Readings in Social Security

By William Haber; Wilbur J. Cohen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
SOCIAL SECURITY DEVELOPMENTS
IN THE UNITED STATES

"[The Social Security Act] represents a corner stone in a structure which is being built but is by no means complete—a structure intended to lessen the force of possible future depressions, to act as a protection to future Administrations of the Government against the necessity of going deeply into debt to furnish relief to the needy—a law to flatten out the peaks and valleys of deflation and of inflation—in other words, a law that will take care of human needs and at the same time provide for the United States an economic structure of vastly greater soundness."

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Statement Upon Signing of the Social
Security Act,
August 14, 1935.

"Once it has been accepted that compulsion may be laid upon the individual to improve his life, on the ground that his voluntary efforts to improve it himself are unsatisfactory, there is no logical place to stop short of minding his life from birth to death."

Editorial in AMERICAN AFFAIRS, National Industrial Conference
Board,
APRIL, 1946.


INTRODUCTION

THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT of 1935 was the immediate outgrowth of President Roosevelt's message to Congress on June 8, 1934, in which he painted in broad, bold strokes a picture of existing needs and forthcoming developments, saying: "… we are compelled to employ the active interest of the nation as a whole through government in order to encourage a greater security for each individual who composes it."

The President created a Committee on Economic Security to study the entire problem of social and economic security and make recommendations to him. This Committee made its re

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