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Laursen, Eric
The people's pension : the struggle to defend Social Security since Reagan / Eric Laursen
Alternate Title Struggle to defend Social Security since Reagan
Oakland, CA : Edinburgh, Scotland : AK Press, c2012
book jacket
Location Call Number Status
 3rd Floor  HD7125 .L38 2012    AVAILABLE
Subject(s) Social security -- United States -- History -- 20th century
Privatization -- United States -- History -- 20th century
Neoliberalism -- United States -- History -- 20th century
Social security -- Political aspects
Social security -- Economic aspects
Social security -- Psychological aspects
Retirement income -- United States
Physical Description xii, 818 p. : ill. ; 23 cm
Note Includes bibliographical references (p. [727]-783) and index
Contents Social Security and the Reagan revolution (1981-83). A new deal ; "A despicable thing" ; The "third rail" of American politics ; "Waiting for the commission" ; The compromise of 1983 -- The movement against Social Security is born (1983-94). Making the case ; "Generational equity" ; The war against the geezers ; The anti-deficit obsession ; The struggle for austerity ; Bob Kerrey gets his pulpit ; Tax cuts and magic bullets -- Selling privatization (1994-96). "Just about unanimous" ; Privatization repackaged ; Wall Street enlists ; "What's in it for me?" ; Scary numbers ; The "intergenerational chain letter" ; Modest proposals ; Chile's pension revolution -- Mating dance (1996-99). The pension revolution comes home ; "Save social security first" ; The debate hits the road ; Democratic backlash ; "So surreal you wouldn't believe it" ; The unbridgeable gulf ; Washington politics and public opinion -- The Social Security election (1999-2000). The politics of prosperity ; Bush vs. Gore ; The road to Florida -- The ownership society (2001-05). The vanishing surplus ; A zero-to-one shot ; The Bush Commission punts ; Guns and butter ; Reaching for a mandate ; Karl Rove's dream ; Bush rolls the dice ; "We need public pressure" ; Propaganda and politicization ; A tipping point ; The Republican debacle -- Back to austerity (2006-11). "No one is talking anymore about a 'permanent Republican majority'" ; The rebirth of the pain caucus ; Obama vs. McCain ; Obama stumbles ; The deficit commission ; The return to austerity ; The retirement crisis
Summary This book explores the potential benefits of a government-independent, democratized Social Security system to support dependents suffering from the reduction of other government benefits. It provides essential ammunition against the theft of our golden years by pundits, "free" marketeers, and bureaucrats. Social Security, not for nothing do politicians call it the "third rail of American politics, touch it, and you die." Yet a powerful, well-funded movement to phase out Social Security or even privatize it has been gathering strength since the election of Ronald Reagan. Each time it comes close to succeeding, it has beaten back by a coalition of labor, grassroots organizers, and the elderly. Meanwhile, Social Security has only become more vital to retirees and their families as the federal and state governments slash other benefits and services, a trend that has grown ever more troubling in recent years. This book is both groundbreaking history and an eye-opening guide for anyone concerned about one of the biggest issues of our times. With 95 percent of Americans participating in the program either as beneficiaries or through their payroll tax contributions, Social Security is quite literally the glue that binds Americans together as a community. In its epilogue, the author argues to democratize, not disable, the program, suggesting that the only solution for Social Security may be to de-link it from government altogether
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