What's this Blog About?

Politics in Wisconsin as they roll up to every level... and some other thoughts that may cross my mind are explored here from my lefty point of view. My values shape my opinions. You'll always find them in here. Let's have some fun exploring why Liberal values are American values!

Your comments are both welcome and encouraged!
(The watercolor is called Magnolia Tree for Momma, by Audrey Crawford)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Out of the Tragedy...

As I watched the horrific coverage of the 35W crash over the weekend, something began to hit me and I thought to myself, if only FDR were alive today...


I implore you to read this entire speech!

It could with very few date/reference changes be given today and thought of as a true reflection of our society today... We need more history teachers in this country... Here are some of my favorite excerpts:


No, our basic trouble was not an insufficiency of capital. It was an insufficient distribution of buying power coupled with an over-sufficient speculation in production. While wages rose in many of our industries, they did not as a whole rise proportionately to the reward to capital, and at the same time the purchasing power of other great groups of our population was permitted to shrink. We accumulated such a superabundance of capital that our great bankers were vying with each other, some of them employing questionable methods, in their efforts to lend this capital at home and abroad.

I believe that we are at the threshold of a fundamental change in our popular economic thought, that in the future we are going to think less about the producer and more about the consumer. Do what we may have to do to inject life into our ailing economic order, we cannot make it endure for long unless we can bring about a wiser, more equitable distribution of the national income.

Let us not confuse objectives with methods. Too many so-called leaders of the Nation fail to see the forest because of the trees. Too many of them fail to recognize the vital necessity of planning for definite objectives. True leadership calls for the setting forth of the objectives and the rallying of public opinion in support of these objectives. ...

...Do not confuse objectives with methods. When the Nation becomes substantially united in favor of planning the broad objectives of civilization, then true leadership must unite thought behind definite methods.

The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something. The millions who are in want will not stand by silently forever while the things to satisfy their needs are within easy reach.

America's current infrastructure was built and well maintained from about 75 years ago until right around the Nixon Administration. The people who built and maintained it were, for the most part, Americans (including immigrant populations such as the Irish, Germans, Polish and Chinese). It was FDR who put them to work on taxpayer dollars. Americans who were poorly educated and suffered the most from the Great Depression, but also Americans who were middle class and jobless from as FDR put it "No, our basic trouble was not an insufficiency of capital. It was an insufficient distribution of buying power coupled with an over-sufficient speculation in production."

Sound familiar???

This was FDR's solution.

The correlations between post-1928 America and today are actually quite frightening... In fact the unemployment rate (not the rigged official 4.*% b.s. numbers of ppl fired in the last 6 months, but the total number of ppl completely unemployed in this country a much more frightening number...) is actually higher than the Great Depression (8.9% in 1930 and as high as 25% nationwide by the mid 1930's!). Looking at the "Real" unemployment rate it is estimated by several online sources as between 10 and 23.3% in 2006. The rates for racial minorities are double and triple that... over 60% of African American men in Milwaukee alone...

With that many people unemployed in our country, and the infrastructure in literal collaspe, it seems that the solution is quite within our grasp and one we've turned to with great success in the past...

The New Deal was intimated to in the speech above, but as the government puts it:

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, when as many as one out of four Americans could not find jobs, the federal government stepped in to become the employer of last resort. The Works Progress Administration (WPA), an ambitious New Deal program, put 8,500,000 jobless to work, mostly on projects that required manual labor. With Uncle Sam meeting the payroll, countless bridges, highways and parks were constructed or repaired.
The estimate is that it would take approximately $20 billion to rebuild just the bridges.

So let's say we spent $100 billion to begin rebuild our entire infrastructure in this country. The dams, the highways, the freeways, installation of light rail systems, the parks, the schools, subways, housing, rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, rebuild 35W, rebuild Ground Zero in Manhattan, etc... We hire all the people on public assistance as apprentices in all the various jobs it would take to do the work and the people currently doing those jobs would become the teachers and coordinators of the various projects. Have the jobs pay a fair living wage and expand the VA to cover their healthcare needs. Use the saved public assistance dollars to provide AODA counseling and childcare services in the summers.

This would solve several major problems in this country... One is the crash of the manufacturing sector. These jobs cannot be outsourced to other countries. They must be done by Americans in America. Next is the problem of the un- and underemployed. People WANT to work in this country. Give them a job and they will work. Next is healthcare for the poor. Another problem diminished would be drug abuse. Desolate people use drugs. People who don't have self worth. People who are bored. Having a job, bringing home a paycheck helps create self worth. Another huge problem solved would be education. More and more people working means more money in their hands and more taxes collected by the states when they spend it which means more money in the state's hands to improved the education of their children and the quality of life of it's residents. Crime would diminish as less people feel the need to commit crimes to survive and young people are kept busy working instead of running the streets with nothing to do. This would diminish the need for the massive prison industrial complex and pour even more money into the states' pockets to spend on the universities and the environment, etc... and the snowball effects of restarting a robust economy like this would be truly phenomenal as it was in the late 40's through the 60's. Surpluses could be used to help other countries around the world so they aren't so desolate they look at us and want to kill us... Our security increases at home...

The final upside to this is that bridges would stop collapsing. People could move around the country in safety. Tourism would flourish and new industries would spring up all over the country with the highly educated population we would be creating.... it just goes on and on...

Think this is a dream scenario? Completely unrealistic and unaffordable? You may even think I'm totally nuts for suggesting it could be done with a mere $100 billion. Maybe you're right...but it's a good start...

We have spent over $450 billion in Iraq in 4 years, my plan to fix America is less than 1/4 of that amount...

and what do we have to show for $450 billion in Iraq? An out of control civil war in the middle east of all places, bridges we spent building in Iraq being blown up again with our lost bombs..., more terrorism around the world, a crumbling infrastructure, a broken education and healthcare system, a massive prison industrial complex, drug addiction and desolation in our streets, massive unemployment, the states are broke, Ground Zero and New Orleans are not rebuilt years after the disasters with no plans to anytime soon, our good will around the world is cashed out, our ports are unsafe, we are building a wall like the Great Wall of China in some sort of Dr. Seussian p*ssin' match over the Mexican border, and large corporate CEO's are laughing at us all on their way to their 5th palacial mansion in Tahiti as they tell us that more privatization of critical human services is "good for us" and they pay our politicians to shut up and tell us help is on the way...

So let's just spend what we spent in Iraq and call it even dollar for dollar. I'm calling for a New New Deal, but need to call it something else...

How about the

$500 Billion Dollar Deal to Save America.
Put the cost right in the title, so everyone knows what they're signing up for for a change ;)

It's gonna cost $500 billion in tax dollars and it may stop us from the last days of the Roman Empire... Anyone out here game to come out of this tragedy better than we went into it?

Let's go!

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