Berkowitz considers Robert Ball's Social Security legacy in the face of the George W. Bush administration's goal of replacing it with private accounts In the second half of the twentieth century, no one exerted more influence over Social Security than Robert Ball, who in 1947 wrote the key statement defining why social insurance, not welfare, should be America's primary income maintenance program. This policy-oriented biography surveys the history of Social Security from 1950 to the present through the eyes of the public servant most crucial to its development. Drawing on exclusive access to Robert Ball's papers and Ball's own extensive oral memoir created for this project, Edward D. Berkowitz explains how Social Security came to be America's most important social welfare program. Ball's role in expanding coverage to more workers during the period between 1950 and 1972, as well as in supporting the indexing of benefits to the rate of inflation, directly affected the lives of senior citizens and the overall U. S. economy. Berkowitz demonstrates how Robert Ball used the conservative means of social insurance towards the liberal end of improving the social welfare of Americans.