Ending the New Deal
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In the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century, much of the world was run by corrupt monarchies and crony capitalists, who manipulated market forces and governments worldwide to enrich themselves. As the wealthy consolidated power, the poor were left to labor away with no hope of ever achieving financial security. (There was not much of a middle class.) Read Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle for a good description of America at the turn of the 20th Century.
Then the system collapsed in the early 1930’s into a World-Wide Great Depression and the misery hit a boiling point. In Europe, a desperate people turned to Fascism. In the Soviet Union, they turned to Communism. And in the United States, they turned to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal.
The New Deal and other progressive reforms promised all Americans a minimum security net, so they would have food and shelter, education, and a chance to pursue the American Dream. If they became sick or an accident disabled them, they would be provided for. They needed no longer to fear economic insecurity in old age. Their financial markets would be regulated to prevent greedy corporate robber-barons from stealing their hard-earned wealth. And their food and water and drugs would be regulated by the Government to ensure their safety.
Labor was rewarded. Lazy unearned wealth was taxed. Happy Days Were Ours Again.
Now the Bush Administration is doing its best — in some ways secretly and in some ways quite brazenly — to reverse the gains of the New Deal: to heavily tax hard work while “reducing burdens” on unearned lazy wealth; to return economic insecurity to those facing sickness and old age, to again reward greedy corporate robber barons with unregulated markets so that they can easily slurp up American’s hard-earned income, to again allow pollution of our air and water, and to allow drug companies to put their profits ahead of our safety.
The question is not whether the Republican One-Party Government is working hard to reverse the New Deal. The question is whether Americans realize it. Has the cruelty of 9/11 blinded Americans to the greater danger around them?