Essays in Political Economy

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Roots of the Social Security Myth

Essays in Political Economy

Tags Big GovernmentTaxes and Spending

05/28/2009John Attarian

This is a concise critical history of the federal program of Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI), popularly known as Social Security. It focuses on a crucial but under-examined aspect of the program: how Social Security was marketed to the American public, the false consciousness which that marketing created, and how that false consciousness is a cause of the current political quagmire — and the likely meltdown of the program sometime in this century and its subsequent inability to pay full benefits on time to the retiring baby boomers.


John Attarian

John Attarian, economist and journalist, and one of the leading experts on the history and economics of Social Security, died suddenly, December 31, 2004, at the age of 48. He was born November 25, 1956, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in Economics in 1985. He worked as an independent writer, author, and novelist. His book Social Security: False Consciousness and Crisis (Transaction, 2003) is the most comprehensive treatment on the subject to appear yet, and makes a strong case against the program and against attempts to employ the language of privatization in an attempt to shore up it up.


Mises Institute, 2001

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