Although I agree that the movement in to Social Security was a need in the country during the Great Depression to dignify the elderly and get them out of their job, out of the breadlines and into retirement, Dr Townsend was not responsible for the move by FDR into Social Security. Quoting Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. in The Politics of Upheaval, "The Townsend agitiation had nothing to do with the initiation of the New Deal social-security policy. Roosevelt established the Committee on Economic Security in June of 1934, when the Doctor was unknown outside Long Beach and before there was a Townsend club in existence. Though the treat of the Townsend Plan no doubt speeded the passage of the Social Security bill and assured the inclusion in it of old-age insurance, that bill passed two months before Townsend considered that his own movement 'had developed to a size sufficient to justify our calling a national convention'" (40-41).
Thank you Thom for opening my eyes to Dr. Townsend and his movement. The grassroots style of the movement, and the rejection of economists facts and figures is very similar to the tea party movement today.