Friday, August 14, 2015



Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Having passed by overwhelming  margins in both houses of Congress, the Social Security Act (HR 7260)  was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt eighty years ago today, August 14, 1935.

The proposal had been sent down to Capitol Hill with the title "The Economic Security Bill," but Congressman Frank H. Buck* (D-California) made a motion to the Ways and Means Committee on March 1, 1935 to change the name to the Social Security Act of 1935.  The motion carried.

The law, which was introduced in the House of Representatives, received the support of 284 Democrats and 81 Republicans in that body with only 30 voting no.  In the Senate, 60 Democrats joined with 16 Republicans to vote for the proposal.  Only 6 voted no.

The Social Security Act of 1935...

"establish(ed) a system of Federal old-age benefits enabling the several States to make more adequate provision for aged persons, blind persons, dependent and crippled children, maternal and child welfare, public health and the administration of their unemployment compensation laws."

Under the act, social security benefits are paid based on a payroll tax contribution made by workers during their years of employment. In signing the bill, FDR said...

"This seeking of a greater measure of welfare and happiness does not indicate a change in values.  It is rather a return to values lost in the course of our economic development and expansion."

According to the Christian Science Monitor, a new Gallup poll reveals that over half of all American workers do not believe they will receive Social Security benefits at the end of their careers, and in Donald Trump's words, two-thirds believe the system is "in serious trouble."

The reason is because..."changing demographics have led some experts to question whether the...system will be able to pay its recipients their full benefits in years to come."

FDR Signs Social Security Act of 1935

*Frank H. Buck (1887-1942) was born near Vacaville, CA & graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1908 & Harvard University Law School in 1911.  FHB began his law practice in San Francisco.  He served as U.S. Representative of California 1933-1942.


"Social Security History," Social Security Official Website,

"Social Security turns 80 today.  Is it here to stay?," by Christina Maza, The Christian Science Monitor, August 13, 2015,

Ida May Fuller
Gets her SS Check 
October 3 , 1980

In signing the Social Security Amendments of 1961, President John F. Kennedy said...

"A nation's strength lies in the well-being of its people.  The Social Security program plays an important part in providing for families, children and older persons in times of stress.  

Changes in our population, work habits and standard of living require constant revision (to make) the program more effective."

From all indications, it now seems we are in one of those periods where revision is the order of the day.