Social Security Cards Explained

By: CGP Grey

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Uploaded on 03/29/2017

The Social Security card and number explained.

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Special Thanks:

Stephen P. Morse, PhD.

Ralph Gross, Postdoctoral Fellow, Carnegie Mellon University.

Alessandro Acquisti, Professor, Carnegie Mellon University

Mark Govea, Thomas J Miller Jr MD, Bob Kunz, John Buchan, Andres Villacres, Nevin Spoljaric, Christian Cooper, Michael Little, Ripta Pasay, Tony DiLascio, Richard Jenkins, Chris Chapin, Saki Comandao, Tod Kurt, Jason Lewandowski, Michael Mrozek, Phil Gardner, سليمان العقل, Jordan Melville, Martin , Steven Grimm, rictic , Ian , Faust Fairbrook, Chris Woodall, Kozo Ota, Colin Millions, Guillermo , Timothy Basanov, Chris Harshman, , Donal Botkin, David Michaels, Ron Bowes, Tómas Árni Jónasson, Mikko , Derek Bonner, Derek Jackson, Orbit_Junkie , Alistair Forbes, Robert Grünke (trainfart), Veronica Peshterianu, Paul Tomblin, Travis Wichert, chrysilis , Ryan E Manning, Erik Parasiuk, Rhys Parry, Maarten van der Blij, Kevin Anderson, Ryan Nielsen, Esteban Santana Santana, Dag Viggo Lokøen, Tristan Watts-Willis, John Rogers, Edward Adams, Leon , ken mcfarlane, Brandon Callender, Timothy Moran, Peter Lomax, Emil , Tijmen van Dien, ShiroiYami , Alex Schuldberg, Bear , Jacob Ostling, Solon Carter, Rescla , Andrew Proue, Tor Henrik Lehne, David Palomares, Cas Eliëns, Freddi Hørlyck, Ernesto Jimenez, Osric Lord-Williams, Maxime Zielony, Lachlan Holmes , John Bevan, John Lee, Ian N Riopel, AUFFRAY Clement, David , Alex Morales, Alexander Kosenkov, Elizabeth Keathley, Kevin , Pierre Perrott, Tadeo Kondrak, James Bissonette, Jahmal O'Neil, Naturally Curious, Nantiwat , Tianyu Ge, Kevin Jeun, Jason Ruel, JoJo Chehebar, Danny Lunianga Xavier, Jeremy Peng, Jennifer Richardson, Rustam Anvarov

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Comments (9):

By rtkwe    2017-09-20

There's an inbuilt distrust of the federal government built into the constitution itself and there's a constant drumbeat from the Republican side that the federal government is wasteful and out of touch with the needs of the individual states, often for practical purposes of devolving control of funding and policy to the state level where in general they have more control.

And as to why the SSN is the way it is, it's a usage of convenience. Before the SSN there was no unique identifier for every citizen then suddenly to keep track of the new entitlement and assistance programs during the great depression one was created and companies started using it as they wanted because it was the most convenient uuid available. There's a good recent CGP Grey video about the history of SSN and why it's such a silly mess today.

Original Thread

By onebigbug    2017-09-20

The whole situation is reasonably well explained by CGP Grey's video on Social Security Cards

Original Thread

By snuxoll    2017-09-29

CGPGrey did an excellent video on this topic:

Original Thread

By vec    2017-09-29

CGP Gray did a really good video[1] about this recently. The short version is that it's the least terrible mechanism presently available for uniquely identifying and disambiguating American citizens.


Original Thread

By Qub3d    2017-11-10

Here's a relevant pop science video by CGP Grey[0] that explains all the various problems with SSNs. My favorite part is the fact that until quite recently (2011) you could decrement or increment a given SSN by 1 and get another valid SSN, since they were sequential.


Original Thread

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