Friday, August 22, 2014

The success of the New Deal, the failure of trickle-down economics, and our refusal to heed the lessons of history

(President Franklin Roosevelt, photo courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.)
President Franklin Roosevelt, in his 1933 inaugural address, said "unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return...The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit."

Subsequent to Roosevelt's speech, he and his New Deal colleagues gave us policies & infrastructure that served as the backbone for our post-World War II economic expansion, causing the middle-class to grow like never before or since. 

In the past 30-40 years, however, we have turned away from New Deal policies & principles and have, instead, embraced trickle-down economics. 

The result?

Today, there are 23.5 million Americans who wish they had a full-time job but can't find one, wages are stagnant or declining, and the middle-class is shrinking. But amazingly, millions of Americans are clamoring for more trickle-down economics by, for example, standing ready to hand our entire Congress over to Republican and Tea Party politicians (see "Republican takeover of Senate appears more and more assured").

What a shame that, today, we have few policymakers cut from the same cloth as New Deal policymakers. And what a shame and that we are rejecting (or are oblivious to) historical lessons.

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