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Making Social Security Private In 1949

(Sen. Paul Douglas D-Ill. - Stuck in the middle of warring factions) By 1949 Social Security had become hopelessly out of date, with no cost of liv
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(Sen. Paul Douglas D-Ill. - Stuck in the middle of warring factions)

By 1949 Social Security had become hopelessly out of date, with no cost of living increases since before World War 2 and a system that had largely in place since 1935. While a general revamping and updating the system was before Congress, there was also a movement to make Social Security and Pensions private, one which appeared to be favored by management and certainly not favored by labor.

On October 6, 1949, the program America United featured a panel discussion on the Social Security and Pensions funding issue with Senator Paul Douglas (D-Ill), Emerson P. Schmidt of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, James B.Carey of the CIO and Lloyd Halvorsen of The Grange.

Douglas acknowledged that something needed to be done.

Sen. Paul Douglas: “I think the demand for private supplementary pensions has arisen because the public old-age pension and old-age insurance laws give very inadequate sums to aged people. For example; men who have been employed in private industry are only entitled to $26.00 a month, on the average, under the federal Social Security law. And with the additions for a wife the total for a man and wife is only brought to $40.00 a month. This was inadequate in 1935 with the 70% increase in the cost of living which has occurred since then, it is still more inadequate now. And it is this inadequacy of the public system, which in my judgment has forced the unions to demand a larger amount of private insurance.”

But the solutions were anything but unanimous.

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