Johnson will speak from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Hayes Auditorium at the main library on Capitol Boulevard.
A former Idaho Public TV host, Johnson was spokesman and then chief of staff to former Democratic Gov. Cecil Andrus. Johnson and Andrus are colleagues at Gallatin Public Affairs, a regional PR, lobbying and consulting firm.
Johnson is writing a biography of Montana progressive Sen. Burton K. Wheeler, a contemporary of Idaho Sen. William Borah. In the course of that work, Johnson has studied the New Deal era extensively.
Johnson's talk is titled, "The Origins of Social Security." In an email, Johnson elaborates: "The program – the lasting legacy of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal – was controversial in the 1930’s and remains so today. I’ll offer a take on the Depression Era politics that drove FDR and the Congress to act in 1935 and bring the 'debate' about Social Security up to the current campaign."
The library schedule has this to say about the Johnson talk:
Social Security has been a controversial and politically charged fixture of American life since the program was created in 1935 during the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt. While millions of Americans have come to depend upon the monthly checks and other benefits, political candidates wrangle over whether the system is going broke and many younger Americans believe they’ll never see benefits from Social Security. However you feel about Social Security, it’s bound to be an issue in this year’s presidential election.
What forces drove the American political system to create Social Security in the first place? What finally motivated FDR and Congress to act? Why has the idea been so contentious for so long?
Marc Johnson has lectured and taught university classes on New Deal-era politics. This talk – The Origins of Social Security – will explore the conditions and personalities that drove the creation of Social Security during the Great Depression and discuss why the now nearly 80-year-old program remains controversial.
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