Compromise 4: Whittling Down The New Deal

Compromise upon compromise whittled FDR’s dreams down considerably but enabled him to pass his Social Security Act, perhaps the most sweeping social reform of the 20th century

Not long after Franklin D. Roosevelt was sworn in on March 4, 1933, he began work on his “big bill.” It embraced several of his highest aspirations: universal health care, old-age pensions, unemployment insurance, and more, including a provision to make the federal government the employer of last resort in what many economists considered a “mature” economy whose private-sector employment component was destined to be chronically deficient. Read more »

The Birth Of Social Security

Had Franklin D. Roosevelt not been so conservative, we might have had national health insurance forty years ago

Judged by its direct and profound I influence upon individual and collective lives, no social legislation in all American history is more important than the Social Security Act of August, 1935. And of no other New Deal measure is the legislative history more instructive for one who would understand the essential nature and central purpose of the Roosevelt administration, and the ways in which the mind, character, and temperament of Franklin D. Roosevelt had major shaping impact upon today’s America. Read more »