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SOCIAL SECURITY WAS a social insurance program created in 1935 as part of the second stage of the New Deal during the Franklin Roosevelt administration. Social Security was created in response to the more radical proposals by Senator Huey Long and Francis Townsend. Social Security has three main provisions: It provides aid to those with disabilities, survivor insurance, and a pension for the elderly and retired. Social Security is one of the most popular federal government programs and is considered so sacrosanct that has been dubbed the “third rail” (untouchable; derived from the electrified third rail of a railway) in American politics.

For decades, public officials advocated the creation of a social insurance program. As president, Theodore Roosevelt advocated the adoption of a social security program. ...

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