Freedom from Fear

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Using the Social Security Act to Rebuild America’s Social Safety Net

January 11, 2010

Steven Attewell

President Roosevelt Signs the Social Security Act, 1935

The Social Security system was intended not merely to provide public pensions for the elderly but to establish a framework for a comprehensive system of economic security. Steven Attewell writes: “We need to go back to the original drawing board – the Social Security Act of 1935 – to finish the job it began and create a truly universal and comprehensive social welfare state.”

On the sixty-sixth anniversary of FDR’s landmark “Second Bill of Rights” speech, please read this important and timely new paper (PDF, 12 pp.).

Steven Attewell is completing his PhD in history at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he specializes in the history of public policy. His dissertation discusses the history of public employment from the New Deal to the rise of Reagan. He co-authors a blog called “The Realignment Project”, which discusses current political developments and proposed policies through the lens of history.
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Freedom from Fear (PDF, 12 pp.)