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Chapter 23. Social Security and Medicare > A Little History - Pg. 235

Social Security and Medicare 235 A Little History A little history will help set the stage for why we even have a Social Security system in place today. Most of you didn't go through the Great Depression of the 1930s, but you may have parents, grand- parents, or great-grandparents whose lives were strongly influenced by the Depression. They may still tell stories about how bad things were, how many miles they had to walk to school, and how awful it was not to have a job. Many of the people telling the stories are actually the children of the generation that experienced the Great Depression, but their lives were influenced by their parents' struggles for survival. Unemployment rates were as high as 25 percent in the 1930s. Older workers could not give up their jobs as they aged, because they had little or no savings. The senior citizens of that day who were not working were often living at the poverty level. Many younger workers couldn't get jobs, because older workers could not afford to stop working. For What It's Worth In 1930, 54 percent of men over age 65 were in the workforce. Today, that group accounts for only 16 percent