From our archives, 75 years ago
As the Great Depression dragged on in 1936, the issue of social security – or insecurity – came to the fore.
The Spokesman-Review published the results of a Gallup Poll that showed a vast majority of Americans – more than 80 percent – favored the idea of a government-sponsored old-age pension. The average amount that people thought would be fair: $60 a month.
Support for such a pension was especially strong in Washington and the other Pacific states, at 92 percent. People overwhelmingly rejected a more expensive and radical idea, called the Townsend plan, which would have given everyone over age 60 a payment of $200 a month.
An old-age pension – or at least a variation on the idea – was already in the works as part of the Social Security Act, which had become law several months earlier. It was actually “social insurance,” in which the workers themselves contributed to a joint fund.
The first Social Security payments would be made in February 1936, in the form of lump sums. It wasn’t until 1940 that Social Security started paying monthly benefits, the first check being for $22.54, to a legal secretary.
Also on this date
(From the Associated Press)
1915: The U.S. House of Representatives rejected, 204-174, a constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote.