Well ready or not a dkos Social Security blogathon is coming your way March 25-29 #HandsOffMySS. Spearheaded by Kossack Roger Fox you can expect some big names from the outside (including my pal/mentor Dean Baker) plus hot advocacy from mad as hell Kossacks. And some dryasdust numbers stuff from me.
But since there are always some folk who like to come to the first day of the Grad Seminar having already read the whole syllabus, I thought I would make some reading suggestions. In this case on the history of the War ON and the War FOR Social Security.
The first stop is the official online history of SSA from SSA.gov/history Historical Background And Development Of Social Security. The whole thing is interesting enough but those interested in the development of what we know as Social Security today could safely scroll down the the section titled Committee on Economic Security (CES), the actual 1934 designers of the programs first implemented by the Social Security Act of 1935.
For the second and third and other stops follow me below the Orangy thingamabob.
Building on SSAs history from the perspective of a top staffer to the Greenspan Commission (more precisely as Greenspan's Executive Assistant) we have from Nancy Altman The Battle for Social Security: From FDR’s Vision to Bush’s Gamble (2005). A couple of chapters are available at the link. And BTW expect to hear a lot more about Nancy Altman in the course of the blogathon, for one thing she is being promoted by progressives for the vacant Commissioner of Social Security slot just vacated by Astrue.
A more recent work (as in go to the bookstore and buy a copy) is Eric Laursen's (blog) The Peoples' Pension: The Struggle to Defend Social Security Since Reagan (book) (2012). This is a big book and among other things really spells out the players on both sides.
Going backwards a little bit but still indispensable is Dean Baker's and Mark Weisbrot's Social Security: the Phony Crisis (1999). The link goes to the introduction which is online and tells pretty much the full story even though the precise economic numbers are obviously different from then until now.
And then to get some insight into the warriors on the other side. In the wake of the compromise coming out of the Greenspan Commission the dead-enders at Cato convened a conference in NYC in June 1983 and published the papers in the Fall 1983 issue of the Cato Journal under the issue title Social Security: Continuing Crisis or Real Reform (PDF). Lots of good(?) stuff but nothing better(?) than the paper by Butler and Germanis called Achieving a 'Leninist' Strategy. If you want to know where every talking and action point of the warriors ON Social Security originated well this is your answer.
Enough for now. If this attracts enough interest I will toss up some more links in Comments. And of course invite all of you to add some suggestions of your own