Christian Eckert

No Strong Conservative Mandate? The Failed Social Security Reform of 2005 and the Prospect of Future Reform


Following his reelection in 2004, President George W. Bush interpreted the election outcome as a strong mandate for his policies. For his second term, he promoted Social Security reforms as the cornerstone of his domestic agenda, which was a surprise to many people. Social Security, officially called Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI), was introduced in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of the New Deal programs and has undergone reforms since then. Over the years Social Security has grown in size and continues to be very popular, especially among people in the middle and lower income classes, as Social Security benefits are often the main part of their retirement income. While Bush had occasionally talked about Social Security reform and even established a commission to develop reform proposals during his first term, he was not expected to focus on this issue during his second term…