This is your morning Open Thread. Pour a cup of your favorite morning beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
August 14 is the 226th day of the year (227th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 139 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs into law the Social Security Act. Press photographers snapped pictures as FDR, flanked by ranking members of Congress, signed into law the historic act, which guaranteed an income for the unemployed and retirees. FDR commended Congress for what he considered to be a “patriotic” act.
U.S. Social Security is a social insurance program that is funded through dedicated payroll taxes called Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Tax deposits are formally entrusted to the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, or the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund.
The main part of the program is sometimes abbreviated OASDI (Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance) or RSDI (Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance). When initially signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 as part of his New Deal, the term Social Security covered unemployment insurance as well. The term, in everyday speech, is used to refer only to the benefits for retirement, disability, survivorship, and death, which are the four main benefits provided by traditional private-sector pension plans. In 2004 the U.S. Social Security system paid out almost $500 billion in benefits.
By dollars paid, the U.S. Social Security program is the largest government program in the world and the single greatest expenditure in the federal budget, with 20.8% for social security, compared to 20.5% for discretionary defense and 20.1% for Medicare/Medicaid. Social Security is currently the largest social insurance program in the U.S., constituting 37% of government expenditure and 7% of the gross domestic product and is currently estimated to keep roughly 40% of all Americans age 65 or older out of poverty. The Social Security Administration is headquartered in Woodlawn, Maryland, just to the west of Baltimore.
Social Security privatization became a major political issue for more than three decades during the presidencies of Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.
Social Security is under attack once again by The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. The commission was created by the executive order of President Barack Obama in January 2010 after Congress voted against the bill that would create it
1183 – Taira no Munemori and the Taira clan take the young Emperor Antoku and the three sacred treasures and flee to western Japan to escape pursuit by the Minamoto clan. (Traditional Japanese date: Twenty-fifth Day of the Seventh Month of the Second Year of Juei).
1385 – Portuguese Crisis of 1383-1385: Battle of Aljubarrota – Portuguese forces commanded by King Joao I and his general Nuno Alvares Pereira defeat the Castilian army of King Juan I.
1598 – Nine Years War: Battle of the Yellow Ford – Irish forces under Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone, defeat an English expeditionary force under Henry Bagenal.
1842 – Indian Wars: Second Seminole War ends, with the Seminoles forced from Florida to Oklahoma.
1846 – The Cape Girardeau meteorite, a 2.3 kg chondrite-type meteorite strikes near the town of Cape Girardeau in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri.
1848 – Oregon Territory is organized by act of Congress.
1880 – Construction of Cologne Cathedral, the most famous landmark in Cologne, Germany, is completed.
1885 – Japan’s first patent is issued to the inventor of a rust-proof paint.
1888 – A recording of English composer Arthur Sullivan’s The Lost Chord, one of the first recordings of music ever made, is played during a press conference introducing Thomas Edison’s phonograph in London.
1893 – France introduces motor vehicle registration.
1900 – A joint European-Japanese-United States force (Eight-Nation Alliance) occupies Beijing, in a campaign to end the bloody Boxer Rebellion in China.
1901 – The first claimed powered flight, by Gustave Whitehead in his Number 21.
1908 – The first beauty contest is held in Folkestone, England.
1911 – United States Senate leaders agree to rotate the office of President pro tempore of the Senate among leading candidates to fill the vacancy left by William P. Frye’s death.
1912 – United States Marines invade Nicaragua to support the U.S.-backed government installed there after Jose Santos Zelaya had resigned three years earlier.
1933 – Loggers cause a forest fire in the Coast Range of Oregon, later known as the first forest fire of the Tillamook Burn. It is extinguished on September 5, after destroying 240,000 acres.
1935 – United States Social Security Act passes, creating a government pension system for the retired.
1936 – Rainey Bethea is hanged in Owensboro, Kentucky in the last public execution in the United States.
1937 – Chinese Air Force Day: The beginning of air-to-air combat of the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II in general, when 6 Imperial Japanese Mitsubishi G3M bombers are shot down by the Nationalist Chinese Air Force while raiding Chinese air bases.
1941 – World War II – Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt sign the Atlantic Charter of war stating postwar aims.
1945 – Japan accepts the Allied terms of surrender in World War II and the Emperor records the Imperial Rescript on Surrender (August 15 in Japan standard time).
1947 – Pakistan and India gain Independence from the British Indian Empire under the administration of United Kingdom and joins the British Commonwealth.
1948 – Don Bradman, widely regarded as the best cricket batsman in history, makes a duck in his final Test innings.
1959 – Founding and first official meeting of the American Football League.
1967 – UK Marine Broadcasting Offences Act declares participation in offshore pirate radio illegal.
1969 – British troops are deployed in Northern Ireland.
1972 – An East German Ilyushin Il-62 crashes during takeoff from East Berlin, killing 156.
1973 – The constitution of 1973 comes into effect in Pakistan
1980 – Lech Walesa leads strikes at the Gdansk, Poland shipyards.
1987 – All the children held at Kia Lama, a rural property on Lake Eildon, Australia, run by the Santiniketan Park Association, are released after a police raid.
1994 – Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, the terrorist known as “Carlos the Jackal”, is captured.
2003 – Widescale power blackout in the northeast United States and Canada.