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The People's Pension: The Struggle to Defend Social Security Since Reagan Paperback – May 29, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 750 pages
  • Publisher: AK Press (May 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849351015
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849351010
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 2.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,014,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"If you want to put the current struggle over Social Security’s future in context, read this book."—Mark Miller, RetirementRevised.com

"Independent financial reporter Laursen offers a breathtakingly comprehensive look at the history and politics behind ‘the largest income support program in the U.S.,’ ... Comprehensive and compelling reading on an important topic."—Booklist, starred review

"Eric Laursen has written a comprehensive and exhaustive history of the Social Security program in the United States. The People’s Pension is an honest, detailed and even eye-opening discussion of the program’s origins and continuing efforts to provide elderly and disabled Americans with a livable income. Equally important, it is a discussion of the attempts to alter and ultimately destroy the program by forces whose only interest seems to be profit and the elimination of any government institution that guarantees every citizen worker an income in their old age." — Ron Jacobs, CounterPunch

About the Author

Eric Laursen, born 1960, is an independent financial and political journalist, activist, and commentator. A native of San Francisco and graduate of Columbia University in New York (B.A. in History, Master's in International Affairs), he began his journalistic career as a reporter for Wall Street Letter, a weekly newsletter for the financial services industry. He later worked for a succession of publications: as a staff writer for Corporate Finance Magazine; editor of Asset International, a weekly newsletter for international investment firms; and as co-founder and managing editor of Plan Sponsor, the leading monthly magazine for North American pension executives. It was there he became interested in the debate over Social Security.

An independent journalist since 2000, Eric has written for publications ranging from Z Magazine and The Nation to Institutional Investor and CFO. His specializations are national politics, retirement and aging, global trade, U.S. fiscal policy, social services, business and financial services, civil liberties, and alternative economics. He has also written on anarchist theory, practice, and history for a variety of publications.

More About the Author

Eric Laursen is an independent journalist and activist who writes about politics, economics, culture, and the many and devilish ways that all three intersect. He has contributed to a wide range of publications including The Village Voice, Institutional Investor, YES!, In These Times, CFO, Z Magazine, The AICPA Journal of Accounting, and Huffingtonpost.com. He has even reviewed books on Amazon.com. He is the author, most recently, of The People's Pension: The Struggle to Defend Social Security Since Reagan (AK Press), which was named an Editor's Choice nonfiction book of the year by BookList for 2012. He also co-authored Understanding the Crash (Soft Skull, 2010). Long engaged in the movements against war, corporate globalization, and neoliberal economics, he lives in the United States.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 14 customer reviews
Like Altman, Laursen examines ways to keep Social Security solvent.
S. Freeman
If you've ever wondered about the origins of SSN and how it came to be--this book is a really good read!!
David Johnson
He gave one of the most impressive talks i've ever seen by an author.
dana m

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Moshe Adler on May 10, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
There is a no more instructive telling of the endless struggle between the 99% and the 1% than Eric Laursen's wonderful book "The People's Pension." This page turner tells the story of the fight against social security -- and of the defense of it -- with incisive analyses of both the solvency of the system and of the numerous arguments that have been made over the years about why it "must" be changed to survive.

The program has survived, so far, but the fight to defend it is far from over. Why? This book will tell you who would benefit from the destruction of social security and how these individuals are trying to destroy it; it will also tell you who are the politicians and organizations that benefit from serving these socially destructive individuals. Brace yourself! Many that you assumed to be on your side are not. This book will also tell you about the heroic individuals and organizations who tirelessly defend social security on your behalf.

Senator Tom Harkin called the Obama 2% cut of social security taxes the unraveling of social security and there is no doubt that it has
been a major blow. Social Security is now in greater peril than it has ever been, but as this book shows the system has always been on the precipice, and the only reason it has survived is because of its defenders.

For all who believe in the system designed to put an end to "poverty-ridden old age," in Franklin Roosevelt's words -- and
for all those of who doubt the effectiveness of activism -- "The People's Pension", is a must read.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By wildflowerboy on May 31, 2012
Format: Paperback
In "The People's Pension", political journalist Eric Laursen chronicles the ongoing fight to defend Social Security from bipartisan attempts to privatize and destroy it. As Laursen shows in this important and informative book, Social Security is the product, not of benevolent politicians, but of grassroots activism organized from below. As such, it will take a mass movement to save it from a greedy ruling-class indifferent to the suffering of millions of poor, disabled, and elderly people. More than just a call to preserve Social Security, it is also a call to radically democratize it. With so many activists taking to the streets these days demanding economic equality and social justice, this is a timely book that should be read immediately by everyone working for revolutionary social change. If you're debating whether or not to read this book because of its size, I can assure you that this is a quick and enjoyable read, a real page-turner. Eric Laursen is a great writer and I commend him for writing this excellent book!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Reader & Writer on May 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
Having worked with Eric Laursen on numerous financial magazines, I'm very familiar with his profound, if not arcane, knowledge of such things as Social Security. This is a book that needed to be written for a long time, and it's good that a precise writer like Eric Laursen took it on. While it's a terrific historical read, The People's Pension: the Struggle to Defend Social Security Since Reagan, is also very topical in regard to today's political brinkmanship. This should be required reading in the halls of Congress.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By dana m on August 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
just saw mr lauerson on cspan book tv. He gave one of the most impressive talks i've ever seen by an author. I will get this book--his talk was easy to grasp and full of facts. that explained the unjustified attacks on ss from all angles,so one can grasp the horrible consequences of privatizing it.

Much motivation for this comes from an exaggerated anti tax, anti govt philosophy of right wing billionaires, that would end up putting millions in poverty. They don't even pay into ss over 106,000, which should be raised now. They spread the myth that ss is in trouble and that it's related to taxes which it isn't, being a contract between employer and employee, both paying in.

The center right democrats who need campaign funds from wealthy anti ss donors are also to blame for allowing the rw ideas to take hold.

Other pillars of retirement funding for individuals have been ruined--private pensions and home equity. SS is a crucial pillar of old age that for many will be all they will have. Younger people will have to support their parents if ss is destroyed or weakened.This will affecttheir being able to afford college, setting up a career, home buying, starting a family, saving for their own retirement. So it will affect people in their teens through the 50s also. Most of the population is actually in financial peril from any weakening ss. The benefits now are too low as it is, especially compared to European benefits, as the author mentions. So they should be increased,not undermined.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Isaac Rounseville on August 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
In this political season, with a 24-hour cable news cycle that's become infested with profit-seeking shenanigans to attract more viewers, it's become increasingly more difficult to spot intellectual honesty among political pundits, writers, and think tanks from both the left and the right. Consistency in defending ideals seems to have been replaced by consistency in defending short term political or commercial opportunities. Reporters on all sides of the political asile become silent when a president or politician sharing the same political stripes performs an act that goes completely against what she/he once stood for as a campaigner.

One classic example is the George W. Bush Presidency, led by a man who campaigned off of promises of limited government intervention in the lives of US citizens. Yet only months within his presidency began an unprecedented expansion of executive power, which soon led to the unchecked expansion of an unconstitutional surveillance state, an increasingly unsustainable foreign military presence that weighed upon the lives of millions of Americans, and further degradation of trust in the nation's leading governmental institutions. Yet nearly every one of these actions was defended by George W. Bush's Republican colleagues/party members, and had similarly been portrayed by Right-wing media institutions as "necessary actions" in response to "specific domestic threats," despite their clear contradictions against the individualism that had been trumpeted by the Bush/Cheney campaign stickers.

Several years later, Barack Obama, a Democratic President, appears to have fallen in that same conundrum of political opportunism.
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