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Governing AmericaThe Revival of Political History$
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Julian E. Zelizer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691150734

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691150734.001.0001

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“Where Is the Money Coming From?”1 the Reconstruction of Social Security Finance

“Where Is the Money Coming From?”1 the Reconstruction of Social Security Finance

(p.153) Eight “Where Is the Money Coming From?”1 the Reconstruction of Social Security Finance
Governing America

Julian E. Zelizer

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how Social Security finance was reconstructed in response to actions by Congress, which abolished the mandate for a large reserve and authorized the use of general revenue to pay for benefits when payroll taxes became insufficient. After describing the earmarked tax system created by Congress in 1935, the chapter considers the debate between 1939 and 1948 about the survival of the Social Security tax system and whether Social Security would be financed through the same monies as all other programs. It also looks at a cadre of policymakers, including Wilbur Mills and Robert Myers, who redesigned the earmarked tax system into the structure that defined the program until 1972. It shows that the earmarked tax system left the imprint of fiscal conservatism on Social Security by imposing certain long-term restrictions on the program.

Keywords:   taxes, Congress, Wilbur Mills, Robert Myers, fiscal conservatism, Social Security finance

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