Mr. Social Security

Edward D. Berkowitz, Author University Press of Kansas $34.95 (396p) ISBN 978-0-7006-0707-5
Bureaucrat and technocrat par excellence, Cohen (1913-1987), the son of Eastern European Jewish immigrants in Milwaukee, became one of the chief architects of America's welfare state. He served for a few months in 1968 as secretary of health, education and welfare in Lyndon Johnson's cabinet, having been an assistant secretary from 1960 to 1965 and undersecretary until his elevation, but he was far more influential than those posts would suggest. Arriving in Washington in 1934, he was employed by the fledgling Social Security Administration and played an important role as Social Security was broadened and expanded. He also was instrumental in maneuvering the Eisenhower administration to accept the concept of social insurance, thus assuring bipartisan support for the entire program. Berkowitz (America's Welfare State) stresses that Cohen was not a theoretician but a pragmatist. This little-known public servant is fittingly restored to prominence in these pages. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
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