Meeting of the Air
ARE YOU PREPARING
TO GROW OLD SUCCESSFULLY?
Radio Broadcast: June 22, 1948
|The NBC Radio
Network program America's Town Meeting of the Air was an early form
of electronic "townhall" democracy--perhaps the very first
such electronic forum. In May of 1935 the program began what would
become a 21-year run. (In later years the program would be broadcast
on the ABC network.) The format of the broadcasts pitted two prominent
experts in a debate of some aspect of public policy. The program was
unique for its time in that it also featured questions from both the
live audience and from the listening audience around the country.
|In this broadcast from June
1948, Senator Claude Pepper (D-FL) is advocated expansion of Social
Security old-age pensions. During this period, Senator Pepper was
a supporter of the Townsend Plan and he wanted to modify Social Security
to provide a government contribution and to set a much higher benefit
level than would have been justified under existing Social Security
benefit formulas. Prior to the passage of the 1950 Social Security
Amendments--which dramatically increased benefit levels--the inadequacy
of existing Social Security pensions led many supporters of Social
Security, such as Senator Pepper, to be favorably disposed to Townsend-like
plans. Following the 1950 Amendments, the steam went out of the Townsend
movement and it was never again as influential as it had been.
Also speaking in support of expanded old-age pensions, especially
private-sector pensions, is Eastman-Kodak Treasurer, Marion Folsom.
Folsom was a leading advocate of Social Security among the business
community and was a member of several important Social Security Advisory
Councils, including the 1948-49 Council that would produce the recommendations
leading to the 1950 Amendments.
Speaking in support of "rugged individualism" as an alternative
to reliance on pensions of any kind, is Mr. Eugene J. Kenny. Mr. Kenny
is followed by Dr. Daniel A. Poling who provides what sounds very
much like a sermon on the general topic of finding fulfillment in
Finally, the program closes with an abbreviated question and answer
session moderated by Dr. George Lawton.
Recordings from the National Archives. Control