. The solutions to the challenges, including the rate of the working population vs. the non-working one, the long life expectancy, the high life expectancy, and the decreasing birth rate, vary. On the one hand, liberal and progressive-leaning organizations align with the idea that the social security program should be funded by increasing taxes for corporations and elites. On the other hand, the corporate-conservative view highlights the need for a privatized social security system in which individuals directly manage their funds. In this paper, two politically opposing organizations will be discussed concerning their stands on the social insurance system. Namely, the Heritage Foundation and Campaign for America’s Future will be examined in relation to their systematic characteristics, political overviews, and solutions to the social security debate.
The Heritage Foundation is a non-profit organization specializing in public policy. Based on Domhoff’s system, the Heritage Foundation is a think tank as it mainly operates within the realm of research and advocacy (Domhoff, 2013). The think tank is sponsored through private donations or individuals and corporations willing to support its aims. The conservative viewpoint is highlighted through the direct terminology such as goals to unite conservatives and promote conservative notions, as well as the privatizing objectives when it comes to social security (The Heritage Foundation, 2021). Domhoff (2013) mentions that corporate-conservative views usually refer to agendas such as minimizing progressive taxation, unions, and government regulations of the private sector, which are the political ideas in Heritage Foundation’s portfolio of policies. In terms of the model of class, power, and politics, the think tank participates in the special-interest, policy planning, and opinion-shaping. An example of the platform’s support received from ExxonMobil, an international oil company, in regards to Heritage’s opinion on the insignificance of climate change (Moore, 2016). Thus, the corporation’s special interest and policy-planning in regards to maximization of the use of fossil fuels is promoted through opinion-shaping techniques applied by Heritage.
Campaign for America’s Future is another think tank and advocacy group within the liberal-labor policy network. The platform’s progressivism falls in line with Domhoff (2013) in regards to specifications such as prioritizing unions and government regulations over private ownership and a lack of social benefits. Progressivism is highlighted directly on the platform’s website, as well as the aim to increase taxes that corporations are to pay to create more resources for the vulnerable demographics (Campaign for America’s Future, 2021). Likewise, the organization is yet another participant within the power structure by shaping public opinion. However, in this case, the special interest is less corporate since the main driver is the progressive side of the Democratic party and policy-planning related to a more government-involved country. As a result, one platform promotes corporate power while the other one prioritizes the government over individual freedom and ownership.
Social Security Debate
The liberal-labor and corporate-conservative views on social security drastically differ, and the two aforementioned organizations portray the most commonly cited solutions for both parties. In the case of the Heritage Foundation, the proposal is privatizing as much as possible, including social insurance such as social security. It is essential to mention that, according to Domhoff (2013), corporate-ultraconservatives are the only organizations opposing social security altogether, and more moderate views imply a less strict opinion. This is the case for the Heritage Foundation, which promotes each individual worker being in control of a retirement account that can be managed through investments to maximize profit (The Heritage Foundation, 2021). Thus, the collective plan is to be switched to an individual one. Campaign for America’s Future, on the other hand, promotes a maximization of collective social security that is to be funded through the taxes imposed on major corporations (Campaign for America’s Future, 2021). As a result, elites and businesses that major general profit are to contribute more to social agendas for an equal outcome.
Both organizations agree that the current state of the Social Security program is not practical, and policy changes need to be applied to address the challenges. As mentioned prior, due to changes in the population and the major disruptions in the rate of contributors and beneficiaries, the insurance platform cannot withstand the pressure. Corporate-conservative organizations see a beneficial change through entrepreneurial objectives, which, according to researchers, it at the core of the Heritage Foundation’s agenda (Weaver, 2017). Corporations, however, were the ones that facilitated the formation of the Social Security system in the first place. Corporate moderates realized that the great depression was causing major organizations to lose profit partly due to the major retirement and disability payments for employees (Domhoff, 2013). Currently, corporate moderates and conservatives do not deny that the program is the best way to provide a retirement plan yet seek a private approach rather than a collective one.
The liberal-labor view, on the other hand, relies on the maximization of collectiveness. The initiative is in line with progressive ideas on a social system in which maximization of profit and development is not more primordial than addressing social causes (Batchelder & Kamin, 2019). Instead of addressing the issue by reducing the burden of government funding of the program through a payroll tax, the initiative implies the adoption of higher taxation based on income.
It is certain that the Heritage Foundation is a more reputable platform that is mainly involved in policy-making and resourcing current issues in regards to a possible solution based on conservative and moderate views. Campaign for America’s Future, on the other hand, is an advocacy group with similar objectives yet less research and more social implications. The stands of the Heritage Foundation are well-defined, and an extensive examination of the topic allows the organization to promote conservative views in a more scientific manner. The opposing party, on the other hand, did not provide the necessary information on the exact tax increase purpose, the classification of corporations and entities that are to be taxed, and further details. However, none of the solutions are convincing, and a combined approach appears to be more reasonable since both corporate-conservative and liberal-labor organizations are involved in opinion-shaping based on the interest of certain entities (Domhoff, 2013). As a result, the two opinions, while contrastingly different, serve similar purposes.
The liberal labor organization Campaign for America’s Future and the corporate-conservative Heritage Foundation are think tanks that shape the public opinion on social and political issues, including the social security debate. The conservative view implies a more individualized and privatized system, while the progressive platform aims to tax the rich. The two polar viewpoints are similar in recognizing the importance of the social security program yet have contrasting solutions to the problem occurring within the methodology. However, the differences in opinions do not imply differences in adherence to the current power dynamics. On the one hand, the conservative solution serves the corporations, while the liberal one serves the government. As a result, a combined approach may be a more reasonable intervention.
Batchelder, L. L., & Kamin, D. (2019). Taxing the rich: Issues and options. SSRN Electronic Journal. Web.
Campaign for America’s Future. (2021). Stop corporations, banks, and the wealthy from controlling our economy – and tax justice to pay for public investment. Web.
Domhoff, W. G. (2013). How corporate moderates created the Social Security Act (…And Then Tried to Undermine It Later). Who Rules America. Web.
Greider, W. (2015). Riding into the sunset. The Nation. Web.
The Heritage Foundation. (2021). Seven hard truths Americans should know about social security in 2021. Web.
Madsen, S. (2021). Privatizing social security: Economic and social concerns. Major Themes in Economics, 23(1), 19–33. Web.
Weaver, R. (2017). Think tanks and civil societies: Catalysts for ideas and action. Routledge.