THE "STEPFATHER" OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT OF 1935
A Generous Man with a Tender Heart.
According to the story promoted by his loyal followers, one morning Francis Everett Townsend, an elderly retired assistant medical officer in Long Beach, California, was startled to see three old women rummaging for food in some garbage cans outside his window. He let forth a shocked bellow that brought his wife, who cautioned him that he should not shout because the neighbors would hear. "I want all the neighbors to hear me!" he defiantly shouted. "I want God Almighty to hear me! I'm going to shout till the whole country hears!" And thus Townsend became identified as the champion of old people, credited by many with the creation of state-supported pensions—social security.
Although a form of national health insurance had been one of the top concerns during the Progressive Era, the Depression sidetracked...
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