Politics and Social Security

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It wasn’t hard making the case for Social Security seventy years ago, back when Franklin Delano Roosevelt sold it to the American people. The Great Depression made the case for him. Older Americans, who had spent their lives working, watched their savings and pensions disappear with the crash of the markets. And with that, the largest government retirement and insurance program in the world was born.

President George Bush wants social security to figure as large in his legacy as it did in FDR’s. He wants to change it, radically, by creating private accounts. Proponents say his plan will harness the power of the market for retirees. Others say it puts the most successful insurance plan in history at the mercy of the market.


Representative Mike Castle from Delaware

Eric Roston, writer and reporter in TIME’s Washington bureau

Theda Skocpol, Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University.