(Note: This 2010 L.A. Times op-ed appeared on the 75th anniversary of the signing of the Social Security Act. Today is that landmark legislation’s 77th birthday and, with Social Security certain to be one of the defining debate topics of this year’s presidential contest, we feel this piece is worth revisiting. Reposted with the authors’ permission.)
Alf Landon, the Kansas governor running as the Republican Party’s 1936 presidential candidate, called it a “fraud on the working man.” Silas Strawn, a former president of both the American Bar Assn. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said it was part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s attempt to “Sovietize the country.” The American Medical Assn. denounced it as a “compulsory socialistic tax.”
What was this threat to American prosperity, freedom and democracy they were all decrying? It was Social Security, which Roosevelt signed into law on Aug.