Readings in Social Security

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

CHAPTER IX
APPRAISAL AND CRITICISM

"If we would guide by the light of reason, we must let our minds be bold."

Mr. Justice Brandeis, dissenting, in NEW STATE ICE COMPANY v.
LIEBMANN, 52 U. S. 387 ( 1932).

"It is sometimes alleged that a complete system of social security would ultimately have the effect of discouraging self-reliance and even fostering unemployment by destroying the incentives to industry, by removing the rough but salutary influence of discipline. *** We must and do assume that the bulk of mankind who are able to work are willing to work, and that they will strive for something more than a doghouse subsistence on a dole. *** it is not fear but hope that moves men to greater expenditures of effort, to ingenuity and emulation, to sharp struggle for the values they seek in life—hope set in a framework of justice, liberty, fair play, and a fair share of the gains of civilization."

SECURITY, WORK AND RELIEF POLICIES, Report to the National Resources Planning Board, 1943, p. 1.


INTRODUCTION

ALMOST ALL of the previous eight chapters have contained some selections appraising and criticizing the present social security program and suggesting revisions in existing programs or the establishment of new programs. In so far as possible these selections in previous chapters were designed primarily to deal with particular programs. The selections in this final chapter are designed to deal with more general points covering more than one program or suggesting very basic changes in present programs.

We know a good deal more today about the practical problems involved in administering social security than we knew in 1934 when the original plan was being drafted. We have had over 10 years' experience in administering the largest in

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