Trends in Social Work, 1874-1956: A History Based on the Proceedings of the National Conference of Social Work

By Frank J. Bruno | Go to book overview

32 · SOCIAL SECURITY

IF THE Social Security Act had been passed by the British Parliament instead of by the Congress of the United States, it would be pointed out as in excellent example of the British method of "muddling through." It is a series of miscellaneous provisions in the field of public welfare which altogether do not furnish a logical plan for social security. Frances Perkins, President Roosevelt Secretary of Labor, said ( 1935), "it constitutes a very significant step in grounding a well-rounded, unified, long-range plan for social security"; but that is the best that can be said for this long-debated and hopefully expected means of mitigating the economic hazard of the wage earner.

This is by no means a criticism of the Committee on Economic Security, and even less of the Federal Administration's judgment. The Committee suggested something more logical and comprehensive, but, wise in the ways of politics, they knew the limits of the game, and accepted what could pass through the legislative mill. It is simply a statement of fact that an act which calls itself "Social Security" contains merely two proposals for social insurance, three proposals for general assistance, provisions for child welfare services and maternal and child welfare, a plan to strengthen public health work in the several states, and systems for the care and re-education of crippled children and for vocational rehabilitation of injured persons. The Social Security Act can only be called a measure to furnish such means of security as do not arouse serious opposition.

-309-

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