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October 31: Calculating Social Security

Robert Julius Myers, who calculated the actuarial realities of Social Security for the Roosevelt Administration before the program was inaugurated in 1935, was born on this date in 1912. Myers calculated age 67 to be the right retirement age for a self-sustaining program, but the legislation established the age at 65— “picked because 60 was […]

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May 19: The End of Immigration

The Emergency Quota Act was passed by Congress on this date in 1921. It limited the number of immigrants entering the United States  to 3 percent of the size of each nationality group that had been living in the country in 1910 — a formula that favored northern Europeans and Anglo-Saxons and greatly limited the […]

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March 14: Albert Einstein

The quintessential scientific genius of the 20th century, Albert Einstein, was born on this date in 1879 in Germany. In 1905, while working in the Swiss Patent Office, he published four scientific papers — explaining the photoelectric effect (the emittance of “particles” of light, or photons, by energy-absorbing matter), proving that molecules exist through measurement […]

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O My America — Killing the Government

by Lawrence Bush They’re going to shrink government until it’s small enough to drown in the bathtub. That’s what Grover Norquist, America’s most avant-garde rightwinger, proposed during the early George W. Bush years. A decade later, they’re doing it: Riding the deficit hysteria to the finish line, where Social Security, Medicare, the Environmental Protection Administration, […]

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June 22: The G.I. Bill

The G.I. Bill (“Serviceman’s Readjustment Act”) was signed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on this date in 1944. Designed to avoid the domestic unrest that accompanied returning veterans in World War I — including the Bonus March of 1932, when mostly unemployed veterans were fired upon by troops in Washington, DC — the G.I. Bill […]

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May 28: Joseph Strauss' Golden Gate

On this date in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge, engineered by Joseph Strauss to span the San Francisco Bay, was officially opened to traffic by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It was the longest suspension bridge at the time and one of America’s finest architectural works. Strauss, who died at age 68 just one year after […]

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April 30: The World's Fair

A Jewish Palestine Pavilion was part of the New York World’s Fair, an extravaganza that opened in Flushing Meadow on this date in 1939, at the very edge of World War II. The Fair was the brainchild of a group of retired New York policemen. Edward Bernays, the public relations pioneer (a nephew of Sigmund […]

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