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Social Security Act

Social Security Act

by Richard Worth

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Controversial issues leading to important legislation by the U.S. Congress reflect conflicts, personalities, and ideologies of their times. Cavendish's "Landmark Legislation" series explores for teen readers the plots, characters, and outcomes of these national dramas. "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" In 1929, the Great Depression descended on America; millions were out of work or lost their savings. President Franklin Roosevelt, elected in 1932, believed Americans needed an insurance program for their retirement years, and put the planning in the hands of Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor (and first female cabinet member). Despite vigorous opposition from Republicans, a "Social Security" Act became law in 1935. After a moderately interesting chapter about the history of aging, Worth's narrative begins to lose momentum. The early program went into effect, providing a very modest income supplement (one woman received her check for in 1950), with benefits for dependents and disability insurance added later. Unfortunately, the chapter describing how the system works today will be unutterably tedious for young adults with its minute details on retirement dates, payments, and Medicare coverage, though readers may be relieved to know that the Supreme Court has so far upheld the Act's constitutionality. Most of the rest focuses on problems facing Social Security: out-of-control costs, an expected influx of retirees, Medicare and disability fraud, and probable bankruptcy—Worth sees a bleak future for the system without significant changes. Though a chronology (1929—2008) may be helpful, the book list is meager, and inserts about debt collection, a "security hole" for female spouses, and biographies of planners Arthur Altmeyer and Wilbur Cohen are far from absorbing. Each volume of the series contains a numbered explanation of how a bill becomes a federal law. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft

Product Details

Cavendish, Marshall Corporation
Publication date:
Landmark Legislation Series
Product dimensions:
6.32(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.49(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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