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The Social Security Program During Reagan's Administration

Motivation for Congressional Oversight of the Social Security Program

Congressional oversight of the social security program during the Reagan Administration reflected a combination of formal and less formal approaches to the review, investigation, and evaluation of the administration of a program. Initially, the routine work of the Senate Finance Committee and the Subcommittee on Social Security of the House Ways and Means Committee identified a potential problem with the future solvency of the social security program trust funds (Aberbach, 1990, p. 107). This identification of a potential problem led to investigative work by the committees and by the Congressional Accounting Office.

While Congressional investigative and assessment work was in progress, the new Reagan Administration assumed executive responsibilities in Washington. The agenda of new administration, as a representative of the New Right in American politics, included the elimination of the social security program if possible or a drastic revision of the program to emasculate it if elimination was proved not to be politically feasible (Dobelstein and Johnson, 1985, pp. 135-137). As a consequence, the remedies proposed by the


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