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Social Security was only for widows and orphans. FDR irresponsible: sat and spun for six months

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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 08:28 PM
Original message
Poll question: Social Security was only for widows and orphans. FDR irresponsible: sat and spun for six months
Are these accurate statements? After you vote, whichever you decide, I'd like to hear your thoughts on why Obama would describe FDR and Social Security in this way. What, in your opinion, is his aim?

Sorry, polls are turned off at Level 3.

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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 08:33 PM
Response to Original message
1. For my part, I think he's sick of being compared unfavorably to FDR
Roosevelt's example is the stick many have used to beat his legislative record and in particular his response to the financial crisis. There is no question that many of these comparisons are inevitably unfair, given the changes in circumstances over the past seventy plus years. But what I can't explain is why Obama's antipathy for the left, which all Democratic presidents must feel from time to time, finds such frequent expression. What does it gain him?
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Bluerthanblue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 08:38 PM
Response to Original message
2. can you link to quote of Pres. O saying "FDR "sat and spun for 6mos."
I'm not familiary with that.

As for the first- it's true. At it's inception it WAS for widows and orphans.

I can't vote until I see the quote you refrence.
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dflprincess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 08:44 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Survivor benefits ("widows and orphans") were not added until 1939


http://www.nysscpa.org/cpajournal/2006/506/infocus/p15 ....

In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Committee on Economic Security (CES). The CES was assigned the task of studying the need for an economic security system to provide income for the elderly and disabled. Care for those unable to work was traditionally provided by family members or, in limited cases, by the government. Roosevelt recognized the need for a national system. In January 1935, the CES issued a report to President Roosevelt outlining a plan for a national program of economic security. This plan ultimately became the Social Security Act (SSA), which was passed by Congress on August 14, 1935.

The SSA created a social insurance program covering a variety of individuals. The law provided a monthly benefit to individuals age 65 and older and no longer working. The monthly benefit was paid to the primary worker when he retired; the amount received was based on the individuals payroll tax contributions. The SSA also provided unemployment insurance, aid to dependent children, and grants to states for medical care. The Social Security Board was established and charged with implementing a system to enroll employees, report earnings, and collect payroll tax contributions. Under the initial SSA, monthly benefits were to begin in 1942; from 1937 until 1942, Social Security would pay out a single lump sum to anyone retiring. This payback sum was given to those paying into Social Security but not having sufficient contributions to vest in monthly benefits.

Changes to the 1935 Act

There have been several important amendments to the original 1935 Social Security Act. In 1939, Social Security was modified to add benefits to the spouse or minor children of a retired worker. It also added a survivors benefit, paid to the family in the event of the premature death of a covered worker. Thus, with the 1939 amendment, the idea of economic security became a family-based program rather than an individual-based one, and one that provided benefits for retirement, disability, premature death, and medical costs after retirement.



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DURHAM D Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 08:44 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. Wrong - it was for the worker.
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 08:45 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. Sure
We didnt actually, I think, do what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did, which was basically wait for six months until the thing had gotten so bad that it became an easier sell politically because we thought that was irresponsible. We had to act quickly.


This was during a conference call with liberal bloggers, here:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/10/28/914273/-Blogge...
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Bluerthanblue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 09:22 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. thanks-
I hadn't heard that.

It doesn't sound quite as snarky as the "sit and spin" you quoted, nor does he actually call FDR irresponsible as much as he is saying that he felt that to do anything other than get the stimulus package into place would have been irresponsible. It was not a very tactful choice of words.

As to your question 'why' would he say these things- My guess, and all any of us can do is guess- is that he is very often being compared to what people see as ideal Democratic presidents, and being judged lacking. I also think that many don't understand just how close we came/are to a total financial collapse. The the tea-party/republican party and even some Dem's chide him for the stimulus, and blames him for bailouts- and unemployment much of which started before he even took office. I imagine being human, he sometimes gets tired of people judging him so harshly.

It's easy to romanticize past presidents- I am NOT saying that FDR wasn't an exceptional President!-
But when it began Social Security wasn't the broad program it is now, and it has been tweaked and expanded quite abit over the years. While he was incorrect in saying it began for orphans and widows only (I'd been under that impression my self) his main point- that it began humbly and became the program it is today- is valid.

So, I guess I have to vote incorrect- but I don't view this as a sinister agenda designed to smear FDR that some people seem to.

Thanks for providing the quote.


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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 09:53 PM
Response to Reply #6
12. That statement was awkward, but I read it
This notion that somehow I could have gone and made the case around the country for a far bigger stimulus because of the magnitude of the crisis, well, we understood the magnitude of the crisis. We didnt actually, I think, do what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did, which was basically wait for six months until the thing had gotten so bad that it became an easier sell politically because we thought that was irresponsible. We had to act quickly.

And getting 60 votes for what was an unprecedented stimulus was really hard. And we didnt have the luxury of saying -- first of all, we didnt have 60 votes at the time. We had 58. And we didnt have the luxury to say to the Senate, our way or the highway on this one.


...as saying they didn't have the luxury of waiting until things got so bad. The market crashed in 1929 and by the time FDR took office the crisis had peaked.

The peak of the current crisis was July 2009.

As for the other statement, he was talking about incrementalism, and he was correct.

Still, nothing wrong with correcting any ambiguity.

Roosevelt historians are doing just that, but even they understand what he meant:

<...>

In his news conference on December 7, President Obama defended his recent decision to compromise with the Republicans over the extension of the Bush tax cuts in part by insisting that sometimes compromise is necessary. He reminded his critics on the left that progress often comes a few steps at a time and that to refuse to compromise is to court failure. He then compared the progress that his administration has made in health care reform (imperfect as it may be) with some historical examples, such as FDRs passage of the Social Security Act, which he noted initially only affected widows and orphans.

The president may be correct when he states that a good many of the social-economic reforms we now take for granted were brought into being gradually. But his hasty characterization of Social Security as something that initially only helped widows and orphans is incorrect and doesnt do it justice.

<...>

In other words, FDR saw the establishment of Social Security as a reflection of the recognition that in a modern capitalistic industrial society government can and must become an active instrument of social and economic justice. Given the meager and almost non-existent presence of the State in the management of the economy and in the day-to-day lives of Americans prior to the onset of the New Deal, the establishment of this principle was no incremental step. Rather, it was a huge leap forward even when one factors in the many short-comings of the original legislation.

President Obama is right. Much of the progress we have made as a nation has come one or two steps at a time. But there are also some compelling examples in our history when bold leadership, combined with bold action, inspired the government and the people to act as one in the best interests of all. The passage of the 1935 Social Security Act is perhaps the best example of this. It marks a fundamental shift in the American peoples attitude about the role of government. Through its provisions, it not only helped establish the belief that government could and should work to advance the general welfare, but also helped restore their faith in a liberal capitalist democracy at a time when the democratic system of government was under siege in much of the rest of the world.

<...>


There are a lot of factors, Congress, the urgency of the situation and the level of opposition. The Republicans today are simply despicable.



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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 01:48 AM
Response to Reply #6
15. It is Obama who is irresponsible, misguided -- and bad for America and Dem Party....
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Cali_Democrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 01:51 AM
Response to Reply #6
17. Jeebus
Edited on Sun Dec-12-10 01:53 AM by Cali_Democrat
The quote isn't exactly what you said, but it still sounds bad.
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inna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 02:19 AM
Response to Reply #6
18. lol, this quote absolutely kills me.

and clearly, Obama is highly intelligent, well educated and extremely well informed. which makes this lame mockery of FDR simply INEXCUSABLE.

WTF, Obama??


:nuke:

pisses me off.
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SharonAnn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 09:17 PM
Response to Reply #2
8. No, widows and orphans were not covered when Social Security started.
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sasha031 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 08:40 PM
Response to Original message
3. my question would be, did the Beltway change him
Edited on Sat Dec-11-10 08:45 PM by sasha031
or was this always his belief.
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Ozymanithrax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 08:52 PM
Response to Original message
7. Both statements are incorrect.
He said them to sell his package and his own Presidency, like a Used Car Salesman sells a piece of shit sky blue 1968 Cadillac.

This isn't the first time he made an incorrect statement about the Social Security Act.
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madamesilverspurs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 09:39 PM
Response to Original message
10. For what it's worth,
Edited on Sat Dec-11-10 09:42 PM by madamesilverspurs
a number of years ago an upper level person at our local Social Security office informed me that I was "lucky" to be getting disability benefits, seeing as how SS was started to help "widows and orphans". My only reaction at the time was some discomfort at hearing that being disabled was a lucky thing. Whatever. The relevant point is that the program started small and then expanded over time.


-
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Historic NY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 09:44 PM
Response to Original message
11. There are so many myths concerning SS that they SSA haa a website to debunk them
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customerserviceguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 10:27 PM
Response to Original message
13. It would seem to reflect his lack of knowledge of the history of this program
and if such is the case, then he's not going to be a proper steward of it.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 01:49 AM
Response to Reply #13
16. Right... Social Security is an INSURANCE program ....
and not something that any of us could afford to duplicate anywhere with a

private insurance company -- !!


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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 01:46 AM
Response to Original message
14. When did Obama say that -- ? If so, disgusting ....
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earth mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 02:32 AM
Response to Original message
19. WTF! Obama said FDR was irresponsible?! When did he say this?
I am LIVID to hear this!!!

:nuke:

:grr:
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Recursion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 09:28 AM
Response to Reply #19
20. He didn't, but don't let that stop your rage
He said waiting as long as FDR did in the 30's would have been irresponsible in the 00's.
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 07:47 PM
Response to Reply #20
25. How do you figure? "...that was irresponsible."
Not "that would be irresponsible." The quote is cited in this thread, in my reply "Sure."
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QC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 09:30 AM
Response to Original message
21. Isn't it the most amazing coincidence that Obama's misspeakings always validate
key right wing talking points?

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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 09:31 AM
Response to Original message
22. If Obama thinks that FDR sat and spun for six months,
my criticism to Obama is that he's taken two years and I still don't see any public works program in action.
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dflprincess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 07:44 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. I know the legend of FDR's first 100 days has become overblown
but the fact remains Roosevelt did accomplish some important things during that period.

I don't know if Obama's claim that FDR twiddled his thumbs for 6 months is an outright lie intended to make himself look better or if he is woefully ignorant about the Roosevelt Administration and the legislation it passed. Either option does not reflect well on Obama.
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Bluenorthwest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 09:36 AM
Response to Original message
23. He had it all wrong, either he is daft or he is lying with intent
It did not include widows and orphans at all at first, just the worker, the other aspects were added later. No President should ever be so incorrct about basics of such a wildly important issue. Willfully or otherwise.
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