The People's Pension: The Struggle to Defend Social Security Since Reagan

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AK Press, 2012 - Political Science - 818 pages
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"Readers mystified by the yawning gulf between public opinion and current political discussion might benefit from the background provided in Eric Laursens magisterial history, The Peoples Pension: The Struggle to Defend Social Security Since Reagan The book offers more than 800 pages of fascinating if gory details about the lobbying efforts and misinformation campaigns aimed at bringing the program down."--Nancy Folbre, NYTimes Economix Blog"Laursen has given us a comprehensive account of the three decade long war against Social Security. . . . This is a fascinating history that progressives must learn, not only to protect Social Security but also to understand the dynamics behind an effective long-term strategy."--Dean Baker, author of "False Profits: Recovering From the Bubble Economy""This magnificent history documents the hydra-headed campaign to cut and kill Social Security, conducted over decades by rightwing bankers, foundations, economists, and politicians. "The Peoples Pension"] is utterly urgent."--James K. Galbraith, author of "The Predator State""The Peoples Pension" is both groundbreaking history and an indispensable guide for anyone concerned about one of the biggest issues in the upcoming election. With 95 percent of Americans participating in the program either as beneficiaries or through their payroll tax contributions, Social Security is quite literally the "glue" that binds Americans together as a community. Yet in the aftermath of the debt reduction deal between Barack Obama and congressional Republicans, the 2012 election promises to be a kind of referendum on the size and role of government--including economic support programs like Social Security. Arguing to democratize, not disable, the program, Eric Laursen suggests that the only solution for Social Security is taking it out of the governments hands altogether.Eric Laursen is an independent financial and political journalist, activist, and commentator. The co-founder and former managing editor of "Plan Sponso"r, a magazine for pension fund executives, Laursen is also the co-author of "Understanding the Crash" (2010). His work has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including The Huffington Post, "The Nation," "Institutional Investor," "The Village Voice," and "Investment Dealers Digest."
  

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Contents

Prologue
1
Social Security and the Reagan Revolution
31
Just About Unanimous
225
Privatization Repackaged
233
Wall Street Enlists
243
WhatsIn It for Me?
251
Scary Numbers
265
The Intergenerational Chain Letter
275
The Vanishing Surplus
453
AZerotoOneShot
459
The Bush Commission Punts
471
Guns and Butter
481
Reaching for aMandate
493
Karl Roves Dream
503
Bush Rollsthe Dice
517
We Need Public Pressure
529

Modest Proposals
293
Chiles Pension Revolution
307
The Pension Revolution Comes Home
321
Save Social Security First
341
The Debate Hitsthe Road
355
Democratic Backlash
369
So Surreal You Wouldnt Believe It
379
The Unbridgeable Gulf
387
Washington Politics and Public Opinion
405
The Politics of Prosperity
421
Bush vs Gore
427
TheRoadtoFlorida
439
Propagandaand Politicization
541
A Tipping Point
551
The Republican Debacle
561
No One Is Talking Anymore About aPermanent Republican
575
The Rebirth of the Pain Caucus
589
Obamavs McCain
609
ObamaStumbles
627
The Deficit Commission
649
The Return to Austerity
669
The Retirement Crisis
693
Epilogue
705
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Eric Laursen, born 1960, is an independent financial and political journalist, activist, and commentator. A native of San Francisco and graduate of Columbia University in New York (B.A. in History, Master's in International Affairs), he began his journalistic career as a reporter for Wall Street Letter, a weekly newsletter for the financial services industry. He later worked for a succession of publications: as a staff writer for Corporate Finance Magazine; editor of Asset International, a weekly newsletter for international investment firms; and as co-founder and managing editor of Plan Sponsor, the leading monthly magazine for North American pension executives. It was there he became interested in the debate over Social Security.

An independent journalist since 2000, Eric has written for publications ranging from Z Magazine and The Nation to Institutional Investor and CFO. His specializations are national politics, retirement and aging, global trade, U.S. fiscal policy, social services, business and financial services, civil liberties, and alternative economics. He has also written on anarchist theory, practice, and history for a variety of publications.

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