Déjà vu all Over Again
Eleanor’s husband Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President in 1932, succeeding 3 Presidents who could have been leaders of the present Tea Party. The country had been in a deep depression since 1929. The reasons, according to me are similar to those responsible for our present recession with a good chance it could become a depression.
16 million Americans were out in the cold with no safety net to catch them. Our former three Tea Party type administrations were disciples of the philosophy that the free market with less government and regulations because the free market would regulate itself.
In Roosevelt’s first 100 days he proposed and Congress enacted a sweeping program to bring recovery to business and agriculture. Relief to the unemployed and those in danger of losing farms. He accomplished this by raising the debt ceiling.
The economy improved rapidly from 1933 to 1937, but then relapsed into a deep recession. The bipartisan Conservative Coalition that formed in 1937 blocked him from passing any considerable legislation abolishing many of the relief programs. Roosevelt was called a Socialist and Communist by big business.
The New Deal in its early days gave the state the responsibility for the welfare of its citizens until a coalition of Conservative Southern Republicans crushed the president’s programs, initiating the worst days for the people. Bread lines and soup kitchens were forming in every city. Evicted families were shivering in makeshift tents in the dead of winter. Almost ten million Americans, 17% of the work force, were without jobs and found their only source of income in government programs.
Most of the regulations on business were ended beginning around 1975 mostly during the Reagan and Bush administrations. Along with several smaller programs major surviving programs including The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation which was created in 1933 and Social Security which Congress passed in 1935.
Hard times changed when Germany invaded Poland in 1939. The New Deal was replaced by a war time economy. Industry was transformed into manufacturing tanks, mortar, planes and bombs. Industry prospered and the labor movement became powerful as the manufacturers couldn’t survive without them. These were the benefits the working class has enjoyed through the 1970s and then dwindled until easy credit was created. This is my basis for giving Hitler credit for ending the depression.
This is history most people are familiar with but was written as a refresher to give some thought to any similarities between the obstructing of Roosevelt’s programs to end the depression without war and the obstruction of most of Obama’s attempts to end the coming depression by a similar Republican coalition. He also was overruled by the senate due to the filibuster rule requiring 60 votes rather than the majority used in a real democracy.
Having lived through this period I can testify that the depression lasted for at least ten years and our present economic crisis may also last that long or longer. Before you give up on Obama give him a coalition that at least supports most of his programs obstructed by the same type of groups slashing Roosevelt’s programs for the destitute. Then we can wave our flags for the America everyone is boasting about.
I had planned to discuss the less publicized aspects of the so called Good War, but will cover this history lesson in a future blog. These revelations will fly in the face of Eleanor’s humanitarian philosophy.