Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department


Reader 1

Kenneth Miller

Reader 2

Marc Massoud

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Rights Information

© 2015 Nikita Mehandru


The ongoing debate over welfare in the United States is rooted in the long-standing tension between the nation’s commitment to providing for its most vulnerable and a deep-seated belief that such support can corrupt its recipients. Social Security has struck this balance and appeals to the masses with its pay-as-you-go system and universally distributed benefits. Yet, the solvency of Social Security is threatening the program that has attempted to guard against old age and disability for the last eighty years. This paper examines how the perception of poverty in the United States is a hindrance when tackling social welfare policies. Further, the failure of the Supreme Court to recognize economic security as a fundamental constitutional right and a lack of public support to contribute funds are added challenges in the implementation of social insurance and public assistance programs. The most promising solution to restore the short and long-term solvency of Social Security ultimately involves relaxing immigration laws to highly skilled workers and raising the retirement age for the rising generation.