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A Citizen Opposes Social Security

In this letter to first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, an American protests the Social Security program, created two years earlier. For Social Security, the federal government took money out of working people’s paychecks in order to create a fund that gave payments to the elderly when they retired.

Jan 18., 1937

[Dear Mrs. Roosevelt]

I . . . was simply astounded to think that anyone could be [foolish] enough to wish to be included in the so called social security act if they could possibly avoid it. Call it by any name you wish it, in my opinion, (and that of many people I know) is nothing but downright stealing. . . .

Personally, I had my savings so invested that I would have had a satisfactory provision for old age. Now thanks to his [FDR’s] desire to "get" the utilities I cannot be sure of anything, being a stockholder, as after business has survived his merciless attacks (if it does) insurance will probably be no good either. . . .

Then the president tells [businesses] they should hire more men and work shorter hours so that the laborers, who are getting everything now raises etc. can have a "more abundant life." That simply means taking it from the rest of us in the form of taxes or otherwise. . . .

Believe me, the only thing we want from the president ... is for him to balance the budget and reduce taxes. That, by the way, is a "mandate from the people" that isn’t getting much attention.

I am not an "economic royalist," just an ordinary white collar worker at $1600 per [year]. Please show this to the president and ask him to remember the wishes of the forgotten man, that is, the one who dared to vote against him. We expect to be tramped on but we do wish the stepping would be a little less hard.

Security at the price of freedom is never desired by intelligent people.

M.A. [female]

Source | Excerpt from a letter sent to Eleanor Roosevelt by an anonymous woman, January 18, 1937, from Historical Thinking Matters
Creator | Unknown
Item Type | Diary/Letter
Cite This document | Unknown, “A Citizen Opposes Social Security,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed February 29, 2024,

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