...The Social Security Act has been periodically amended, expanding the types of coverage, bringing progressively more workers into the system, and adjusting both taxes and benefits in an attempt to keep pace with
In 1935, Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins was fretting about finding a constitutional basis for the Social Security Act. Supreme Court Justice Harlan Fiske Stone advised her, "The taxing power, my dear, the taxing power. You can do anything under the taxing power." 
Frances Perkins, original name Fannie Coralie Perkins (born April 10, 1882, Boston, Mass., U.S.—died May 14, 1965, New York, N.Y.), U.S. secretary of labor during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Besides being the first woman to be appointed to a cabinet post, she also served one of the longest terms of any Roosevelt appointee (1933–45).
Perkins graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1902 and for some years taught school and served as a social worker. 
Perkins has been called the "woman behind the New Deal." Her achievements include the adoption of the minimum wage, the 40-hour work week, worker's compensation, unemployment insurance, employer-provided
Despite continuing impediments, Perkins, a social worker, successfully broke into a man’s world and was a major player for all 12 years of FDR’s administration. [Downey][A] deftly links the Progressive movement of the early 1900’s with the reforms Perkins helped FDR achieve, particularly in his first two terms.
Perkins made adjustments to fit into the male-dominated arena of politics. She changed her name from "Fannie" to Frances and dressed to remind men of their mothers. But after her cabinet appointment, she found herself in an awkward position. The wives of male cabinet members were expected to host social gatherings where the real business of government frequently was conducted. Perkins didn't fit the protocol.
Mary Harriman Rumsey came to the rescue. She rented a house in Georgetown and invited Frances to become her "roommate." History notes that the two were far more than roommates, and that Mary was far more than a typical cabinet wife.
Mary died unexpectedly on December 19, 1934, from complications resulting from a fall from a horse. At the time of her death, Frances was in middle of the fight for Social Security and Roosevelt had given her a tight deadline. Because of the closeted nature of her relationship with Rumsey, only a few very close (and lesbian) friends could acknowledge the degree of her loss. 
In 1933, Thomas H. Eliot, together with many of his youthful fellow graduates from Harvard Law School, went to Washington, becoming Assistant Solicitor of the Department of Labor under Frances Perkins. Later, she appointed him Counsel for the Committee on Economic Security which drafted the social security bill. 
[A] The Best Possible Life
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