How can we stop this disastrous plan to hand over seven hundred billion dollars of our taxes to a bunch of shady characters? What can we do to open the eyes of our elected representatives? Can’t they see they’re being scammed? I realize that there is a financial crisis, and I know something must be done to save the American economy. But that “something” is not the Paulson plan! There is a better plan and our leaders can look it up on the Internet. It’s called the New Deal.
It worked for Franklin Delano Roosevelt (photo at left) back in the 1930s. Believe me: It would work again! The first step is to stop panicking. As FDR said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Then we have to concentrate our rescue efforts on the poorest in the nation – not the richest.
The first problem FDR faced during the early months of 1933 was a rash of bank closures (sound familiar?). In response, he developed the Emergency Banking Relief Act. This act provided a framework under which banks could reopen with federal support. Other important reforms of the “first hundred days” include:
– The Unemployment Relief Act, which created the Civilian Conservation Corps, a program to employ the destitute in conservation and other productive work.
– The Agricultural Adjustment Act, creating the Agricultural Adjustment Administration to manage federal aid to farmers and control production. The AAA controlled the production of crops, and thus prices, by offering subsidies to farmers who produced under set quotas. The same day, the Federal Emergency Relief Act was passed, appropriating $500 million to support state and local treasuries that had run dry.
– The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a plan to develop energy production sites. (We could do that today with alternative sources of energy.)
– The Federal Securities Act to improve corporate honesty about stocks and other securities – prefacing the National Industrial Recovery Act creating the National Recovery Administration to manage the recovery of industry and finance. The NRA established regulations for fair competition that bound industry during the entire New Deal. The National Industrial Recovery Act also created the Public Works Administration to employ the jobless and infuse the economy with money.
– The Banking Act of 1933, creating the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to back individuals’ bank deposits with federal funds.
When the precursors of today’s dastardly neocons managed to get some of the reforms overturned by the Supreme Court, voters rallied behind FDR once again. Reassured by an overwhelming Democratic victory in the midterm elections in 1934, FDR laid out his plans for the Second New Deal. These plans included an enlarged unemployment relief program, assistance to the rural poor, support for organized labor, social welfare benefits for the elderly and disadvantaged, strict regulation of business and finance, and heavier taxes on the wealthy.
In April 1935, Congress passed the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act. Over eight years, the WPA pumped $11 billion into the economy and supported the unemployed of all backgrounds, from industrial engineers to authors and artists. The unemployment rate fell over 5 percent from 1935 to 1937.
To regulate the economy, FDR empowered the Federal Reserve Board to exert tighter control over the money supply, and called for strict enforcement of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which required that a detailed and truthful prospectus be publicized for each company issuing stock on the U.S. market.
And there was perhaps the greatest achievement of the Second New Deal – passage of the Social Security Act of 1935, which created the modern Social Security program.
Some of FDR’s reforms persist till today despite relentless political efforts to dismantle them over the years (by slick-talking con artists representing the robber barons). Over the decades a large segment of the American public has been brainwashed by scientifically devised propaganda techniques that would have made Goebels proud. But – please God! – enough sanity might yet remain to stem the wholesale plundering of the nation’s resources that is taking place under the Bush administration.
First, it was the Iraq War that provided a pretext for diversion of billions to the pockets of the looters. Now, it’s a financial crisis of historic proportions. Wake up America! Can’t you see what’s happening? Say no to Paulson and no to Bush. Tell them to take their hands out of your pockets!