Committee on Economic Security (CES)

Volume VI. Social Insurance

K. Miscellaneous Studies



Democratic National Platform, 1938.
"We advocate unemployment and old age insurance under state laws."

William Green, President, American Federation of Labor, House Hearings, P. 384.
"In behalf of the American Federation of Labor, its officers and members, I wish at the outset to urge the enactment of social security legislation at this session of Congress. We feel that the enactment of such legislation has been altogether too long delayed. The need for such legislation is so apparent that it would seem that all thinking people would be convinced of the urgent necessity of Congress enacting such legislation into law."

Elizabeth Christman, representing the National Women's Trade Union League, Senate Hearings, pp. 445-446.
"The National Women's Trade Union League of America strongly endorses the purposes of the Economic Security Act. The measures for social security proposed in the various sections of the act--old age assistance; Federal and State aid for dependent children, for maternal and child health and for public health; and insurance against some of the hazards of unemployment--are all necessary steps that must be taken if the wage earners of the United States are to have any feeling of real social security.

The National Women's Trade Union League of America is an organization of trade-union women and speaks for thousands of working women who have had first-hand experience of the results of a social system that does not provide these safeguards.

While we recognize the fact that real economic security can be provided only by steady employment at a decent living wage, a wage that permits the support of dependents and expenditures for health and savings, we feel that the measures contemplated in this bill are of great social importance and are a real step forward toward a program of social justice for the wage earners of the United States."

Lincoln Filene, of William Filene's Sons Company, Boston, in Senate Hearings, p. 820.
"I am in very deep sympathy with the general purposes of this legislation, and any criticism that I have to make I simply am making in the hope that it may be constructive."

Albert D. Hutzler, Baltimore, Md., Vice-Chairman, Unemployment Insurance Committee National Retail Dry Goods Association, in Senate Hearings, P. 711.
"The first point is this--that retailers generally are in accord with the spirit and objective of this bill, and that the retailers are a large section of business life of the country."

Frank P. Graham, President, University of North Carolina, Chairman, Advisory Council on Economic Security, in Senate Hearings, p. 292.
"I think I would say that each man (referring to the members of the Advisory Council) of course reserved his individual convictions but supported a broad, comprehensive program of social security, in broad outline without in any way compromising his own individual convictions. There are some things in the report of the Advisory Council that different members, of course, do not agree with. There are some things in there that I do not agree with. But we are all for a comprehensive long-range program toward social security now."

Abraham Epstein, Executive Secretary, National Association for Social Security, in Senate Hearings, p. 468.
"Now gentlemen, the bill before you, the omnibus bill, does represent to my mind and to any student of the problem, perhaps the most outstanding case of social legislation or any form of legislation that has ever been before Congress. I think we all ought to be grateful to the President for the courage and daring that he had to present a comprehensive message like he did. I would like to call attention to the fact that no political leader in the history of the world ever really had the courage to present as comprehensive a program on this form legislation as President Roosevelt did. Even Bismarck who stands out as the first leader in social insurance in Germany, adopted his program bit by bit and piecemeal. Lloyd George, who certainly did a remarkable job in England and was daring and as courageous as anybody, never dared to embrace so many of these things at one time. And so I do feel that the President deserves the congratulations and the gratitude of all of the people who are interested in social welfare, for the mere courage and graciousness with which he has grasped the problem of seeing that after all this is a national problem and that it must be handled in this comprehensive manner."

Grace Abbott, University of Chicago, former Chief, U.S. Children's Bureau, in Senate Hearings, p. 1080.
"I wanted to speak about several of the points in the bill in which I am especially interested because of my previous work. I am most interested in the child-welfare and child-health aspect of the bill. However, I think we should say that in its larger aspect the whole measure will promote the welfare of children, because the welfare of children is promoted by unemployment compensation and even by old-age insurance and annuities, because the burden of the care of the aged upon those in middle age must usually be balanced against the proper care for the children. So that in many respects this whole recognition of Government responsibility for social security means that the place of the child will also be made much more secure than it has been in the past."

Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America. Resolution adopted at its biennial meeting at Dayton, Ohio, December 4-6, 1954.
"Whereas even in a well-planned economy there apparently will remain certain hazards of unemployment, we urge the enactment of Federal and State unemployment insurance legislation to provide security for workers who through no fault of their own are thrown out of work."

Miles M. Dawson, Insurance Actuary, in letter to the Secretary of Labor from Winter Park, Florida, February 26, 1935.
"While making a trip from New York the other day, I had the opportunity of reading with care the report of the Committee on Economic Security which I found thorough, comprehensive, and wholly to my liking. I hope it will be carried through, as far as possible, entirely as it stands."


William Green., President, American Federation of Labor, in Senate Hearings, p. 180.
"Prompt adoption of the old-age assistance plan is essential if the program is to get under way in the immediate future. Effective operation of contributory old-age insurance cannot begin for at least another generation. But a sound foundation must be laid now for an insurance system which would eventually become self-liquidating. Concurrent operation of the two plans will enable us through experiment to perfect in time an insurance system which would fully meet the requirements of old-age security."

Thomas I. Parkinson, President, Equitable Life Assurance Society, Senate Hearings, p. 206.
"Just as the business of life insurance received tremendous impetus from the successful efforts of the Government to provide a sizable amount of insurance of all called to arms through the creation and development of the War Risk Bureau, so do I believe that social insurance agitation forwarded by President Roosevelt and his official associates will result in renewed appreciation and great stimulation of life insurance activities, both individual and group."

Leroy A. Lincoln, Vice President and General Counsel, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, in Address to the Managers of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company on "The Economic Security Legislation as Viewed by a Life Insurance Company," February 2, 1935, pp. 12-13
"An interesting aspect of the proposed legislation, coming under the head of old-age retirement, is a special proposal for the issuance, on the part of the Government, of individual annuities in limited amounts to be voluntarily purchased by those who desire to do so. This proposal has been looked upon with some misgiving in certain quarters. We do not share this misgiving. The Committee's report recommends that the Government conduct this individual annuity business on a self-supporting and sound actuarial basis. Under such conditions the cost to the purchaser from a private company, if a wider spread of old-age protection for our citizens is desired, the Government may indeed welcome that evangelical education which will be spread by the sales forces of the private companies, whereas, on the other hand, the Government, by its advocacy of old-age protection, individually financed, will offer a valuable example to be cited in behalf of the private companies. A more or less analogous situation arose during the late war when the Government undertook the so-called War Risk insurance. Private companies cooperated with the Government in setting up and supporting the plan and, later, in urging veterans to keep their Government insurance. The example set by the Government served to make the American people more insurance conscious and the vast growth of the life insurance business since that time is, in part, attributable to the Government example. We look with concern on the Government's individual annuity proposal, on the assumption that it will be soundly conceived and soundly managed and, in the parlance of the street, will 'stand on its own feet'."

Richard Z. Hogue, Director, Independent Legislative Bureau, Washington, in Senate Hearings, p. 1136.
"The impression has been given that consideration of social security legislation has been suddenly thrust before an uninformed and indifferent Congress. This has been implied by certain witnesses, particularly in regard to old-age pensions. It has been conveyed by a part of the daily press to a large portion of the American people. But what are the facts?

For several years Congress has been seeking to evolve a sound and an effective plan of Federal old-age assistance. In the Seventy-Third Congress the Pension Committee of the Senate and the Labor Committee of the House unanimously agreed on and reported out identical measures. Overwhelming sentiment for the passage of this legislation existed in both Houses. Appeals were made to the President and to administration leaders to allow the legislation to be placed on the administration's 'must' program. This was not done. The bills were not permitted to come to a vote in either body after the President announced that he would present a program for social security to the Seventy-Fourth Congress. This statement of fact should have a place in the record of these Hearings.

The demand for national old-age pension legislation has existed in Congress and throughout the country for many years. Twenty-eight States and the Territories of Alaska and Hawaii have old-age pension systems. A campaign of education and active legislative effort has been carried on for many years by many forces, notably by the American Association for Social Security. Nation-wide sentiment has been crystallized during the depression. Certain last-minute organizations have set out to capitalize this sentiment. Each one of them claims that it is forcing action by a reluctant Congress, under the fear of political reprisals. This claim is both unfair and unfounded. It would be less worthy of notice were it not for the tragic disillusionment that awaits the aged poor who have invested their faith, as well as their small savings, in the claims and promises of these privately organized and controlled old-age pension movements."

Owen E. Pence, National Council of Young Men's Christian Associations, in Senate Hearings, p. 437.
"If there were no other reason at all for doing so, I would myself enthusiastically support this measure because of its provisions for the Federal compulsory contributory pension system, because of the opportunity it may give for young workers to build up some basis for their own security in old age."


Thomas I. Parkinson, President, Equitable Life Assurance Society, January 19, 1935. Quoted in Senate Hearings, p. 207.
"The collection of reserves in good times to tide over--as far as such reserves can reasonably be made to tide over--forms of temporary unemployment represents an enlightened way of preparing in time of plenty for a famine to come. In such respect unemployment reserves become a near relative to the insurance family. Measures of this kind, however, popularly discussed as unemployment insurance, are in no way an invasion of the field of this life insurance company."

Harold W. Story, Vice President and General Counsel, Allis-Charlmers Mfg. Company, in Senate Hearings, p. 516.
"I subscribe to what Mr. Folsom says, that voluntary action will not be effective. You must have compulsory action of the kind that is prescribed in the economic bill."

Ernest O. Draper, Vice President, the Hills Brothers Company, New York City, Senate Hearings, pp. 781-782.
"I welcome the President's economic security program as a sound method of bringing about unemployment compensation legislation throughout the country. . . I favor making the unemployment benefits a cost of production to be paid by the employer alone. I would not object were S. 1130 and H. R. 4142 amended to provide a 3 per cent tax from the very beginning in 1936, because I believe that it is urgent to begin as soon as possible to build up the necessary reserves. In my judgment, however, it would be a serious mistake in policy for the Federal legislation to require the pooling of contributions and thus prevent any State from providing the fullest possible incentive to better management and employment stabilization."

Samuel W. Rayburn, New York City, Chairman, Social Insurance Committee of the National Retailers' Association, in Senate Hearings, p. 707.
Senator Barkley: "What do you think of the wisdom and propriety, purely as a matter of Government, of levying a tax on the people of one State for a definite and specific purpose and then if the State does not pass legislation that would bring it within the meaning of the law, to expand the money for that purpose, in general governmental purposes and not for the purposes indicated in the act?"

Mr. Rayburn: "I am entirely a States' Righter. I think local people can look after local affairs better than some people far away, but you know that interstate commerce knows no State lines, credit knows no State lines, and in our modern industrial civilization, these problems of social security we will have to recognize that fact and not be bound down by State lines. I may not be able to defend it as a high moral principle, but I see no objection to it in a thing of this kind."

Grace Abbott, former Chief, U.S. Children's Bureau, in Senate Hearings, pp.1080-1081.
"I wanted to speak especially, before I talk about the child-welfare measures which are more specific in the bill, about the unemployment compensation provisions, especially about the form in which the bill is drawn and the fact that, to a very considerable extent, standards are omitted from the bill.

I am really very much in favor of this form of the bill. I come to this conclusion because I think it represents a national scheme with State cooperation, and I think, after all, that is about the most that we ought to expect in our federal form of Government. If it is upheld by the courts and experience shows that further uniformity is desirable it is perfectly possible to add to the standards at any time, because the legislation will be in existence then. We will have a national framework, at least, and within that national framework the States are given certain authority.

We have under the proposed bill uniformity in the tax levy, so that the competitive aspect is withdrawn. We also have uniformity in safeguarding the funds. We have uniformity in the establishment that shall be at least a fund
that exists, with not more than 1 per cent contracted out, and that by individual firms and corporations, and with the terms under which they can contract out safeguarded by the bill. So I think we begin with a minimum of standards and we allow for great diversity then in development. While this creates confusion, it almost is an inevitable confusion, in view of the very different industrial developments that there is in different parts of the country.

Moreover, I am very strongly for it on another ground, and that is should the Federal statutes not be upheld if the present form of the Wagner-Lewis bill is followed, we shall then at least have the State measures, and that, I should think, was almost the deciding factor in favor of this as compared with what has been perhaps misnamed the subsidy form. In the President's Advisory Committee on Economic Security, the majority of the members were in favor of the so-called "subsidy" form, but in the report of the council that we sat with, all of the members recognized that each type of Federal law has distinct merit, and they wished their vote to be interpreted not as necessarily approving either type of law but merely as preferring one to the other.

So I think the present form of the Wagner-Lewis bill will give us what we need, pressure at the present time on the States to enact unemployment compensation laws, and at the same time a Federal shell which can be extended as experience indicates it is necessary to be extended, and standards can be added as they need to be added."

Elmer F. Andrews, Industrial Commissioner of the State of New York, in Senate Hearings, p. 713.
"I am here representing Governor Lehman, and also the committee in New York State which prepared the administration unemployment insurance bill now before the State legislature. That committee consisted of Prof. John P. Chamberlain, of Columbia University; Prof. Herman Gray, of New York University; George Meany, President, New York State Federation of Labor; Justine Wise Tulin, Assistant Corporation Counsel of New York City; James A. Corooran, Assistant Secretary, New York State Department of Labor.

The views which I express for the Governor and this committee are related solely to those sections of the bill under discussion having to do with unemployment compensation.

May I say that we feel that the bill as a whole represents a tremendously important step forward in social legislation for the United States."

National Consumers' League, Senate Hearings, p. 445.
"The National Consumers' League, for 35 years the champion of security for workers, strongly endorses the proposals for unemployment insurance outlined by bill S. 1130.

Unemployment insurance, while not a panacea nor a solution of our social and industrial problems, will do much to relieve suffering for workers out of employment through no fault of their own. It will act as a shock absorber for some of the worst evils of a depression.

Although the catastrophe of the last years has convinced the majority of citizens of the necessity of substituting self-respecting insurance for the demoralizing dole system, the States are slow to take action. S.1130 will provide the encouragement needed to stimulate the passage of State unemployment insurance laws. While leaving to the individual State the choice of its particular system, S. 1130 will set a standard for the States and will coordinate their separate efforts. The National Consumers' League urges its passage by the United States Congress without delay."

National League of Women Voters, in Senate Hearings, p. 443.
"The National League of Women Voters favors the passage of the unemployment compensation sections of the economic security bill. Since our reasons for
supporting the bill are much the same as the reasons already given by other advocates of the bill, we will not take the time of the committee to go into them."

Ogden L. Mills, former Secretary of the Treasury, in a speech to the New York State Federation of Women's Clubs, at Buffalo, November 15, 1934. (Reported in New York Times 11/16/34).
"I believe that unemployment reserves will furnish a first line of defense to the unemployed worker; will make provision for casual and intermittent unemployment; will stimulate constructive efforts to stabilize unemployment; and, while not supplying absolute security, will give the worker greater security than he enjoys today, and satisfy, in part at least, a legitimate aspiration."

The Charity Organization Society of New York City, newspaper release issued by the society, January 2, 1935.
"Half of the families under the care of the Charity Organization Society in April, 1933 would have been eligible to some unemployment benefits had a compulsory system of unemployment reserves been in operation at that time. This fact is revealed in a preliminary analysis issued today of a study made by the New York School of Social Work, sponsored by the Charity Organization Society. For the Purposes of the study, an unemployment reserves measure providing a maximum of 16 weeks of benefit after a waiting period of three weeks and including the usual categories of employees was assumed."

Commenting on these findings, Stanley P. Davies, General Director of the Charity Organization Society said:

"It seems clear that for large numbers of the unemployed a system of unemployment benefits would at least absorb the first shock of unemployment, would delay the necessity of applying for relief, and in some cases, perhaps, would obviate that necessity altogether, depending upon the length of the unemployment period and the individual resources available in each case. With respect to personal and family problems of a nonmaterial nature, the services of family welfare agencies would continue to be available both to those eligible and those ineligible for unemployment benefits.

By providing an unemployment income for a stated period to the worker as something he has earned by reason of his previous employment, unemployment benefits would do much to give the worker a sense of security and to preserve his morale and self-respect. Instead of being compelled to apply for public relief as a destitute person, the worker would receive the unemployment benefits due him as something to which he is entitled."


Mrs. Harris T. Baldwin, Vice President, National League of Women Voters, in Senate Hearings, p. 699.
"The National League of Women Voters welcomes the proposal of Federal aid for maternal and child health, combined with participation by the States. We feel that such an educational program will go far toward saving lives of mothers and babies and toward removing some of the hazards of childbirth and infancy. We know that the Children's Bureau is equipped to give thoroughly competent direction to the program, because of its 22 years of research and leadership on maternal and child health and on their relation to the social and economic welfare of the child.

We are glad to see that the bill calls for the active participation by the States through the requirements of matching State appropriations, because the States must increasingly carry the responsibility of giving actual service to the women and children within their borders.

Since there are more than 2,000,000 babies born each year in the United States, perhaps no other preventive efforts in the economic security program will mean more to so great a number of families. We shall perhaps reap the benefit of such service not only in dollars and cents, but in human values. We hope you will agree with us and act favorably on these sections of the bill."

American Association of University Women, in Senate Hearings, p. 700.
"The American Association of University Women, which has a membership of approximately 40,000 extending over the 48 States, wishes to go on record in support of title VII, section 701, of the economic security bill, S.1130.

Our association endorsed the principle of Federal aid for maternal and child health work at the time the original Sheppard-Towner bill was introduced into Congress and has supported this principle consistently ever since."

Young Women's Christian Association, in Senate Hearings, p.700.
"The National board of the Young Women's Christian Association began to study this subject in 1920, supported the Sheppard-Towner bill in 1921, and since that time support of work in maternal and child health has been included in the program adopted by the biennial national conventions of the association. Reports of the work carried on under the maternity and infancy law up to 1939 show, we believe, the possibilities for lessening the death rate and for improving the health of mothers and babies.

As a woman's organization, we are interested in measures for the conservation of human life. Our experience, particularly through the work of our health education department and through our contact with women in rural communities, with industrial women, and with foreign-born women, reinforces our belief that this work should again have the aid of the Federal Government.

We are very eager that the work should be made possible through favorable action of your committee on the provisions of S.1130 on maternal and child health."

National Council of Jewish Women, in Senate Hearings, p. 700.
"The National Council of Jewish Women, an organization composed of 40,000 members in 45 States and over 200 cities in the United States, respectfully asks Congress to retain provision for maternal and child care in the economic security measure now under consideration."

American Nurses Association, in Senate Hearings, p. 701.
"The American Nurses Association wishes to reaffirm its position in support of Federal assistance to mothers and infants as presented in section VII of S. 1130, introduced by Senator Wagner. This association is composed of 110,000 graduate nurses, many of whom are now engaged in public-health nursing in rural communities."

Women's Homeopathic Medical Fraternity, in Senate Hearings, p. 701.
"This is to certify that the Women's Homeopathic Medical Fraternity, which is one of the member organizations of the Women's Joint Congressional Committee, urges the passage of Senate bill 1130, the part of it which refers to maternal and child health. This organization is anxious to preserve freedom of pregnant women and mothers to choose the medical treatment they prefer, but is in accord with the bill in respect to financial and sanitary aid."

American Home Economics Association, in Senate Hearings, pp.1248-1249.
"The association heartily endorses the provisions for maternal and infant health included in the economic security bill. It considers that this type of service devoted primarily to reducing the family catastrophe of maternal and infant mortality and to building positive health is invaluable in promoting the economic security of the family and in reducing the burden of needlessly broken homes and motherless children.

These provisions for maternal and infant health are positive and constructive, designed especially through their conservation of maternal life and health to make possible the care and security of numberless young children under normal home conditions. Without such safeguards, many children would be robbed of what we hold to be the birthright of every child, rich or poor."

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