Thursday, December 09, 2010

Brad DeLong is mystified by Barack Obama's version of US History

TRANSCRIPT of Dec 6 press conference

Barack Obama: This is why FDR, when he started Social Security, it only affected widows and orphans. You did not qualify. And yet now it is something that really helps a lot of people.

Does anybody have any idea what the frack Obama is talking about here, or why he would think something like this, or why he would say something like this?

I have a guess. I tried some serious googling to get to anything which might be called social security and only affected widows and orphans. I got to something at the social security administration web sight. It even had to do with a President Roosevelt.

The thing which convinces me that I've got the source of his uhm unusual view about social security is that the bill which only affected widows and orphans and is described in the SSA official history as a first step towards social security was passed by the Illinois legislature. My guess is that, in Springfield, young state senators are told that social security started right there and, at first, only affected widows and orphans.

Special Study #1:
Abe Bortz Lecture on the History of Social Security

Interest in the welfare of the many children left orphaned, abandoned, or taken from parents who could not support them, was crystallized and given direction by the first White House Conference on the Care of Dependent Children, called by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1909.


The first Statewide mother's pension law was enacted in Illinois in 1911, 18 States had enacted such laws by 1913, and 39 States by 1919. With few exceptions, assistance was limited to children up to 14 or 16 years of age. By 1934, a year after the New Deal began, there were Mother's aid laws in 46 States, the District of Columbia, Alaska and Hawaii. Thus, dependent motherhood had come to be distinctly recognized as a problem of mass poverty which could not be relegated to voluntary charity. Limited at first to orphaned children, ...

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