Last night on The Last Word, Lawrence O’Donnell reminded us about the history of Social Security. And yes, Bill Clinton’s hand in the history is included. President Obama took notes from Ms. Perkins and included her ideas in his budget proposal, the Affordable Care Act, and any program that will help secure the benefits of WORKING CLASS AMERICANS.
Wiki: Frances Perkins (born Fannie Coralie Perkins; April 10, 1880 – May 14, 1965) was the U.S. Secretary of Labor from 1933 to 1945, and the first woman appointed to the U.S. Cabinet. As a loyal supporter of her friend, Franklin D. Roosevelt, she helped pull the labor movement into the New Deal coalition. She and Interior Secretary Harold L. Ickes were the only original members of the Roosevelt cabinet to remain in office for his entire presidency.
During her term as Secretary of Labor, Perkins championed many aspects of the New Deal, including the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Public Works Administration and its successor the Federal Works Agency, and the labor portion of the National Industrial Recovery Act. With the Social Security Act she established unemployment benefits, pensions for the many uncovered elderly Americans, and welfare for the poorest Americans. She pushed to reduce workplace accidents and helped craft laws against child labor. Through the Fair Labor Standards Act, she established the first minimum wage and overtime laws for American workers, and defined the standard forty-hour work week. She formed governmental policy for working with labor unions and helped to alleviate strikes by way of the United States Conciliation Service, Perkins resisted having American women be drafted to serve the military in World War II so that they could enter the civilian workforce in greatly expanded numbers.
“I came to Washington to work for God, FDR, and the millions of forgotten, plain common workingmen.”
Thank you, Lawrence! We’ll post tonight’s Last Word segment on Francis Perkins, when available.