He joined Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Washington, who was beginning his four-term tenure as 32nd President of the United States. FDR came into power with a country literally paralyzed by economic and social panic. On Roosevelt's Inaugural Day: in Michigan every single bank had been forced to close its doors weeks earlier; Chicago policeman had been working without pay for thirty days - the city government was bankrupt. Stepping into this quagmire of catastrophe, Roosevelt gave his inspirational "The only thing to fear is fear itself" speech and initiated the famous "100 Days": a leviathan push of presidential persuasion, federal muscle and Executive branch-written legislation designed to inspire confidence in the United States government and put the nation back on its feet. The Social Security Act, designed as a "safety net" for the elderly deprived of pension savings by the failure of the banking system, was born during this "New Deal." It was a period of unprecedented federal incursion into every aspect of states' rights control over their own destinies.
Meanwhile, the public's mood for tax-cutting government was not only a national-level phenomenon. State legislators and governors who wanted to be elected understood that raising taxes to meet their states' increased responsibilities was political suicide. Conversely for state politicians, as economist Steven Gold at the Center for the Study of the States in Albany, N.Y., notes: "tax cuts are a proven vote-getter." During the 1980s, although the national economy went into an upswing, social welfare policy reflected the curiously "orphan" status it had acquired, sinking deeper into a bog of federal v. states' rights inertia.
There is no doubt that a reciprocal relationship exists between social welfare policy and the political economy of states. There is no doubt that, on the micro-management level, states are probably in a better position to streamline and effectively administer government to their