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In American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA: When FDR Put the Nation to Work. author Nick Taylor describes how Harry Hopkins, director of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Civil Works Administration (CWA), put over four million American to work in the winter of 1933-34

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Hopkins was not a businessperson, but he became Roosevelt’s closest adviser. When Hopkins became sick, Roosevelt had him moved into and cared for in the White House. Hopkins was not an investment banker like Rahm Emanual, a financial technician like Timothy Geithner, or an economist like Larry Summers. He had spent his entire life doing social work.

Hopkins first came to the attention of Franklin Roosevelt in 1931. President Hoover had vetoed multi-billion appropriations for federal work relief programs, and called upon state and local governments, and charities, to supply the needs of the citizens, to relieve the national government of the great burden of having to run a deficit. "No one is actually starving," Hoover said. "The hoboes are better fed than they have ever been. One hobo in New York got ten meals in one day." (Yeah, the wrong-wingers’ rantings have not changed all that much – highlighting this is one of the many great attributes of Taylor’s book.) But in New York City, the Health Department recorded twenty deaths by starvation in 1931. The next year, there were 95 deaths by starvation.

Roosevelt was governor of New York, and he appointed the president of the R. H. Macy department store, Jesse Straus, as director of the state’s Temporary Emergency Relief Administration (TERA). (This was a time when the idea of the "the general welfare" had not yet been destroyed by conservative economic doctrines, and also when the idea of noblesse oblige still rattled about the brainpans of American elites.) Straus selected Hopkins as TERA's executive director, where Hopkins’ efficient management, combined with a near-manic pace -- by January 1932, 1.2 million New Yorkers, or one in ten, were receiving TERA aid  -- attracted Governor Roosevelt’s attention and admiration. In March 1932, FDR promoted Hopkins to the presidency of TERA when Straus resigned.  Hopkins remained a close adviser to FDR through the remainder of their lives, and became a close friend and confidant of Eleanor Roosevelt.

In March 1933, Roosevelt was able to bring Hopkins to Washington by promising his successor as New York governor, Herbert H. Lehman, that Hopkins’ absence from TERA would be "temporary."  Supposedly, all Hopkins had to do was help FDR get the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) going. The new Senate had quickly approved Roosevelt’s request to use $500 million in unspent Reconstruction Finance Corporation funds to set up FERA -- over the objections of Republicans, of course.

Hopkins blew into Washington like a hurricane. Finding that furniture had not yet been moved into his office in the building next to the Corcoran Art Gallery, Hopkins grabbed a chair and sat down at his desk at its temporary place in the hallway. Within the next two hours, Hopkins had approved and issued $5,336,317 in grants to Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, and Texas. Republicans were aghast at the speed that money poured out of Hopkins’ hands. Taylor names this chapter after the headline in the Washington Post the day after Hopkins arrived and "gave away" $5 million in two hours: "Money Flies." FERA would remain the largest of the New Deal agencies during FDR’s first two years.

Another New Deal agency that had been established was the Public Works Administration (PWA), but it had been placed under the management of Harold L. Ickes, Secretary of the Interior. Ickes was determined not only that there would be no fraud or graft, but that the $3.3 billion Congress had appropriated for PWA would be used only on "substantial" projects which would clearly benefit the nation. But as the autumn waned, Roosevelt and Hopkins began to fret at the slow pace of Ickes’ PWA, and feared what unemployed Americans and their hungry families would have to suffer during winter.

Taylor describes how Hopkins, on a trip to Chicago in late October, met with Frank Bane, head of the American Public Welfare Association, and Louis Brownlow, director of the Public Administration Clearing House, came away with the idea that became the CWA to help Americans get through the winter. Bane and Brownlow showed Hopkins some recently gathered statistics which amply confirmed Hopkins’ and Roosevelt’s fear of stubborn unemployment -- and a plan for a jobs program targeted directly at getting unemployed workers on relief back to work. As soon as Hopkins was back in Washington, he had lunch with FDR and explained the Bane / Brownlow plan for putting four million people to work over the winter. Roosevelt immediately saw that he could take $400 million or more from Icke’s $3.3 billion, which had hardly been touched, and implement Hopkins’ suggestion.

On November 6, Hopkins met with Ickes and informed him of the new program, and the diversion of $400 million from PWA. Three days later, FDR signed Title II of the National Industrial Recovery Act, formally creating the CWA, with Hopkins in charge. On November 15, Hopkins summoned mayors and governors to Washington and told them that the new CWA aimed to employ 4 million people within the next month, and asked for them to forward all their "shovel ready" projects. By November 20, CWA staff were approving over 100 projects a day, and by the end of the month, the CWA payroll numbered 1.9 million. By mid-December, the CWA had 2.6 million workers. The Bureau of Printing and Engraving had to go to three shifts in order to print the checks. You can imagine what Republicans had to say about the money gushing out of Hopkins’ agencies. But for people who had not seen a paycheck for months or even years, the "click of pick and the clink of shovel are Christmas bells to many at this time," as the Wisconsin State Journal put it.

Harry Hopkins
Harry Hopkins

A year ago, Charles Peters and Timothy Noah wrote in Slate.

The CWA laid 12 million feet of sewer pipe and built or made substantial improvements to 255,000 miles of roads, 40,000 schools, 3,700 playgrounds, and nearly 1,000 airports (not to mention 250,000 outhouses still badly needed in rural America). Most of the jobs involved manual labor, to which most of the population, having been raised on the farm, was far more accustomed than it would be today. But the CWA also provided considerable white-collar work, employing, among others, statisticians, bookbinders, architects, 50,000 teachers, and 3,000 writers and artists. ("Hell, they've got to eat like other people," Hopkins noted matter-of-factly.) This was achieved with a remarkable minimum of overhead. Of the nearly $1 billion—the equivalent today of nearly $16 billion—that Hopkins spent during the CWA's five-month existence, 80 percent went directly into workers' pockets and thence stimulated the economy by going into the cash registers of grocers and shop owners. Most of the rest went to equipment costs. Less than 2 percent paid for administration.

The CWA ended in March 1934. Later, Hopkins would be put in charge of the Works Progress Administration, which is what most of Taylor’s book is about.

Putting 4 million people to work in 1934 would be like putting 9.6 million to work today. And there’s plenty more work than just $16 billion that needs to be done: How about 19 million new jobs created with a $5.8 trillion infrastructure program?

Here's what's needed just to REPAIR existing infrastructure:



American Society of Civil Engineers 2009 Infrastructure Report Card (in billions)
5-Year NeedsSpendingShortfall
Aviation$87.0$46.3$40.7
Roads and Bridges$930.0$380.5$549.5
Dams$12.5$5.05$7.45
Drinking Water & Wastewater$255.0$146.4$108.6
Energy$75.0$45.5$29.5
Solid & Hazardous Waste$77.0$33.6$43.4
Inland Waterways$50.0$29.5$20.5
Levees$50.0$1.13 $48.87
Public Parks and Recreation $85.0$36.84$48.17
Rail$63.0$51.30$11.70
Schools$160.0$125.0$35.0
Transit$265.0$74.9$190.1
Total$2,109.5$976.0$1,133.5


Yeah, that's right: we need $1.134 trillion just to repair our nation's infrastructure. That could put a lot of unemployed construction workers back to work!

And here's what's needed to build a sustainable, livable future for America:



Infrastructure for America’s Future (in billions)
Drinking Water (EPA)$300.0
Freight Rail$200.0
Urban Rail Transit$3,195.0
Hi Speed Passenger Rail$450.0
Wind Energy$350.0
Electricity Transmission Grid$66.0
Energy Efficiency of Buildings $125.0
Ports unknown
Infrastructure Securityunknown
Communicationsunknown
Total$4,686.0


UPDATE - A tip o' the hat to h bridges, who notes in a comment:

Here's a bit of history for you: 1934 was the last midterm congressional election when the Democrats gained seats in Congress with a Democrat in the White House.

The numbers are simply incredible! According to the Wikipedia page on the party composition of Congress, the Democrats went from 217 seats in the 72nd Congress, to 313 seats in the 73rd Congress! The Republicans were decimated, losing nearly half their 217 seats in the 72nd Congress to only 117 seats in the 73rd Congress! And it got even better in the Presidential election cycle: 322 Democrats in the 74th Congress, versus the Republicans at 103 seats.

The same trend occurred in the Senate: the Democrats grew from 47 Senators, to 59 Senators, to 69 Senators, while the Republicans shrank from 48, to 36, to 25.

So, see, a crash jobs program even makes for great political strategy!

Originally posted to NBBooks on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 07:20 AM PST.

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  •  Tip Jar (324+ / 0-)
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    A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

    by NBBooks on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 07:20:15 AM PST

    •  You didn't tell me you were in the delivery room! (6+ / 0-)

      :-)

      adapting the world to himself...all progress depends on the unreasonable man
      -GB Shaw

      by luaptifer on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 07:35:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nice sig line... (13+ / 0-)

      tipped and rec'd.  I think the jury is still out regarding whether O is more Clinton than FDR.  

      In fairness to O, FDR had much more to work with in terms of resources.

      This machine kills fascists!

      by Zotz on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:00:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

        •  Clinton created 20 million jobs (18+ / 0-)

          Not sure that's an accurate comparison

          Senseless demonization of Clinton's tenure is counterproductive. He made a few mistakes, but there's a great deal that can be learned from his 8 yrs. of peace and prosperity.

          I'm from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party...

          by Betty Pinson on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:01:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  oh please (24+ / 0-)

          I am so sick of impatient unrealistic expectations.

          If after about a year you think he's a failure fine.

          But even FDR took years to fix things.

          •  Not saying Obama is a failure (6+ / 0-)

            He has a great deal of potential.  

            I'm saying some folks need to stop the endless, counterproductive Clinton bashing.  Clinton/Gore was a very successful presidency and there's a great deal to learn from the work they did.

            Stop rejecting Clinton's work just because his wife was Obama's opponent in the primary.  It's silly.

            I'm from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party...

            by Betty Pinson on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:24:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  oh I do not (9+ / 0-)

              I think if anything I am advocating more patience then anything.

              •  patience time is over (11+ / 0-)
                Clinton didn't have to deal with a depression, FDR and Obama both do so Obama is going to rightfully compared to FDR and he is a massive failure on that comparison.
                •  Get a history book to learn patience (12+ / 0-)

                  "patience time is over"? How about, "patience time is over with people who spurious and inaccurate historical comparisons?"

                  The New Deal was over by 1935 - the Supreme Court had declared its most energetic employment programs, including the NRA, unconstitutional.

                  FDR had to attempt a "SECOND New Deal" by advocating legislation like the Wagner Act, the Social Security Act, and the WPA. He also attempted to "pack the Court," as it was termed, by increasing the number of Justices. But by 1937, a new "Conservative Coalition" had already begun to defeat his legislative endeavors and knock FDR Democrats out of the Congress. The Depression roared back with a vengeance, and the WPA didn't succeed in eradicating it.

                  GOP: Party Before People, Every Time

                  by Louise on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 11:19:27 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  True but... (6+ / 0-)

                    While the WPA didn't succeed in eradicating unemployment it most certainly did help.

                    Paul Krugman's Graph on this should be noted at the link:

                    Fiscal FDR

                    In the world according to the WSJ, FDR pursued a decade of "pump-priming" fiscal expansion, but failed to achieve anything. The actual story is a bit different.

                    To get a bit more of that story, I’ve rolled my own version of the full-employment federal deficit for the period 1929-1946 (to take it though the war years). I’ve assumed that the 1929-41 trend represents potential real GDP, and that federal revenues, other things equal, would have moved proportionally with GDP. Crude, but good enough, I think. I’ve then calculated for each year what the deficit would have been as a percentage of GDP if the economy had in fact been at full employment.

                    What you see is that the fiscal stimulus provided by the WPA and all that was relatively small — and pulled back in 1937, with disastrous results. But when Dr. New Deal turned into Dr. Win the War, the economy got some serious stimulus.

                    Here's the Picture:
                    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/...

                    •  That's a point others have made (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      melo, alizard, Judge Moonbox

                      Including Galbraith in the 60s and 70s (Krugman is a child of J.K. in many ways, more power to him.)

                      The 1st and 2nd New Deal did prime the pump, and more importantly, got a great many wonderful public works built - all of which could use some major upgrading after 65 years.

                      But it was really the war that got America back to work - a point which Krugman makes. That unfortunate economic fact is why the military-industrial complex has grown so popular since then. It's the GOP equivalent of an employment plan.

                      GOP: Party Before People, Every Time

                      by Louise on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:24:56 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  a large part of the $1.7T in infrastructure (13+ / 0-)

                        maintenance the ASCE calls for is to WPA civil infrastructure projects in need of maintenance or replacement.

                        I don't regard this spending as optional, one of the main differences between the First and Third Worlds is precisely the existence of adequate civil infrastructure that works well in the First World and doesn't exist or doesn't work in the Third.

                        Our options are either to fix our infrastructure or slide into becoming a Third World nation. I guess the centrists in both parties don't see enough profit for the Richistani in rebuilding infrastructure to make it a priority for them.

                        Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

                        by alizard on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 01:03:46 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Lessons not learned... (5+ / 0-)

                        One point that has to be made in the differences between FDR and Obama and their handling of the situation is that FDR had no idea of how to handle a crisis like that... no one had ever seen it before.

                        Historians note that his team just tried things until they saw that they worked and kept hammering at it.

                        Their were things that were learned though have been counseled by economists like Roubini, Stieglitz, and Krugman... that have been fundamentally ignored by Obama and his team.

                        We have seen record home foreclosures in 2008 and 2009 even with Obama's assistance programs. It is also being projected that it may not change in 2010 either:

                        4 Million Foreclosures in 2010? It’s A Real Possibility

                        I spent much of the last hour listening to Trulia founder and CEO Pete Flint and RealtyTrac Senior Vice President Rick Sharga discussing their (shall we say somewhat depressing) views of the real estate market.

                        Their vision of foreclosures in 2010? As many as four million homes will receive a foreclosure notice next year, which would make it the peak of this foreclosure cycle.

                        http://moneywatch.bnet.com/...

                        One major lesson that FDR learned was the creation of the HOLC to buy up bad mortgages and Roubini and the other economist I've mentioned also echoed that:

                        H.O.M.E. (Home Owners’ Mortgage Enterprise): Nouriel Roubini Solution

                        We need a new HOLC – more than a new RTC or RFC- to provide massive debt relief to the household sector. We need to create the HOME (Home Owners’ Mortgage Enterprise)
                        Nouriel Roubini | Sep 19, 2008

                        http://marcelinopena.wordpress.com/...

                        This was proposed to provide relief to the house hold sector but also relieve credit restrictions by the banks and get them lending again.

                        Most important of all it was recommended as a way to triage the banks and prevent a "lost decade" like what happened in Japan after their real estate bubble collapsed.

                        Now mortgage foreclosures are still climbing and the "bad banks" are still holding these mortgages on their books... they are not lending to small businesses and unemployment is still extremely high and may continue to rise, and the "too big to fails" are getting bigger than ever.

                      •  Why that is so. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Louise

                        The 1st and 2nd New Deal did prime the pump, and more importantly, got a great many wonderful public works built - all of which could use some major upgrading after 65 years.
                        But it was really the war that got America back to work

                        We should say that it was the war that got Roosevelt to spend on anything near the scale that John Maynard Keynes proposed. From $8.8 billion in 1939, the budget shot up to $79 billion in 1943. (By my estimate, FDR would have needed $14 billion per year in new spending to bring a full recovery--a lot of the 39 budget was "old" spending--and I didn't adjust for the undercapacity before the Crash of 1929.

                        Greg McKendry, Linda Kraeger, Dr. George Tiller, Steven Johns. Victims of Wingnut violence

                        by Judge Moonbox on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 07:20:39 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  It's an excellent point (0+ / 0-)

                          that was made at the time by men like Norman Thomas. But it carried no weight with Americans as a whole.

                          The major problem in FDR's time, as it is now, was the same thing: the US system of democracy. It would have been impossible for him to get anywhere near the Congressional authorization for spending on that level.

                          And it wasn't a threat of war that got that money spent; the isolationist argument kept us out of it. FDR himself was targeted in 1940 by the "America First" Committee for his assistance to the Allies.

                          It took Pearl Harbor to get Americans to spend that kind of money.

                          GOP: Party Before People, Every Time

                          by Louise on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 10:26:07 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  you first (6+ / 0-)

                    Most of the New Deal was passed in FDR's first 100 days in office, when there was a 4 vote gap between the number of Democrats in the Senate and the number required to break a filibuster.

                    The New Deal was over by 1935 - the Supreme Court had declared its most energetic employment programs, including the NRA, unconstitutional.

                    And what did FDR do in response?  He threatened to appoint more justices to the Supreme Court until they stopped blocking his initiatives.  When has Obama said anything about ending the filibuster?

                    There are times for patience, and there's times when "patience" is an excuse for inaction.

                    I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

                    by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:36:50 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Now it's your turn (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      durrati

                      FDR's attempt at judicial reorganization was a FAIL in too many ways. Roosevelt's "court-packing plan" was defeated when it was referred back to the Judiciary Committee and died. Moreover, it alienated a lot of his former legislative supporters. Even one of FDR's more Progressive fireside chats defending it couldn't raise it from the dead.

                      And his attempts to change the structure of the Supreme Court didn't them do anything. The Supreme Court did uphold the minimum wage law because of a switch of one vote - Roberts. But Roberts had decided which way he was going to vote before the bill was introduced.

                      I admittedly haven't read all of the revisionist analysis of court-packing and the New Deal that was written in the early Aughties, and couldn't make it through all of Marian McKenna's voluminous and all-encompassing work - she's may be the expert on this crisis, but boy was it too long. Her argument is that Roosevelt just didn't do his homework when his judicial legislation was drafted, and that he set back his causes for years with his approach to the Supreme Court.

                      But not even Schlesinger, the biggest Roosevelt advocate ever, has made the argument that Roosevelt's attempt at court-packing made the Supreme Court change its mind about anything.

                      GOP: Party Before People, Every Time

                      by Louise on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 01:13:40 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Wrong again (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Ready2fight, Flint, James Kresnik

                        FDR didn't appoint more justices because he didn't need to appoint more justices - Chief Justice Own Robers stopped voting against New Deal programs and started voting for them:

                        Roberts switched his position on the constitutionality of the New Deal in late 1936, and the Supreme Court handed down West Coast Hotel v. Parrish in 1937, upholding the constitutionality of minimum wage laws. Subsequently, the Court would vote to uphold all New Deal programs. Since President Roosevelt's plan to appoint several new justices as part of his "Court-packing" plan of 1937 coincided with the Court's favorable decision in Parrish, many people called Roberts's vote in that case the "switch in time that saved nine," although Roberts's vote in Parrish occurred several months before announcement of the Court-packing plan. While Roberts is often accused of inconsistency in his jurisprudential stance towards the New Deal, legal scholars note that he had previously argued for a broad interpretation of government power in the 1934 case of Nebbia v. New York, and so his later vote in Parrish was not a complete reversal.

                        So FDR still got what he wanted in the end - a Supreme Court that stopped striking down his initiatives.  But what did Supreme Court rulings have to do with presidential effectiveness in pushing legislation though Congress, again?

                        I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

                        by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 04:38:57 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                •  Um, no. (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  askew, never forget 2000, drache, jl4851

                  FDR dealt with a depression that was three years running when he took office, with 27% unemployment.  Obama dealt with a potential depression.  FDR had to work to get out of a depression (the New Deal failed at that, by the way).  Obama had to work to avert a depression.  Two totally different things.

                •  you need a history book then (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  askew, JanL

                  because you have no clue what you are talking about.

                •  Time to play "Troll, or just dumb?" (0+ / 0-)

                  Would you care to back up your contention with the unemployment statistics from the years of FDR's Presidency?

                  Thought so.

                  Also, FDR refused to backi anti-lynching legislation in congress.

                  FDR tried to pack the SCOTUS when it didn't agree with him, thereby weakening the structure of a co-equal branch of government.

                  Either troll, warmed over PUMA, or just more of the same FDL "Magical Bully Pulpit" BS here.

                  Thanks for playing...

                  "Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner"

                  by Darnell From LA on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 03:05:41 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  ah, projection (6+ / 0-)

                    Would you care to back up your contention with the unemployment statistics from the years of FDR's Presidency?

                    You sure you want to go there?

                    As alizard lays out above:

                    apples-to-apples comparisons of unemployment between the Depression and now, unemployment is at 22%. Unemployment reporting methods were changed during the Clinton Administration from the ones used during the Depression era in a way that by coincidence, made the Clinton Administration look better.

                    The only reason we aren't in as bad a shape is because of New Deal programs like the FDIC and safety nets like unemployment insurance and food stamps.

                    Also, FDR refused to backi anti-lynching legislation in congress.

                    Convenient that you guys only talk about the things that FDR didn't do for blacks but never talk about the things that he did do.  Roosevelt created the Civil Rights division of the Justice Department, which did prosecute lynchings, he threatened to withhold Civilian Conservation Corps money from Georgia if the state didn't stop preventing blacks from joining the program, signed an executive order prohibiting employment discrimination in the defense industry, and appointed more blacks to his administration than any other president.

                    I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

                    by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 04:48:33 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Not saying your comment isn't a straw man (37+ / 0-)

              ...because plenty of Democrats were pissed at NAFTA, welfare reform, DADT, Gramm-Leach-Bailey and the 1996 Telecommunications Act long before Hillary ran for the Senate, much less the Presidency.

              And, Clinton's neoliberal economic policies have been a long term disaster for the middle class - that's not "bashing", that's simple reality.

              I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

              by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:11:36 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Touche. n/t (0+ / 0-)

              Learn more about second-class U.S. citizenship at http://www.equalitymatters.org/

              by Larry Bailey on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:10:23 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  who was it successful for? (6+ / 0-)

              It was successful for me, I was one of the dot.com workers before the dot.com expansion got turned into a speculative bubble fueled by Clinton Administration policies and the dot.bomb resulted.

              Many people not living on the coasts got totally left out of this.

              Then, there was the repeal of Glass-Stegall and the Phil Gramm CTFC provision that made it illegal for the Feds to regulate derivatives and other exotic financial instruments that have been accurately characterized by Warren Buffett as "financial instrumetns of mass destruction.

              This deregulation played a major part of the scenario leading up to the latest financial sector panic. Since I don't work for Goldman-Sachs, I'd call Clintonian financial deregulation EPIC FAIL.

              Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

              by alizard on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:59:43 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Significant distinction between reality and (31+ / 0-)

            perception, there.

            FDR battled economic statistics on into the start of WWII, when all that war spending finally was sufficiently humongous to actually prime the money pump in real terms. You're right, that much.

            But many years before Pearl Harbor, the New Deal had convinced ordinary citizens that it was on their side and fighting for their interests. By creating jobs and DOING stuff that could be seen everywhere by everybody.

            Yeah, the corporate press tried hard to spread memes about "shovel-leaners" and free-loading bums on the federal dole. But too many people had FDR's picture in the parlor.

            I'm descended from CCC and WPA workers -- in West Virginia there are still artifacts everywhere -- so don't try to tell me that the current administration is even in the same league as the New Dealers.

          •  Did you actually READ the diary, drache? n/t (9+ / 0-)

            The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it.

            by ohmyheck on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:41:04 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  The Pres needs to change the economic team (16+ / 0-)

            He may be following the Clinton playbook, but it may not work this time around.  I'm not an economist but I think he needs people who will push an approach that emphasizes priming the pump at the level of main street america, e.g., WPA type employment and an industrial policy, instead of the trickle down economic approach that ends up benefiting the executive class with minimal benefit trickling down to working people in the form of jobs.

            •  It's not the Clinton playbook (0+ / 0-)

              Clinton was governing under much different circumstances.  Were he in Obama's position today facing the need for a strong jobs program, he would have played it differently, more aggressively. My opinion, anyway.

              I'm from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party...

              by Betty Pinson on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:03:15 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Good Point (5+ / 0-)

                Clinton did indeed follow the basic assumptions of Reagan with his "free trade" and NAFTA support, as well as "deregulation", of course most of congress has too and they are still are on that track for the most part.

                However, your point about different times and conditions and a different response is valid in my opinion.

                We'll never know for sure what Clinton would have done... but where is he now? What has Clinton offered up other than "get health care out of the way to deal with jobs."

                He's playing his cards close to his chest and behind closed doors:

                Obama to hold White House meeting with former President Clinton

                Associated Press
                Last update: January 7, 2010 - 10:02 AM

                WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama will meet with former President Bill Clinton at the White House Thursday.

                A White House official says the meeting is a "check-in" visit between the former Democratic president and Obama. Clinton is also expected to see his former White House employee, Rahm Emanuel, who serves as Obama's chief of staff.

                The Oval Office meeting is closed to the press. Obama will meet separately with the former president's wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, later in the day.

                http://www.startribune.com/...

                •  That meeting is very encouraging (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Flint

                  Clinton is very creative. The difference between Clinton & Obama is that, while both like to seek opinions from experts, Clinton was more inclined to synthesize them into his own decisions. Obama works more by consensus.

                  I'm from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party...

                  by Betty Pinson on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:59:01 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Okay; it's the Wall Street playbook. (3+ / 0-)

                The one Clinton followed, if memory serves.

                We don't need a third party. We need a second party.

                by obiterdictum on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 01:29:16 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  I do not think Obama is using trickle down econom (11+ / 0-)

              and frankly think that is a bit of a smear.

              I do think that Obama had to deal with 'wall street' first because right or wrong those institutions would have destroyed us all had they collapsed.

              Much like I would add, what FDR did.

              I think you will see more direct aid after that but the fact is we are 10 trillion in debt largely thanks to the GOP. That's a reality FDR never had to worry about.

              •  no they wouldn't (7+ / 0-)
                if wall st collapsed it would be a great thing, don't buy the fearmongering.
                •  yes 1/5 of our economy (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  condorcet, durrati

                  just falling apart, what could possibly go wrong about that?

                  •  the 1/5 that doesn't produce anything (10+ / 0-)

                    Apple will go on making computers and GM will go on making cars.  CitiGroup, Bank Of America - they can go fuck themselves.

                    I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

                    by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:46:28 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  so your solution is to just let it go to hell (0+ / 0-)

                      and magically it will work out.

                      lmao

                      •  It depends on who is in charge when the collapse (10+ / 0-)

                        happens. The policies for dealing with a total collapse of the financial system are really pretty straight forward. The first fact you have to get straight is that that the financial system is doing now has little relation to what the financial system is supposed to do: Debunking the Great Myth of the Financial Markets. The financial system is supposed to aggregate savings, then allocate the funds collected to entrepreneurs and enterprises that are most likely to create new wealth.

                        Instead, what the financial system is doing is speculating, usury, and economic rent. Now, defenders of Wall Street will argue that these activities also "create wealth." They do not; they create bubbles: the artificial rise of asset prices (the rise of asset prices through artifices).

                        The second fact you have to that the financial system pretty much owns the mass media system, and most of he political system, and it is not in the interest of the financial system as presently constituted for the American people to realize that it is not doing what it is supposed to do.

                        Therefore, the simple fact is that the sooner the he financial system as presently constituted collapses, the better off we all will be.

                        Now, what actually as to be done? Simply, either the Federal Reserve banks begin to lend money directly to industrial enterprises, farms, and local governments, or they are frozen out of power and the Treasury begins direct lending. Much of this lending can be channeled through local banks. But loans to large companies like Intel or GM can go through the Fed banks or the Treasury.

                        At the same time, a banking holiday for financial derivative is declared. Just for financial derivatives, like credit default swaps. Let the system explode, then in a few days or weeks, we can start to go through the rubble and save what is worth saving. Remember, what the financial system is doing now, most especially with financial derivatives, is worst than useless. It is harmful.

                        Then you need a series of international negotiations to establish a new system of international payments, and a new system of cross border capital controls and exchange rate management.

                        Of course, if you cannot or will not accept the fact that the the financial system as presently constituted is not only useless, but harmful, you will have a strong gut reaction against these facts and proposals. Which is to be expected from probably around a third of the population, the third which bought into the whole "post-industrial" baloney and have made a living these past few decades as one of the cogs in the vast, complex mechanism of international finance that pushes worthless paper around, and around, and around.

                        A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

                        by NBBooks on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 04:36:27 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  worth a separate diary (6+ / 0-)

                          I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

                          by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 04:54:43 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I did a number of them (4+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            gmb, NoMoreLies, WisePiper, James Kresnik

                            beginning in late 2007 and running through the collapses of Bare Sterns and BLEHman Bros. There was a good response - but not good enough to actually change the flow of events. I have sorrowfully concluded that people first need to be educated about economics. And that most U.S. elites need to be jailed or somehow removed from their positions.

                            In other words, I think we're in for some very, very bad times in the next five to ten years.

                            A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

                            by NBBooks on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 05:04:38 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  you know why I hate debating economics on this (0+ / 0-)

                          site?

                          Because everyone that doesn't instantly agree apparently has no clue what they are talking about.

                          So by extension of your wonderful logic we all are clueless.

                          Congrats you have just invalidated yourself.

                          Look I am not against reform but to say 'let it burn' betrays a fundamental indifference and/or a fundamental arrogance that should frighten anyone with an ounce of sense.

                          •  You know, it's kind of funny (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Uberbah

                            but the more education some people seem to have, the more resistant to facing reality they seem to be. Often, they just don't "get it" until the blood is in the streets.

                            From Glen Ford:

                            2009 will, I believe, go down in history as the year that Wall Street – shorthand for the finance capitalist class – finally chewed up and swallowed whole the government of the United States. . . .

                            The job of reinflating the Wall Street bubble fell to President Barack Obama, whose executive branch joined with the Federal Reserve to put the entirety of the nation's current and future wealth at the disposal of the bankster class. By July of 2009, Obama and the Fed had committed $23.7 trillion dollars of the people's cash and credit to bail out the banks. In a real sense, it does not matter how many trillions were actually spent, or will be sucked up by Wall Street in the future. The point is, the U.S. government in 2009 put everything the people of the United States own or create, or can ever hope to own or create, permanently at the service of Wall Street. Like the young "Alien" in the science fiction movie series, Wall Street has attached itself to the face and body of the nation and is sucking it to death.

                            The picture that best explains the historical significance of the year 2009, is President Obama holding a teleconference with bankers who didn't bother to show up for a meeting with him at the White House, in mid-December. Obama is pleading with them to at least pretend to act in the interest of the public whose national resources they have stolen. But the banksters see no need to pay even token respect to a president who is actually their servant. Having swallowed the state whole, they simply...digest it, knowing they can come back for seconds and thirds until the people's credit is exhausted.

                            From Ian Walsh:

                            The sense of entitlement is breathtaking.  The banks simply need to be broken up, and the remaining ones turned into utilities with regulated profit levels and compensation levels.  Clearly the people in charge cannot be trusted to act in the best interests of either society or even the shareholders they claim are their primary responsibility.

                            Until this is done, I will add, the middle class will not see any real gains in real disposable income after all taxes (which includes interest, which is a tax) are taken into account.  It’s you or them folks, and they are damn well determined it isn’t going to be them.  They are parasites, not symbiotes, they sicken their host and can even kill it, rather than making it stronger.

                            And you are their hosts, from whom they suck blood to stay alive and grow fat.  Except unlike the huge swollen ticks gorged on blood who are their direct kin, no amount of blood is ever enough.

                            And,

                            The powerful do what they can, the weak suffer what they must.  Nothing has changed since Thucydides wrote that statement almost 2500 years ago.

                            Powerful people don’t care whether you’re offended or not, they only care whether or not you can hurt them.

                            If you can’t, the fact that you’re offended is just noise.

                            A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

                            by NBBooks on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 11:27:17 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  you know it's funny (0+ / 0-)

                            because a lot of that is misrepresentation.

                            Take the mythical 23 trillion number for example. It must be so nice to have a crystal ball, well that and claim that it 'does not really matter how much the US actually spent'. No all that matters is the inflated sense of self worth and an 'I am right you are wrong no matter what' attitude.

                            As I said, this is why I hate debating economics on this site, you are not going to listen to a damn thing. You have your conclusion and all you want now is evidence real or not.

                            So fine but it's not reality based and it's pointless to debate you.

                            I favor reform but I think a lot of progressives (including apparently you) do not understand that their fairly radical ideas do not have the backing they think they do.

                            No matter how you dress it up the vast majority of the American people do not want 20% of our economy to just burn.

                            You overplay you hand and in doing so damage the position of reform.

              •  What has Obama done that is different? (11+ / 0-)

                You correctly, IMO, argue that he had to head off a depression by stabilizing Wall Street and the Banks.

                That is something that even Paul Krugman has acknowledged needed to be done, but the beyond preserving the status quo... what has Obama done to deviate from the "Reagan's trickle down economics" that have dominated this country and its leadership for the last thirty years?

                Obama's economic team seem to have taken up wall streets cause but forgotten main street as the saying goes:

                Peter DeFazio: Geithner and Summers Should Be Fired

                A huge statement tonight – Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from Oregon and one of the chairs of the Populist Caucus in the House, just called for the firing of Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers, saying that Barack Obama’s economic team is failing him. He said that there’s a "growing sense" in the caucus that a new economic team committed to jobs and American workers is needed to replace the one primarily concerned with Wall Street.

                video link:
                http://news.firedoglake.com/...

                And the news on Geithner seems to be getting worse by the day:

                Geithner’s Fed Told AIG to Limit Swaps Disclosure

                Jan. 7 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, then led by Timothy Geithner, told American International Group Inc. to withhold details from the public about the bailed-out insurer’s payments to banks during the depths of the financial crisis, e-mails between the company and its regulator show.

                http://www.bloomberg.com/...

                And Krugman is now biting his nails over what this administration and congress seem to be doing:

                That 1937 Feeling

                Excerpt:

                So the odds are that any good economic news you hear in the near future will be a blip, not an indication that we’re on our way to sustained recovery. But will policy makers misinterpret the news and repeat the mistakes of 1937? Actually, they already are.

                The Obama fiscal stimulus plan is expected to have its peak effect on G.D.P. and jobs around the middle of this year, then start fading out. That’s far too early: why withdraw support in the face of continuing mass unemployment? Congress should have enacted a second round of stimulus months ago, when it became clear that the slump was going to be deeper and longer than originally expected. But nothing was done — and the illusory good numbers we’re about to see will probably head off any further possibility of action.

                Meanwhile, all the talk at the Fed is about the need for an "exit strategy" from its efforts to support the economy. One of those efforts, purchases of long-term U.S. government debt, has already come to an end. It’s widely expected that another, purchases of mortgage-backed securities, will end in a few months. This amounts to a monetary tightening, even if the Fed doesn’t raise interest rates directly — and there’s a lot of pressure on Mr. Bernanke to do that too.

                Will the Fed realize, before it’s too late, that the job of fighting the slump isn’t finished? Will Congress do the same? If they don’t, 2010 will be a year that began in false economic hope and ended in grief.

                http://www.nytimes.com/...

                So again... what has Obama or his team done differently than what has been done before?
                 

          •  Got Your back (0+ / 0-)

            The diary is an interesting one, but I wonder how much has changed to the now modern Presidency. I have no doubt that Obama could have created more jobs had the Democrats and Republicans taken our economic crisis as seriously as they did 9-11. Unfortunately, the financial meltdown and the economic response has been fraught with hyper-partisanship and ideology from the right. I'm not a student of history, and although I know that FDR was hated by a lot of people, I don't think his political environs were as poisonous as they are now.

            The modern presidency is certainly characterized by multiple crises on the same level of urgency requiring multi-tasking and political deftness.

            Things would be a lot easier if the Democrats were as protective and deferential to their presidents as the republicans. But if they were, they wouldn't be Democrats ; )

            "The lying time will be over." Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

            by never forget 2000 on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:03:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm not so sure (11+ / 0-)

              From The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes, by Bryan Burrough, Penguin Press, 2008. Chapter 7, "Birth of the Ultraconservatives"

              These are my notes, with no attempt to polish them for this comment.

              Chapter 7, "Birth of the Ultraconservatives" details the transformation of Texas oil money into the national religious wrong-wing, beginning in the 1930s reaction to Roosevelt and the New Deal.

              The transformation of Texas oil money into the national religious wrong-wing, Burrough writes,

              "was fueled by a fear of is known today as "big government", the New Deal’s introduction of modern welfare state and deep-seated southern racism. "Nowhere in the United States, note even on Wall Street or the Republican epicenters in Michigan and Pennsylvania, did I find such a perfervid hatred for Mr. Roosevelt as in Texas," the author John Gunther wrote after touring the state in 1944. "[There} I met men who had been unfalteringly convinced that if FDR won again, ‘it would mean that the Mexicans and niggers will take us over.’ " (pages 126-127)

              Burroughs notes that Texas traditionally had been dominated by "a hierarchical, plantation-style culture, ruled by a southern aristocracy dedicated to harvesting the earth while keeping its workers subservient and poorly educated," and the Big Four especially – H.L. Hunt, Roy Cullen, Sid Richardson, and Clint Murchison – easily fit in, with their admiration for "Deep South culture."

              Scan 127-128

              It was Texas lumber baron John Henry Kirby
              http://en.wikipedia.org/...
              http://www.tshaonline.org/...
              who first began to inject the unique strain of Texas jingoism and racism into American politics. Kirby had been one of the first financial backers of Roy Cullen, a president of the National Association of Manufacturers (though he never had actually manufactured anything more complex than lumber), and an adviser to Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover. For years, Kirby had funded and directed an anti-tax group named the Southern Tariff Congress. Like so many other businesses, the Great Depression hit Kirby’s businesses hard, but Kirby blamed his May 1933 bankruptcy entirely on Roosevelt and the New Deal. Kirby hired a Southern Tariff Congress agitator named Vance Muse to begin building a political movement against the New Deal.

              Scan 129

              One of the most extreme of the Texas oilmen who joined forces with Kirby was George W. Armstrong, owner of Texas Steel, which supplied the oil fields, and also made concrete supports for Texas highways (with presumably no problem taking government money). "A rabid racist and anti-semite, Armstrong had been a top organizer for the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s and in the 1930s and 1940s emerged as on of the country’s leading purveyors of anti-Semitic hate literature." Armstrong and other extremist members of SCUC – Maco Stewart, founder of America First, and Stewart’s hired gun, Lewis Valentine Ulrey, believed that Russian communism was a project of an international Jewish conspiracy that had successfully infiltrated top levels of American churches, education, and government. Nonetheless, Burrough writes that "almost all [the] funding, about ninety thousand dollars" for the SCUC came from "northern businessmen and angry Liberty Leaguers, including members of the DuPont family." Kirby and the others had high hopes that as Roosevelt’s popularity sank at the end of 1935, it would be possible to wrest control of the Democratic Party away from "the socialists" and replace Roosevelt as the party’s nominee with someone like Georgia governor Eugene Talmadge or Louisiana governor and former Senator Huey Long. At the SCUC’s first convention, attended by around 3,000 "delegates" in Macon, Georgia in January 1936, the stage was draped with a huge Confederate battle flag, and


              speakers denounced Roosevelt as a "nigger-loving Communist," New Dealers as "social vermin" and the NAACP as "the worst communist organization in the United States"; one termed a federal anti-lynching bill as "infamous tyranny" and "total outrage."

              On each seat in the hall had been placed a copy of a magazine named Georgia Women’s World, actually produced on Kirby’s dime by Vance Muse in Houston. The cover featured a photograph of first lady Eleanor Roosevelt being escorted by African-American ROTC cadets at Howard University, the all-black college in Washington, D.C., and the lead editorial


              assailed FDR’s recent Jackson Day speech. "Andrew Jackson," it read, "didn’t appoint a Negro Assistant Attorney General . . . a Negro confidential clerk in the White House . . .  and when Andrew Jackson got to be President, he didn’t put in Republicans, Socialists, Communists and Negroes to tell him how to run these good old United States."

              (Republicans, it should be remembered, were still, in the 1930s and 1940s, reviled in the South as the party of Abraham Lincoln, the War of Northern Aggression, and Reconstruction and the Freedmen Bureaus.)

              In April 1936, when liberal Alabama Senator Hugo Black forced Kirby and Vance to appear before a Senate committee and explain "the nigger photos," as they came to be called, Muse openly stated, under oath, "I am a Southerner and I am for white supremacy. . . .  It was a picture of Mrs. Roosevelt going to some nigger meeting with two escorts, niggers on each arm." But, according to Burrough, what really derailed SCUC is when Black forced Vance to admit that the SCUC was actually funded almost entirely by northern, anti-Roosevelt businessmen.  

              Nonetheless, as Burrough argues, the SCUC and the other organizations created by Kirby and Vance created the basis for an total transformation of Texas politics. Burrough notes that "In his definitive study of Texas conservatism, The Establishment in Texas Politics, George Norris Green pinpoints 1938 as the year oil-backed ultraconservatives took control of the state’s political structure" with the defeat of two strongly pro-Roosevelt Congressmen, and the election of an oil-industry shill as governor, W. Lee "Pappy" O’Daniel, a famous comic radio personality in Texas.

              Scan 134-35

              According to Burrough, after Kirby’s death in 1940, fifth-grade dropout Roy Cullen stepped up to become the money bags and intellectual guide to Texas ultraconservatism. Cullen had been one of O’Brien’s largest financial contributors, and in 1938 had sponsored a speech in Houston by Elizabeth Dilling, a notorious author of anti-Communist and anti-Semitic screeds, and whose links to pro-Nazi groups led to be being investigated and indicted for sedition (though she was acquitted). Just before he died, Kirby asked Cullen to run for political office, but Cullen replied he thought he could be more effective backing others for office.

              A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

              by NBBooks on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:19:05 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Teabaggers (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                blueoasis, James Kresnik, Zotz

                I see so many parallels. You?

                "The lying time will be over." Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

                by never forget 2000 on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:32:44 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  These are the "Texans" that Ike referred to.. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Uberbah

                This machine kills fascists!

                by Zotz on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 02:33:01 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  More details, please (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  NoMoreLies, Uberbah

                  What did Ike say, and what was the occasion?

                  I've been listening to Sam Tannenhouse's The Death of Conservatism as I drive, and I did not know that the crazies on the wrong wing believed that Ike was actually controlled by his brother, Milton, and both were secret operatives of Soviet communism.

                  How we ever let these silly bastards elect Nixon, Reagan, and Dumbya is just incomprehensible given what crazy butt-wipes they are. Did you know that Bill Buckley and National Review editorialized against the Supreme Court decision on desegregation on the ground of the inherent racial superiority of the white race? Really, there's no reason why we can't beat the Republicans and the conservatives to a bloody pulp with their own sordid history.

                  A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

                  by NBBooks on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 04:47:28 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Here you go: (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    NBBooks

                    From a letter Eisenhower wrote to his brother Edgar on November 8, 1954:

                    Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.

                    More here.

                    This machine kills fascists!

                    by Zotz on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 07:42:31 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  The Liberal critique of FDR. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            James Kresnik, drache

            We can't ignore that Economic theory had not grasped the immensity of the Depression; and that few people were prepared to say how much we would need to do to dig ourselves out of it.

            Still, Gov. Al Smith proposed building $12 billion a year in public works that would eventually pay for themselves once prosperity had returned. FDR thought that there weren't $12B at all, but never bothered to look.

            So imagine that either of them had actually drawn up the blueprints for what could be done. If the St. Lawrence Seaway had been built before WWII, we would have had been able to build many more navy ships in the Great Lakes industrial cites. There are thousands of miles of railroads built before the bulldozer was invented, that could have been straightened out; longer bridges and tunnels and other modernizations done which would have put them in a better position to withstand the loss of market share after the war, etc, etc.

            Amity Shlaes has argued that Roosevelt's spending failed to bring full prosperity until we were at war. We need to be able to say that Shlaesball logic is like saying that if the doctor prescribes 4 pills a day and we only take 3 a week and don't get better, the pills don't work.

            Greg McKendry, Linda Kraeger, Dr. George Tiller, Steven Johns. Victims of Wingnut violence

            by Judge Moonbox on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 07:15:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  that he did! (23+ / 0-)

        heaps more to work with.

        house composition, 1933 - 1935:

           313 Democrats
           117 Republicans
           5 Farmer-Labor

        house composition, 1935 - 1937:

           322 Democrats
           103 Republicans
           7 Progressives
           3 Farmer-Labor

        house composition, 1937 - 1939:

           334 Democrats
           88 Republicans
           8 Progressives
           5 Farmer-Labor

        house composition, 1935 - 1937:

        The problem with people who need to follow leaders is that they need to follow leaders.

        by Cedwyn on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:32:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  and the senate (23+ / 0-)

          59 dems in '32

          69 in '34

          75 dems in '36

          http://forthardknox.com/...

          The problem with people who need to follow leaders is that they need to follow leaders.

          by Cedwyn on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:39:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Not to mention (9+ / 0-)

          that there was no equivalent "just say no" coalition of any kind.

          But why should any of that matter. "Good" Presidents can make people do whatever they want by sheer will.

          •  Amazing that this is in Scientific American: (29+ / 0-)

            Looking for Change in the Beltway: The Need for Open Process, by Jeffrey D. Sachs

              The Obama administration has not put forward one coherent plan as a detailed policy proposal. Every major piece of public policy has been turned over to the backrooms of Congress, emerging through the lobby-infested bargaining process among vested and regional interests. There was no overarching plan for the economic stimulus; no clear plan for health care reform; no defined strategy for climate change control; and so forth. If there were plans behind the scenes, they were never presented to the public as such.

               This approach, it is often said, reflects the "learning" from the failures of the Clinton administration’s attempt to reform health care and control climate change. This time, the logic goes, the administration will leave no easy targets in the form of detailed policy proposals that can be shot down. It will let the negotiations among interest groups take place first and deftly guide a compromise piece of legislation to adoption. This is the logic of politics as the art of the possible.

               By refusing to put forward clear plans, the administration is creating gaping and unnecessary weaknesses in public policy. First, and most important, the bad parts of legislation are not shot down. For example, Congress has never even considered the advantages of a straightforward carbon tax over the messier cap-and-trade system because there has been little occasion for serious policy planning.

               Second, backroom negotiations are of course an invitation to vast, shady transfers of wealth. Carbon permits worth hundreds of billions of dollars were allocated to vested interests in private dealings without any public awareness, debate or participation. Similar deals in health care, financial reform and the stimulus bill have left the public struggling to understand the real winners and losers from various legislative actions.

            A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

            by NBBooks on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:14:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I wonder what the heroic Byron Dorgan (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              condorcet

              would say about a carbon tax?

              •  I wonder why you're asking such a question (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                blueoasis, 0wn, Words In Action

                I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

                by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:17:11 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I wonder why you can't see how difficult it is (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  never forget 2000, Diogenes2008

                  to pass legislation when 40% of Congress is adamantly opposed to every piece of legislation introduced, and another 20% is opposed to anything meaningful.

                  And even your heroes don't always side with you.

                  Oh right, it's because Obama isn't tough enough, doesn't say things that appeal to liberal ears enough, doesn't give enough guidance and details, blah blah blah. Like any of that would matter.

                  •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Alfonso Nevarez

                    I wonder what folks wanted Obama to do with Nelson and Lieberman. Oh I got it. Challenge them to some b-ball or take them out on the links, winner takes all. Or just put them in a head lock.

                    Like I said: If Democrats acted like Republicans about their president, they wouldn't be Democrats.

                    "The lying time will be over." Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

                    by never forget 2000 on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:15:25 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  That requires the assumption that Obama (9+ / 0-)

                      wasn't playing ball with Lieberman. Obama didn't sigh and shrug his way into supporting the Senate bill because of Republican opposition and political reality. His actions and obfuscations speak more for his support of corporations and the status quo than his intentions, self-proclaimed or projected by people here, for American citizens.  I, along with or that Russ Feingold, believe the Senate bill is a more in line with what Obama wanted than anything mcjoan ever diaried about in 2009.

                      And you're acting as though the WH has never put pressure on anyone in Congress for anything, which is wrong; I'm not even counting the attacks against progressives as a whole or individuals like Howard Dean. We know exactly what WH pressure looks like, and there was no such pressure or demand when it came to progressive health care legislation that a majority of Americans supported, be it the public option or Medicare starting at age 55.

                      So, in regards to the original topic, Obama had opportunities to act in his first year of office. Whatever he has done specifically to address the housing crisis, the jobjess crisis, or the economic crisis as a whole has been watered down at best. We needed bold action in 2009, and Obama didn't bring it. In fact, he was so neglectful in some regards, that people were hurt by his actions instead of helped.

                      The cost of failure gives credence to the negative perception of government intervention that is screamed daily from right-wing talk radio. The jobless numbers we see today and the failed foreclosure program created by the Obama administration only bolster conservative arguments that the government can't rescue us from a depression; that the government is only prolonging the recession; that people have to suffer and die while "the market corrects itself". In 2010, we may see a desperate middle class convinced to throw the poor and jobless under the bus for what they see as survival and a required sacrifice demanded by their Republican saviors.

                      "That is not true, you never had that choice to begin with."--Sen. Mary Landrieu to Howard Dean on public option.

                      by just some lurker guy on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 01:21:05 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  ignoring, not wondering (3+ / 0-)

                      It's been laid out many, many times how the President can pressure Congress to do what he wants - you've just ignored it.

                      I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

                      by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 01:21:50 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  some facts to interfere with your storyline (4+ / 0-)

                    With three notable exceptions - SS privatization, Justice Meyers, and immigration reform - Bush got all of his major policies through Congress, and never had Obama's majorities or mandate.

                    Even Democrats took back Congress and Bush's poll numbers were in the 30's, Bush still got what he wanted: Mukasey confirmed as AG, the Surge in Iraq, and Telecom Immunity.

                    The votes were always there for Obama to get, if he was willing to get them.  So far, he hasn't been - unless it's for defense spending.

                    I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

                    by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 01:18:21 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Do I really have to explain the difference? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      4Freedom

                      This should be obvious. The financial powers in this country were in line with Bush's agenda. Therefore any politicians, D or R, standing in the way, could either be bought out or severely punished (they didn't call Tom Delay "The Hammer" for nothing). Even after Dems took over, these financial powers were able to influence congress to push Bush's agenda through.

                      In the case of Obama's agenda, the exact opposite is true. The financial powers are uniformly against proposed legislation. Therefore, anything the President wants to do is an uphill battle, except where the financial powers concur. The increased presence in Afghanistan got almost no resistance. Why? Because the financial powers were in line with it.

                      Keep making the comparisons to FDR. I laugh at you. When FDR took over we were on the verge of revolution. Communism was incredibly popular. People were willing to die for economic relief. Many companies went along with FDR's agenda because they saw it as a pacifier to the revolting masses. The more stubborn companies tried to orchestrate a coup, and when that failed they fell in line as well, but still carried enormous influence.

                      In today's world, not even revolting masses (as if) concern the elite. They can conduct their business from anywhere, and enlist trained mercenaries to protect them and their families. And they will use their money to fight President Obama's agenda tooth and nail.

                      •  Are you really this willfully obtuse? (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        James Kresnik, scarysota63

                        There is something that can used that is every bit as effective as Wall Street cash, if you're willing to use it: massive voter discontent.  The bailouts were opposed from across the ideological spectrum - what money is Goldman Sachs going to lobby the government with if they have no more damn money?

                        But that's the obvious problem that you're obviously ignoring: Obama is choosing Wall Street over the working class.

                        Keep making the comparisons to FDR. I laugh at you.

                        I suppose you could see it that way, if you've got a case of the Bum Eyes.  Corporatists hated FDR so much they plotted a coup against him - so much for the unstoppable power of money.

                        I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

                        by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 05:13:15 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You really believe "voter discontent" (0+ / 0-)

                          can change the world don't you?

                          Until that "discontent" turns into "take to the streets, shoot the bankers and a round of molotov cocktails for wall st" outrage, you're never going to see the kind of agenda FDR was able to push through. And frankly, I'm ok with that, because I'm not interested in violent revolution in any way shape or form, and neither are 99%+ of Americans.

                          So what we're stuck with is incrementalism.

                          Ironic that you consider yourself part of the "reality based community" and are so ignorant of it. Also ironic is your insistence that you are not part of the "personality based community" and yet you focus all your energies and blame all of our problems on a single personality, where even if you were correct in your assessment of him as a sellout and such, you fail to see how insignificant Barack Obama is in the scheme of things.

                •  I wonder why some keep (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Diogenes2008

                  Photobucket

                  Life's little instruction book "Loosen up. Wear audacious underwear under the most solemn business attire.".

                  by Luetta on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 11:10:00 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Excellent article (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Flint

              thanks for posting.  Scientific American seems to be pretty good at analyzing public policy as well.

              I'm from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party...

              by Betty Pinson on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 11:48:03 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  But (13+ / 0-)

          What you are saying is that he came into the WH after an utter moron who failed to understand the economic situation and its impact on people like you and me, and with him came a large majority in the Congress.

          Deja vu.

          And when FDR USED that majority to push through REALLY aggressive programs, quasi-socialist stuff, he was REWARDED with even more of a majority!

          A lot of people (blue dog dems, for example, or say, Rahm) seem to think that if Obama is as aggressive, we will LOSE seats.

          FDR's example is that if you use what you have to make things happen, you GAIN support.

          "Balance" does not mean giving the same weight to a lie as you do to the truth.

          by delphine on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:46:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  How much of the New Deal do you know? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Diogenes2008

            The NRA was found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1935, and the entire thing closed down. FDR's 1934 majority didn't help him one whit after that.

            GOP: Party Before People, Every Time

            by Louise on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:55:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  FDR was (12+ / 0-)

              fearless and aggressive and got rewarded for it with more seats

              Obama took a softer line and may lose seats.

              That's all I'm saying.

              The WPA continued even after the NRA was found unconstitutional.  The NRA was only PART of the New Deal legislation, having to do with interstate commerce and separation of powers and a lot of what it tried to do in terms of labor was resurrected in the Wagner Act.  And with that majority he passed  the minimum wage (FLSA). And social security.

              When the economy began to deteriorate again in late 1937, Roosevelt responded with an aggressive program of stimulation, asking Congress for $5 billion for WPA relief and public works. This managed to eventually create a peak of 3.3 million WPA jobs by 1938.

              Seems like his majority helped him after 1934.

              It did not "shut the whole thing down".  And in the meantime he put millions to work.  I suppose he could have worried about getting his hand slapped and just let every remain slaves to poor labor standards, lacking the right to unionize, without any minimum wage.  Instead he got it DONE, worried about the handslap later, and after the handslap, reinstated much of what was slapped down - some of the most important and impactful legislation in our history.

              Looks like there's a lot YOU don't know about the New Deal.

              "Balance" does not mean giving the same weight to a lie as you do to the truth.

              by delphine on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 11:35:59 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Perhaps you aren't familiar with the NRA (0+ / 0-)

                The Supreme Court did "shut the whole thing down" - the National Recovery Administration, that is. They ruled FDR's administrative approach violated the separation of powers clause.  That is why FDR went the  the legislative route after 1935. Social Security, the Wagner Act, Fair Labor Practices, the WPA - they were all legislative programs, but of the "Second" New Deal. The WPA was not part of the NRA - it was the separate Works Projects program authorized by Congress.

                I was responding to the premise of this diary, which about the wonderful effects of the NRA. Its effects which were indeed wonderful and rapid, but they cannot be achieved by the same approach anymore. A President can no longer create a whole agency and use it to provide millions of jobs. FDR still went after his goals, but had to deal with Congress, including a large Conservative bloc. In addition, the Second New Deal didn't succeed in abolishing the Second Coming of the Depression, which regained strength in 1937.

                FDR wasn't worried about a handslap in 1933 because there hadn't ever been one like that from the Supreme Court. Now that there is the precedent, however, Obama has to.

                Are you suggesting that Obama, a Professor of Constitutional Law, break the law now in order to gain some political advantage, and let the program be found unconstitutional later? Probably not.

                Is the goal to put more people back to work by employing them on public works projects? Then that will have to be accomplished with a second "stimulus" bill or the like. There can't be another NRA. This diary doesn't do any favors to its readers by leaving untold the complete story.

                GOP: Party Before People, Every Time

                by Louise on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:09:29 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  This diary is NOT about the NRA (3+ / 0-)

                  It is about the WPA, and putting people back to work by infusing the country with money for infrastructure.  Putting A LOT of people back to work.  And doing it in a gutsy way.

                  The WPA was not found to be unconstitutional.  No one in the diary or anywhere else claimed that Obama should replicate the NRA OR do anything unconstitutional.

                  The WPA was not "shut down" when the NRA was shut down.  And the major, landmark changes that were part of the NRA were accomplished legislatively.

                  Seems like you're contradicting yourself - if he DIDN'T have the majority in congress, he couldn't have "gone the legislative route" to get those programs through.

                  As prfb states (below? above?), the nation perceived FDR as working in their behalf, rules be damned we're gettin' people back to work, ya know?  And the nation responded by re-electing him AND giving him bigger and bigger majorities.

                  Like it or not, Obama is NOT a "rules be damned" person, and we are NOT looking forward to a bigger majority unless something really bold happens between now and election day.

                  FDR got his hand slapped because he stepped in and took over and you know, maybe that is what was needed back then - nothing was regulated, we didn't have the right to unionize, no minimum wage, no social security - we were getting the royal screw.

                  Perhaps we don't need a president who will come in and take over "rules be damned" but a lot of thoughtful and supportive fellow Kossacks feel Obama could be a hell of a lot more bold.

                  "Balance" does not mean giving the same weight to a lie as you do to the truth.

                  by delphine on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 02:20:27 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The job hirings discussed were all NRA (0+ / 0-)

                    While the book itself is about the WPA, the 4 million jobs were created under the auspices of the National Recovery Administration.

                    The WPA was a marvelous creation, and the largest employer ain the country at the time, but was not created until 1936. This diary talks about a period from 1933-34.

                    If Obama wants to argue for a second WPA, that would be a boon to both our unemployed and our infrastructure. It would certainly help with the employment of those fit enough to do construction work, especially the young. I would be delighted to see him do that.

                    However, he cannot imitate FDR by starting a second works program through the creation of an Administration alone. FDR couldn't do it after 1935, either - he had to get legislation passed. In 1936, it was popular. Do you think it would carry the same kind of majority in the House and Senate today? (Even in 1936, the WPA ran into big delays in the Senate.)

                    Yes, by 1937, FDR was immensely, even unbelievably, popular with every group except the well-to-do and business owners. But those last two groups had enough clout to hold up lots of his legislation, even WITH the majority of citizens in favor of it.

                    We can't just institute a WPA by fiat these days. Anything that Obama proposes to create employment will be fought tooth and nail by the GOP, because they know how popular job creation is.

                    We are in total agreement about what we want to see - another FDR in the White House, in both speech and proposals. But we cannot get a 1933 jobs-creation program, no matter how popular it may be, until we have Supreme Court justices who will declare it Constitutional.

                    Could another FDR even get through the campaign process today?

                    GOP: Party Before People, Every Time

                    by Louise on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 03:20:15 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Well - it *did* get him elected three more times! (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              delphine, blueoasis, Uberbah, oceanheart

              As I wrote elsewhere, it may be important to distinguish between what was really going on (in terms of labor and money statistics and so on) and the popular perception of that situation.

              FDR was felt to be helping regular people. As much money and media and madness as was directed against him, it was this PERCEPTION that prevailed!

            •  More than you, obviously (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              delphine, oceanheart

              That the Supreme Court struck down provisions of the New Deal does...what to change the fact that they were passed, and that the Democrats gained seats because of it?

              And care to tell us what FDR vowed to do in response to the Supreme Court if necessary?

              I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

              by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 02:06:31 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not like you really want my answers, but.... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Cure7802

                1.) The Supreme Court knocked down the program that created the "4 million jobs in one month." It was under the NRA that these jobs were created.  It is this program that the diary is referencing, even though the book itself is primarily about the WPA.
                The WPA was the legislative program that took up the jobs program after the NRA was declared unconstitutional in 1935.
                Many of the NRA's programs and policies were adopted through legislation in the "Second New Deal." Yes, it is because they were popular, and rightly so.
                But Obama cannot create 4 million jobs in one month, as Roosevelt did, because Roosevelt did it by creating a new administrative body to spend the money. This was adjudged to be a violation of the separation of powers clause. Obama, like FDR after 1935, has to go through Congress to get the legislation passed.

                2.) As discussed elsewhere in this thread, FDR submitted the Judicial Reorganization Act of 1937. Justice Roberts had already decided to vote with the more liberal wing of the Court, on a minimum wage law case, several weeks before the legislation was introduced.
                There is no evidence that FDR's vows, or attempts to make over the judicial system, had any causal relationship. You're too smart to argue the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy here, anyway.

                As I have stated elsewhere here, it would be excellent if Obama would fight for a second stimulus bill that would create employment through public works. All of the WPA projects need updating.

                GOP: Party Before People, Every Time

                by Louise on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 03:04:47 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  funny how you keep ignroing #2 and #3 (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  James Kresnik
                  1. Democrats gained seats after FDR pushed a bold agenda
                  1. That parts of the New Deal were struck down does...what to change the fact that FDR was enormously successful in both Congress and with public opinion by pushing a bold agenda?

                  There is no evidence that FDR's vows, or attempts to make over the judicial system, had any causal relationship.

                  Right, no evidence that threats to reduce the power of the Chief Justice had any effect on said Chief Justice totally flip flopping on his previoulsy held positions.

                  Right.

                  I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

                  by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 05:16:58 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Perhaps we're talking past each other (0+ / 0-)

                    1.) Democrats gained seats after after FDR pushed a bold agenda because these ideas were popular. We both agree.

                    2.) The fact that popular sections of the First New Deal were struck down due to violation of the separation of powers clause does nothing to change the fact that these programs were equally as popular when they were passed as legislation by Congress in the Second New Deal. You and I were always in agreement on that, as well.

                    3.) The historical record (as presented by McKenna in the most completer version now extent) shows that the "flip-flopping" of Justice Roberts on the minimum wage issue took place before the 1937 legislation was introduced.

                    If you believe that Chief Justice Hughes upheld the constitutionality of Social Security and the NLRB in Mar and Apr of '37 because he was scared of the Judiciary Reorganization Bill, then no citations I can make will alter your mind. It purely depends on your opinion of the man's character. Hughes had a lot of connections in the Senate, and was certain that the legislation would never pass (as was later proven to be correct.)So there is a strong reason to believe, as McKenna and Perkins do, that Hughes did not alter his views as a result of the threat from legislation that he knew would not pass. Roosevelt had already tried the bully pulpit in March, and it had backfired on him. Hughes faced no further threats from that quarter, essentially.

                    Certainly by Van Deventer's retirement in June, and Black's swearing in in August, the question of the judicial reorganization was rendered moot.

                    Where is it we disagree? On the issue of the cause of Hughes' reversal? Or whether Obama should sound and act more like FDR?

                    GOP: Party Before People, Every Time

                    by Louise on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 06:55:02 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  So let me get this straight. (0+ / 0-)

                      You essentially propose a President and Congress act less aggressive than what may be required because the Supreme Court may deign to strike it down?

                      That's one way to legislate from the bench. :P

                      •  YES (0+ / 0-)

                        I propose that a President and Congress, who are sworn to protect and defend the Constitution, will not propose action that has been determined to be unconstitutional if they want that action to stand any chance of success.

                        He cannot act by fiat, at FDR did in 1933. He must propose legislation.

                        Are you proposing that a President do otherwise, and act like Bush? Even he went to Congress for authorization to declare war against Iraq.

                        Or do you really want to give the President the power to act unilaterally ("less aggressively than may be required") because he says it's necessary? Do you really want to give the President the powers of a dictator if he argues "it's required?"

                        GOP: Party Before People, Every Time

                        by Louise on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 10:13:18 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

          •  Different political environment (0+ / 0-)

            People were much more deferential to the president back then. Plus we have Blue Dogs more afraid of their shadow than doing the right thing. It is one of the problems with being an "outsider".

            "The lying time will be over." Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

            by never forget 2000 on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:20:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  People were also really scared (3+ / 0-)

              Hoover was a lot scarier because the regulations Bush was trying to undo didn't even exist back then.

              No need to bust unions - we didn't have the right to unionize.  No need to rob social security or create medicare loopholes - there was no such thing.

              No need to de-regulate financial institutions - no regulations.

              No need to oppose raising minimum wage - no minimum wage.  

              All Hoover had to do was . . . nothing . . . and it was going to hell in a handbasket, with the least of us suffering the most.  

              Hell, it sucks horribly now.  I'm scared for my job - are you?  And it's nowhere NEAR as bad as it was when FDR took office.  His inaugural speech was kind of like your dad coming in after you've had a bad dream and telling you he was going to take care of that monster in the closet.  

              My guess is that a lot of folks were more than happy to hand it all over to anyone who demonstrated they were going to do something.  And then he DID something.

              He HAD to be bold (outrageously so) because the country was circling the drain.

              But I guess I'm saying that there's never a bad time for a President to push the majority party's agenda, or to be (outrageously) assertive when it comes to issues like health care, the financial mess, global warming.  Are half steps and compromises really the best we can do right now?  (A real question).

              "Balance" does not mean giving the same weight to a lie as you do to the truth.

              by delphine on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 02:34:25 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ask those jokers in Congress (0+ / 0-)

                Yes we want bold action. Would that the Democrats, grateful for the electoral majorities that Obama brought on his tailcoat had behaved like good little Republicans and fallen in line.Instead we have a bunch of old gray haired Watergate babies and Blue Dogs with a wide yellow streak. The realpolitik is that the political environment now is poison. People are angry at the stimulus because they believe it was full of pork, not realizing that it needed to be bigger and executed quickly. Obama is left with defending a negative--the Depression that didn't happen. Health care must happen--it's disappointing, but I don't know what the solution to Nelson and Lieberman is. I mean what should Obama have done with them? I reject that had he been more aggressive about the public option it would be in the bill: Nelson and Lieberman are in the pocket of the insurance interest and the Girls from Maine aren't going to cross the line again. It would be tragic if for the third time in my lifetime (Kennedy-Nixon, Clinton, and now Obama)that the perfect prevents the possible.

                "The lying time will be over." Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

                by never forget 2000 on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 10:35:35 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Don't forget the pressure of the Left (10+ / 0-)

          which included a growing Socialist/Communist movement that was pressing both FDR (as he noted, exactly the kind of pressure he needed and asked to have applied from his bully pulpit) and the Congress relentlessly to get things done for the people.

          If you think that the Left hammering away didn't affect FDR's and the Congress' programs and votes you've left the key numbers out in your tally sheet, and are being somewhat myopic in your thinking.

          I'm pretty sure there wasn't a strong faction of the public saying "Hey, whatever they feel like giving us, that's what we like."

          Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

          by Jim P on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:49:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Good Diary. Historical Perspective Always Needed. (23+ / 0-)

      Tipped and rec'd.

      Welcome to the All-New Daily Kos, Now Civility Free!

      by kefauver on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:44:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Estes Kefauver? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kefauver, Brooke In Seattle

        From what little I know of him, Senator Kefauver was very interesting.

        A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

        by NBBooks on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:41:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Historical perspective is missing (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kefauver, blueoasis, keikekaze, oceanheart

        in so many areas of public policy and business these days.  Had younger generations (younger than I, anyway) paid more attention to building on past successes we wouldn't be facing problems from ignoring past failures.

        We need to seriously revamp what's being taught today in business schools, journalism, law and political science.  Wholesale rejection of history and core ethics and values hasn't served our country very well.

        I'm from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party...

        by Betty Pinson on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:09:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But this is not good history (5+ / 0-)

          If by "history", you mean the complete story. Tell the readers what happened AFTER the election of 1934.

          The NRA was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1935, and disbanded soon thereafter. (Luckily some of it labor provisions were enacted in the Wagner Act of 1935.) Between it and the Schecter Poultry Case, the Supreme Court succeeded in stamping out most of its populist flame.

          FDR then fought the "Nine Old Men" of the Supreme Court themselves. He expanding the membership so he could change the numbers. He was soundly attacked for attempting to "pack the Court." Even his New Deal allies - including the Class of '34 - abandoned him.

          It's no accident that the 1934 election was the last time that the Dems ran on populism and won. It's the last time that Presidential and legislative populist movements even got a chance to be attempted in this country.
          By all means, try a big jobs program. Just don't fool yourself into thinking that an NRA-type program is the way to do it. Those days were ended over 70 years ago. Would today's Supreme Court support such a program if organized Big Business brought such a program before it today?

          GOP: Party Before People, Every Time

          by Louise on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:52:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Good points (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blueoasis

            They may not be able to implement an NRA-type program exactly, but surely they can find a way to create one that can get similar results.  

            We can adapt the positive lessons of the past to current circumstances.

            I'm from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party...

            by Betty Pinson on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 11:15:44 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Even FDR couldn't get the same Deal after 35 (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              durrati

              He got some of his administrative programs accomplished legislatively, but none of them were as sweeping as the NRA. That was really the high-water mark of Presidential involvement in managing the economy. Everything since then has to be brought up in front of, and cat-herded, through Congress.

              Social Security and Fair Labor Practices, but none of the employment programs like WPA, survived the start of World War II.

              The National Recovery Administration has been a shimmering mirage for Progressives ever since 1935. If only the Presidnet could use his powers for good!

              Instead, what Presidents learned from FDR is that the President can do whatever he wants only during wartime. It's a lesson that Cheney learned all too well.

              GOP: Party Before People, Every Time

              by Louise on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 11:27:56 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, we're in a war now (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                chuckvw, blueoasis

                two of them to be exact, three if you count the "war on terrorism".  

                NRA was a temporary program anyway, used to stimulate the economy and create jobs.  We have plenty of justification to re-create a similar program, even if its restricted by SCOTUS.

                Cash for Clunkers is a good example of a newer program that was able to put money quickly into direct economic stimulus.  Perhaps we can modify the concept for job stimulus.

                I'm from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party...

                by Betty Pinson on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 11:36:25 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  NRA wasn't designed to be temporary (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Betty Pinson

                  It was meant to be an administrative agency that lasted as long if not longer than the Depression. When it was abolished, the Democrats were furious because it was both popular and still needed.

                  The WPA, which was the legislative version of the NRA employment program, continue up to the beginning of WWII. It was not seen as temporary, either, except by the Republicans who were itching to abolish it. It made the Democrats too popular!

                  A second stimulus bill which focuses on job would be a great boon, but will have a very difficult time getting passed in Congress now. The GOP remembers too well how popular Democrats are when they put people to work. They will fight to make sure such a program never gets a vote. We have a lot more work to do to shore up our weak-kneed Dems before getting a bill like that passed, no matter how great an idea it is.

                  GOP: Party Before People, Every Time

                  by Louise on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:19:19 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  what do you know of good history? (4+ / 0-)

            FDR then fought the "Nine Old Men" of the Supreme Court themselves. He expanding the membership so he could change the numbers. He was soundly attacked for attempting to "pack the Court." Even his New Deal allies - including the Class of '34 - abandoned him.

            The part that you conveniently leave out is the fact that FDR won that battle.  He didn't appoint more justices to the Supreme Court because of a backlash, he didn't appoint more because he didn't need to - the court grew more moderate and stopped striking down New Deal programs.

            I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

            by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 02:09:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I think it's worth noting though (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      askew, Diogenes2008, divineorder

      that this took a lot of time and FDR's most celebrated accomplishments were years in the making.

      Even his 4 million jobs took 3 years to come about.

      •  No, FDR and Hopkins put 4 million people (19+ / 0-)

        directly on the federal payroll in about six weeks (counting from the actual signing of the legislation). Counting from when Hopkins picked up the idea from Ban and Brownlow in Chicago, it took about four months.

        A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

        by NBBooks on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:22:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  and it was the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Escamillo

          culmination of three years of work.

          But please keep trying to gloss over that.

          •  It's hard to argue (0+ / 0-)

            with FDR being more decisive than the present Obama administration. But I chalk this up to structural differences rather than FDR vs Obama's leadership styles.

            1-- The country was a lot more desperate in 1933 than today. GDP was down 50%, as opposed to 3%. Unemployment was at 25%, as opposed to 10%.

            2-- FDR had a lot more support. All the bad stuff was blamed solely on Hoover. Hoover and the GOP were totally discredited-- more importantly, their ideology of tight money and government non-interventionism was totally discredited. In contrast, Obama came in when the sickening slide was just getting started, and he doesn't get much credit for slowing it. Conservatives are still energized. As a result, FDR had Congress on his lap and could pass the 100 days legislation, whereas Obama just rely on 1-vote margins in the Senate.

            3-- Government was a lot simpler, therefore more decisive. If you wanted something done, there wasn't as many impact statements, bureaucracy, regulation... that is the main reason why China's government is more effective than ours, and yes I will admit that. Here it takes years to get any project off the ground. Spending stimulus money on infrastructure would be pointless because by the time the project actually got started, the recession would be long over. The complaint about regulation is always that it hampers private business, but it also hampers government.

            All of these things were related. #1 led directly to #2 which led directly to #3.

            So are we unfortunate compared to our grandfathers? Not exactly. The 1930s were still a horrible decade, even worse than the current one, by a good margin. Obama's effectiveness and popularity may crash and burn, but if we avoid a Depression, then we're still better off than we were in FDR's day.

            On the other hand, if we do have a double dip that leads to a Depression, I think you're eventually going to see the rise of big government conservatism. It's hard to imagine today with the tea party and everything, but the GOP would get back into power, and once they were in power, they would find that the only way to be effective is to use government and try to do what FDR did. The result? Big government conservatism, which is scary for many reasons.

    •  HAVE YOU FORWARDED THIS TO THE WHITE HOUSE? (11+ / 0-)

      And i do not mean to Rahm Emanuel's inbox!

      "America is ruled by the moral philosophy of the dollar."

      by runningdoglackey on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:27:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  FDR would not have tolerated anyone like Geithner (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gmb, SocioSam, blueoregon, revgerry, condorcet

      or Summers.

      It's not like he had a railroad tycoon Republican as Treasurer his freshman year. Oh wait, he did?

      Well then, it's not like he had a Secretary of State who would negotiate trade agreements to reduce tariffs and increase imports (as part of a comprehensive foreign policy strategy which included development of trade policy that would lay the groundwork for the World Trade Organization). Oh wait, he did?

      Well then there's no way he had a commerce secretary who came from a prominent Confederate family and served as a tool for Goldman Sachs Exec Sidney "Mr. Wall Street" Weinberg to set up a Business Advisory Council that would give CEO's direct access to the President. Oh wait, he did?

      •  no, he wouldn't have (7+ / 0-)

        Any more Concerns, Alfonso?

        I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

        by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:19:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry, I don't have any youtube from the 30's (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WIds

          but I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall of one of Roper's and Weinberg's BAC meetings.

          This line of criticism is horseshit. FDR had slimy advisers too. There must be some reason why every single President, even the romanticized mythical legends of eras past, has had scumbags from wall street and industry in their cabinets, and that reason probably has to do with the power limitations of the POTUS.

          Any more historical revision Uberbah?

          •  my, what marvelous Concerns you have, my dear (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            keikekaze, James Kresnik

            It's not enough to say that the Treasury secretary was a railroad baron - what did he do?  You've put forth not facts or analysis deeper than a label.

            And at the end of the day, it's about the results, stupid.  FDR got them.  Obama...not so much.

            I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

            by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 02:13:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I did put the "do" on Hull and Roper (0+ / 0-)

              who had consolidated the power of trade agreements with the Executive and gave captains of industry direct access to the President, respectively. You picked out the one for which there was no "do", an omission on my part due to the impression that his single year as Treasurer was unremarkable (though I'd be happy to learn otherwise).

              The reference to results is telling indeed. If Obama were delivering the results (and by results, with only 1 year in, that would mean legislation stamped and approved by people like you, regardless of what the eventual consequences wind up being) then you wouldn't be Concerning yourself with who his advisers are.

              In any event, if you insist on claiming that the measure of a President is results, without any context whatsoever, then I suppose you're correct, Obama cannot compete with FDR. However, I think you know how intellectually dishonest that reasoning is, which is why you've been reduced to petty insults.

              •  Why not just use the random complaint generator? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                James Kresnik

                It would save you time and have just as much substance.

                I did put the "do" on Hull and Roper

                No, you didn't.

                who had consolidated the power of trade agreements with the Executive and gave captains of industry direct access to the President, respectively.

                .....annnnd?  What was the result at the end of the day?  Where was the 1930's equivalent of Haliburton or Abramoff?  Where was the graft, where was the corruption?

                If Obama were delivering the results (and by results, with only 1 year in, that would mean legislation stamped and approved by people like you, regardless of what the eventual consequences wind up being)

                What do you mean, "regardless of the consequences"?  As has been proven over and over again, progressive policy is good policy.

                However, I think you know how intellectually dishonest that reasoning is, which is why you've been reduced to petty insults.

                ...whines Captain Condescending Man after making a post free of any substance other than "but-but this guy worked for a railroad!"

                I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

                by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 05:28:25 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Not the whole story, sorry... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      askew, condorcet, Diogenes2008, Escamillo

      My Dad and his brothers were CCCers, and glad to be, they were literally starving to death here in SW Mo. in '33.

      But most of the four million "jobs" he and Hopkins (and I am a great admirer of both men) conjured were not "jobs" as we'd understand them today. I believe these "jobs" paid ten dollars a month, five of which was to be sent back home. Ruinous deflation had by that time made any money at all valuable of course, my Dad would say "there wasn't enough hard money in the county to pay the mortgage on one farm."

      So of course the people loved FDR for his efforts. But Barack and the Dems have done a lot for the unemployed already extending our benefits now 3 times.

      Whether he can spend 7 trillion dollars on infrastructure is a question for economists, not I, but I think even Krugman would say under the circumstances that would be problematic.

      And, on most of his legislation, FDR could count on a third of the Republican vote in the Senate....

      Until he tried to pack the SCOTUS, which was the main impediment to the New Deal, anyway....

      "Fascism is attracting the dregs of humanity- people with a slovenly biography - sadists, mental freaks, traitors." - ILYA EHRENBURG

      by durrati on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:51:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank You (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Diogenes2008, Escamillo, durrati

        Times have changed.

         FDR was a saint of sorts, but for those who lived through it there was plenty of hell. Many of the liberals are the time were screaming, 'but what about me'.

        The libertarian movement, was born in response to the New Deal. Barry Goldwater was their darling until he lost.

        You still find those who despise FDR with a passion. They thought he was a communist.

        Also remember at the time folks actually LOST all of their savings. There was no FDIC, so people were really pissed. Some were starving. There was no unemployment insurance. The times were much different.

      •  benefits != jobs (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        James Kresnik, Words In Action

        It's curious that you've spent so much time denigrating the CCC, given how much your family benefited from it.  That these jobs didn't pay very much did...what to change the fact that the CCC put people back to work and money in their pockets?

        I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

        by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 02:15:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If you could read (0+ / 0-)

          you would understand that I did not denigrate the Corps, I just pointed out that a camp job that paid in bacon and beans, while extremely desirable at the time, starvation being the alternative, hardly qualifies as a "job" by today's standard. You could not buy a car or a home or support a family on what was paid. But, in my Dad's case it got him out of the Ozarks and into the mountains of Idaho...a benefit to him that he found priceless.

          And the CCC did valuable work, firebreaks and campgrounds, rec halls, and fire-roads were built...and a billion trees were planted. But Dad didn't learn a trade until the war started.

          Like so many others have said here it was a different time and place.

          The diary compares apples to oranges.

          "Fascism is attracting the dregs of humanity- people with a slovenly biography - sadists, mental freaks, traitors." - ILYA EHRENBURG

          by durrati on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 02:46:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If you could think, you'd realize... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            James Kresnik

            you would understand that I did not denigrate the Corps

            ...that making lots of negative comments is what is known as "denigrating".

            The diary compares apples to oranges.

            No, it doesn't.  That the CCC paid little in wages does nothing to change the fact that it gave millions of people a job, put money into the hands of worker's families and a meal in their bellies.  Why don't you try going to your nearest tent city and ask how many people would be willing to do such jobs, vs having no job and no money aside from food stamps.

            I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

            by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 05:33:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  if you could read (0+ / 0-)

              you would re-read what I wrote and realize that I made no "negative comments" about either Roosevelt, Hopkins or the Corps. I admire all three.

              Straw man.

              as for this:

              Why don't you try going to your nearest tent city and ask how many people would be willing to do such jobs, vs having no job and no money aside from food stamps.

              This is not the subject of the diary. 4,000,000 jobs were. We certainly need to do more for the homeless, but they are not the focus of this piece. And I assure you, there were many in the thirties whom Roosevelt could not reach. You are like a depression in a parking lot, yards wide and a quarter inch deep.

              "Fascism is attracting the dregs of humanity- people with a slovenly biography - sadists, mental freaks, traitors." - ILYA EHRENBURG

              by durrati on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 06:06:08 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Thirty dollars a month -- one dollar a day (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Uberbah, James Kresnik, durrati

        and all but five had to be sent back home.

        Two of my uncles were CCC'ers, and two others were WPA workers, who got paid in a different way.

        The money from the CCC helped my tenant farmer grandfather feed the six other kids, including my mother, still at home.

        "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

        by Brooke In Seattle on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 05:24:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  yeah, Brooke, you are likely (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brooke In Seattle

          right, my ISP was givin' me trouble earlier and I couldn't look up the figures. I wasn't saying that Hopkins and FDR didn't do good work back then...they were a Godsend to many. But you could not do the same thing today. Send people into camps in the woods with shovels.....

          "Fascism is attracting the dregs of humanity- people with a slovenly biography - sadists, mental freaks, traitors." - ILYA EHRENBURG

          by durrati on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 06:24:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  love your sig btw n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musicalhair

      "be a loyal plastic robot boy in a world that doesn't care" - Frank Zappa

      by Unbozo on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:55:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  FDR created low tech, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      condorcet

      low skill jobs.  Very easy to start up quickly.

      I doubt a jobs program started today would see more than a handful of jobs created by election day.

      "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

      by Skeptical Bastard on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 11:54:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "A REPUBLICAN is a scab for oligarchy." (3+ / 0-)

      CONSERVATISM is a myth. It's a ruse to legitimize profligate corporate greed & corruption. It has never delivered a single piece of legislation. It has bankrupted the U.S. treasury.

      They only call it class war when we fight back!

      by ezdidit on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:32:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  AND....he did it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Kresnik

      in a wheelchair.

      That was before the American's With Disabilities Act.  

      Say what you will about the Ten Commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them. H. L. Mencken

      by Keith930 on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 06:29:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think today's jobs numbers help (5+ / 0-)

      Shows we are not out of the woods yet, and more should be done. I saw one report suggesting another $150 Billion job stimulus plan. Use this to build infrastructure would be great.

      Many (both Dems and repubs) will say- but, but..the deficit. However, with mid-terms in Nov, it will looks good to pass a jobs bill this Spring. Have the repubs run against creating more jobs (even if it does involve gov't spending- as it should).

      I still have faith and patience in Obama. I think he (and Reid and Pelosi) will pull off this jobs bill once HCR is done.

      •  They're running out of time and resources (13+ / 0-)

        We can only run up so much debt for wars and ineffective stimulus before there's no room left for real stimulus.

        I'm from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party...

        by Betty Pinson on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:03:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  How do you distinguish (0+ / 0-)

          Between effective and ineffective stimulus?

          Just askin'?

        •  Running out of time, not resources (7+ / 0-)

          While it's true that we can 'only run up so much debt', the best analyses say that we could multiply the current debt by at least a factor of 10 before we actually hit the hard limit and everyone loses faith in the currency.

          We'd see a massive collapse in the ability of the dollar to buy foreign goods well before that, but that would boost exports and help the economy.

          But the Obama administration is definitely running out of time.  People's patience is short and will not stay with them if they continue to Do The Wrong Thing.

          -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

          by neroden on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:13:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The governement can never run out of money, (5+ / 0-)

          Because the power to create money is a sovereign power of the government. Unfortunately, that power has been abrogated by the Too Big To Fail banksters.

          Here is an excellent series of articles on these concepts: Myths, Scares, Lies, and Deadly Innocent Frauds: Part One

          Mosler identifies seven difs, all of which are related to the basic idea of fiat money or "soft currency." The first of these is the idea that in order to spend money, the Government must first raise it through taxation, or borrow it. This is based on the idea that money is either a material thing or backed by a material thing having intrinsic value, which the Government possesses in limited quantities and may run short of. However, fiat money is not like this. Put simply the Government declares it into existence, in whatever quantity it likes. It can print it. It can credit some entity’s account with as much of it as it likes, and it can withdraw it from circulation by taxing, charging fees, or confiscating it according to law. From the Government’s point of view, the money it causes to exist is legal tender and all entities under its authority must accept it as legal tender in return for all goods and services and as repayment for debts incurred. The status of money as legal tender is backed by the Government’s authority and ultimately by its legal monopoly of the instruments of physical coercion within the borders of the State.

          Since the Government has an unlimited authority to create its own currency, it is obviously false to say that it is or must be constrained in its spending by its ability either to tax or to borrow. It can impose such constraints on itself if it wants to, of course. And, as it happens the United States foolishly does that, as do other nations, laboring under old conceptions of the nature of money, appropriate for a commodity rather than a fiat monetary system. Nevertheless, the belief that the Government is so constrained is the first of Mosler’s 7 deadly innocent frauds, because the truth is that "Government Spending is NOT operationally limited or in any way constrained by taxing or borrowing."

          A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

          by NBBooks on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:28:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The real danger to watch out for inflation or (10+ / 0-)

            hyper-inflation, when too much money is created relative to the actual amount of goods and services produced. That's why it’s far better to have new money created, by having the government of the United States simply crediting, out of thin air, the bank accounts of construction companies building new bridges and rail transit systems, rather than having JP Morgan Chase or Goldman Sachs create a few billion in "new money" as margin on credit default swaps, or oil futures contracts.

            Which of course bring us to the question mndan asks above: what is effective and ineffective stimulus?

            I'm not at all confident, given the now proven stupidity  of the economic system of beliefs held by U.S. elites, that we'll get people running things that can tell the difference between stimulus that creates real economic growth, and stimulus that merely helps the cancer of finance continue to thrive. U.S. elites are going to have to be replaced.

            A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

            by NBBooks on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:34:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Obama must do better for sure or else he's (0+ / 0-)

      Toast in 2012. If this job numbers don't start turning around this year I fear people will just tune him out all together and say see you in 2012 at the ballot box.

    •  Another words (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Kresnik

      Obama needs to implement programs to create 12 million jobs, to equal the efforts of FDR in creating 4 million.

      BTW, the US population is three times what it was in 1930, so we need three times the amount of job creation. 150,000 jobs need to be created each month just to keep up with demographics, and keep the employment rate static.

      "Big Darkness, soon come"-Hunter S. Thompson

      by NoMoreLies on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 06:20:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I just watched a show on the local PBS (19+ / 0-)

    channel. They did a story on the construction of hwy 100 in Minneapolis by the WPA. They had a 1000 guys working with shovels to move dirt. They constructed the first cloverleaf in Minnesota. They even provided buses to haul the workers to the site.

  •  Bring back the Federal Theater Project (26+ / 0-)

    create a Southwest Solar Authority.  A Great Lakes Wind Authority.  A Mountain Wind Authority.

    Build more transit.  Adequately fund transit.  Build livable communities around transit.

    Develop High Speed Rail.

    Repair our CSO's.  Build a water treatment plant at the bottom of the Mississippi River to improve the water quality in the Gulf of Mexico (hint: use Zebra Mussels...it worked for Lake Erie).

    Rebuild Detroit.

    We can do it!

  •  Same here... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    american pastoral

    ...but my library doesn't carry a copy. :-(

    "Ridicule may lawfully be employed where reason has no hope of success."

    by QuestionAuthority on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 07:34:54 AM PST

  •  Great diary. (15+ / 0-)

    Great things can be done if we have the will to act.

    "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead

    by TomP on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 07:36:01 AM PST

  •  Dirt bag commie! (6+ / 0-)

    Get with the new hipster Neo-liberalism!

    the intelligence community is no longer geared towards telling the president what they think the president wants to hear

    by Salo on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 07:39:57 AM PST

  •  progressives have existed in America.. (12+ / 0-)

    your diary is proof!

    "War is the health of the state." Randolph Bourne "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."Samuel Johnson

    by american pastoral on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 07:41:59 AM PST

  •  the fear of (17+ / 0-)

    the government borrowing more money is causing "progressives" to sound like libertarians.

    The economy is a man-made thing; we can do with it what we choose.  We can spend the money on wars of choice and propping up health insurance profits.  Or we can create jobs and sustainable wealth for working people.

    What's it gonna be, Democrats?

    "Never trust a rich man when he offers you a truce."

    by KibbutzAmiad on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 07:45:04 AM PST

  •  and might I add (25+ / 0-)

    In American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA: When FDR Put the Nation to Work. author Nick Taylor describes how Harry Hopkins, director of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Civil Works Administration (CWA), put over four million American to work in the winter of 1933-34

    Here's a bit of history for you: 1934 was the last midterm congressional election when the Democrats gained seats in Congress with a Democrat in the White House.

    Obama, please put down the history on Lincoln and read a bit about FDR if you want a roadmap to help out Pelosi and Reid this year.

    I want to join this political party - where is it?

    by h bridges on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 07:49:12 AM PST

  •  Excellent work NBBooks! Tipped and Rec'ed (5+ / 0-)
  •  FDR also had (17+ / 0-)

    This kind of Senate in the 1933-34

    73rd Congress
         
                   Dem Rep Labor
    1933-03-04 59 36 1
    1933-03-11 59    35   1
    1933-05-24 60 35 1
    1933-06-24 59 35 1
    1933-10-06 59 34 1
    1933-10-19 59 35 1
    1933-11-03 58 35 1
    1933-11-06 59 35 1
    1934-01-01 60 35 1
    1934-11-07      60      35      1
    Voting share 63% 36% 1%

    And this kind of Senate in the 35-37

    74th Congress
    Democrats 69
    Republicans 25
    Farmer-Labor 1
    Progressive 1
    Total 96

    And this kind of Senate in the 37-39

    75th Congress

       * Democratic (D): 76 (majority)
       * Republican (R): 17
       * Farmer-Labor (FL): 2
       * Progressive (P): 1

    TOTAL members: 96

    All data from Wikipedia.

    Gee.  I wonder if President Obama could get more progressive legislation through Congress if he had those kinds of massive majorities in the Senate.

    If the demand is fulfill ideals to the letter now or stop having them, we divide the limits of reality & vision for tomorrow. Then politics becomes cynicism

    by pvlb on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 07:56:26 AM PST

    •  But you're proving the diarist's point in a way (24+ / 0-)

      The Congresses got progressively more in FDR's favor because of the good things he did, not the other way 'round.

      Obama will have a smaller majority to work with because the top accomplishments list includes escalating Afghanistan and bailing out bankers, and because healthcare reform is going to force people to give money to insurance corporations.

      •  True.... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        askew, Sychotic1, condorcet, pvlb

        but the biggest difference is that Hoover presided over the crash for 4 years and did nothing as things got worse and worse. By the time FDR took office the "Invisible hand of the market" had been completely discredited and there was a viable socialist movement in the country. This time the voters reacted out of gut instinct to the coming disaster and the powers that be prevented a total collapse, leaving Obama holding a slowly deflating balloon instead. Very, very different situation, mandate, and times.

        Not to mention that because of various 401 "retirement" rip offs a much greater number of the population had an actual stake in the stock market than in '29. What was Obama supposed to say to all those folks who recently entered retirement; "Sorry you got fooled but Wall Street is evil, so we are going to let it go down in flames"?

        •  Yes, that's what SOMEONE is going to have to do (12+ / 0-)

          Here was my suggestion for a speech back in February of last year:

          My fellow Americans,

          We have reached a historic and dangerous juncture, where the operations and interests of our financial and banking system no longer serve the greater interests of our nation.  What we once thought was the great blessing of financial innovation, we now see has led us down a false path to national ruin, individual misery, and increased indebtedness for all.

          Banks are supposed to act as intermediaries between people who have saved and wish to invest, and those who need credit. They are expected to evaluate if a borrower is a good credit risk, and are supposed to be the mechanism by which money and credit is allocated and used in our economy. But we have found to our dismay that financial innovation has actually distorted and even destroyed the incentives for banks to play the role they should. Banks have been seeking the highest returns, but have failed to properly assess and manage the associated risk.

          As a result, the financial and banking system has been failing to perform the task of allocating money to the entrepreneurs and businesses that use it best.  Manufacturing and research and development have been slowly but systematically starved for funding over a period of many years, and the result is that with few exceptions, such as aerospace, all types of U.S. industry have lost their lead as world leaders in innovation, productivity, and efficiency. A January 2008 study of worldwide technological competitiveness by the Georgia Institute of Technology showed that China will soon pass the United States in the critical ability to develop basic science and technology, and turn those developments into marketable products and services.

          In short, the banking and financial system was not creating value for the economy, but was destroying it. We are now seeing just how much value has been destroyed.

          In a free market economy, one of the most essential functions of the government is the full and fair enforcement of contracts. But it has long been a principle of our legal system that a contract based in whole or in part on fraud or coercion is not a valid contract, and that the government should not enforce it. Indeed, the enforcement of fraudulent contracts can cause much more damage than the original fraudulent contracts, because it destroys the trust and reputation of an entire national economy.

          Accordingly, I have ordered that all trading and activity in credit default swaps be frozen immediately. These financial instruments are the broken link in the chain of complex financial instruments that now threaten our economy. . . .

          A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

          by NBBooks on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:47:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  There wasn't a visible socialist movement because (11+ / 0-)

          of Hoover... there had been one going back to the 1890s.

          The labor unions were manifold, radical, and violent and those had been extant for 60s years (1870s). Think the AFL-CIO and the SEIU can compete the way unions did then?

          There were communists, anarchist bomb-throwers, and left populists like Huey Long, who truly presented a political threat to Washington.

          It was not the one thing, and it was not a simple reaction to Hoover. This country was splitting apart, and working people didn't cling to their Saturns and their white-collar jobs and mortgages. They knew they were the grunts of the economic empire, and they fought back.

          (-7.00, -6.21) Jobs, Liberty, Peace.

          by Nulwee on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:57:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  May 1 is observed (14+ / 0-)

            as "Labor Day" in most of the world, because of the Haymarket events (not just the riot) in Chicago in 1886.  The demonstrations were mostly organized by immigrant (a lot of German) anarchists and socialists.  We have those folks to thank for the 8 hour 5 day work week.

            If the demand is fulfill ideals to the letter now or stop having them, we divide the limits of reality & vision for tomorrow. Then politics becomes cynicism

            by pvlb on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:08:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I diaried the Haymarket riots (6+ / 0-)

              and the 1870s Depression here:

              http://www.dailykos.com/...

              the end of the diary:

              Outspent 5-1, Bryan lost to McKinley (the dude who got shot which catapulted Teddy Roosevelt to the presidency) and his subsequent runs in 1900 and 1908 were failures. But Bryan changed the demographics of the Democratic Party, setting the stage for Wilson and FDR and Truman.

              Depressions have happened plenty of times in the last five centuries, and spread their misery for quite some time if unchecked. Some businesses did survive, like Standard Oil of New Jersey, which later turned John D Rockefeller into the arguably richest man in history. But the new monopolies and trusts were not matched with rights or decent wages for workers, of which most Americans were, until unions and new political coalitions fought for and paid for them dearly.

              (-7.00, -6.21) Jobs, Liberty, Peace.

              by Nulwee on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:31:13 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Right... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            condorcet

            because they didn't have Saturns, white-collar jobs, or 401k's.

            •  Uh... (6+ / 0-)

              nonetheless there was a giant automobile boom in the 1920s along with plenty of consumer goods. The growth of the radio easily shares many parallels with the internet or tv, and there were radio dramas, science
              fiction, and politics whackos like Father Coughlin.

              The public didn't have Octomom, but they had Bonnie and Clyde and John Dillinger and Al Capone. The rather boring movie Chicago shines a light on the early 20th century fascination with scandals, violent crime and irrelevant crap.

              There were plenty of distractions in the 1920s and 30s.

              (-7.00, -6.21) Jobs, Liberty, Peace.

              by Nulwee on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:16:50 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  It was even earlier than the 1920s (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Nulwee

                people were fascinated with scandal, murder and mayhem, and bizarre crap. Read "Wisconsin Death Trip"- about rural Wisconsin during the Gilded Age...just as bizarre, if not more so than Octomom.

                "Big Darkness, soon come"-Hunter S. Thompson

                by NoMoreLies on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 06:37:43 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  We could sure use some of that (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            neroden, Nulwee, Marja E

            verve and chutzpah today.

            The difference between France and what the French workers did back in the Spring of '09 and how things would be handled here if the supremacy of the ruling class were challenged, is that if workers here kidnapped executives as a form of protest, swat teams would be sent in to massacre them.

            Something we are stuck with having to keep in mind when trying to confront the strangle hold of the oligarch.

        •  And it hasn't been discredited again (4+ / 0-)

          with the greatest financial downturn since the great depression?

          By the time FDR took office the "Invisible hand of the market" had been completely discredited

          You are literally making the case the diarist is making while trying to refute the diarist?

          I am not against all health care reform, I am just against dumb health care reform!

          by justmy2 on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:45:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Here is an article (5+ / 0-)

          warning of Obama following in Hoover's footsteps, not FDR.

          Really worth reading!

          http://www.harpers.org/...

          ...when he was elected president in 1928, Herbert Hoover was widely considered the most capable public figure in the country. Hoover—like Obama—was almost certainly someone gifted with more intelligence, a better education, and a greater range of life experience than FDR. And Hoover, through the first three years of the Depression, was also the man who comprehended better than anyone else what was happening and what needed to be done. And yet he failed.

          The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it.

          by ohmyheck on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:54:01 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  not really (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis

          Very, very different situation, mandate, and times.

          Wall Street blew up the economy, again, and we have an enormous unemployment rate, again.  Obama certainly had a mandate to push for hard financial reform and a new New Deal, he just didn't have the will.

          I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

          by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:40:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  oops.... (0+ / 0-)

        self evident, yet used to promote the opposite...amazing...

        I am not against all health care reform, I am just against dumb health care reform!

        by justmy2 on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:43:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Notice that in 1933-34 (22+ / 0-)

      The Dems had far short of the votes needed for cloture - at the time, 67.

      Pointing to the Senate is no excuse for Obama's failure to act. If the Senate had blocked a similar proposal, that'd be one thing, but Obama hasn't even gone to them to ask for it.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

      by eugene on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:04:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If Obama REALLY Fought For Us... (17+ / 0-)

        and some of his legislation was shot down, all he'd have to do this year is point at the turncoats and they'd be taken out by the American people.

        But since Obama is busy making backroom deals at our expense, those enthusiastic weeping-for-joy throngs have disappeared.

        ~Ruff

      •  A superficial and (13+ / 0-)

        facile argument, because it assumes EVERYTHING else is equal.

        I've been meaning to follow up on my post from the other day about the inherently undemocratic nature of the Senate with a comparison of the situations faced by Obama and FDR. And now, lo and behold, along comes a piece in today's NY times by Joe Nocera, about Obama's new proposals on financial regulation, to spur me to action.

        Nocera writes:

           On Wednesday, President Obama unveiled what he described as "a sweeping overhaul of the financial regulatory system, a transformation on a scale not seen since the reforms that followed the Great Depression."
           In terms of the sheer number of proposals, outlined in an 88-page document the administration released on Tuesday, that is undoubtedly true. But in terms of the scope and breadth of the Obama plan — and more important, in terms of its overall effect on Wall Street's modus operandi — it's not even close to what Roosevelt accomplished during the Great Depression.
           Rather, the Obama plan is little more than an attempt to stick some new regulatory fingers into a very leaky financial dam rather than rebuild the dam itself. Without question, the latter would be more difficult, more contentious and probably more expensive. But it would also have more lasting value.

        I do not doubt him. Like any lib I'd like to see Obama be less cautious about these things.

        But there are some differences betweeen Roosevelt's time and ours that we need to keep in mind. FDR was dealing in his first two years, when he passed a boatload of reform legislation including the Glass-Steagall banking reform act, with the 73rd Congress.

        It looked like this. The Senate was divided roughly 60-36 Democrats ("roughly" because there were deaths or retirements that altered the count here and there), and in the House the Democrats had a whopping 311-117 advantage when Roosevelt took office in March 1933. Today, the Senate is 59-40 Democrats (pending the Franken seating) and the House is 256-178 Democratic.

        So FDR had bigger numerical advantages -- he could afford to lose about 90 Democratic votes in the House on any given measure and he'd still win. But that isn't the full story. The real story, again, is in the Senate.

        Why? Because in those days, party leaders did not routinely threaten to filibuster legislation. This is the cloture business I write of from time to time, under which legislation needs 60 votes to get to the Senate floor, where it can then pass with a simple majority of 51.

        That rule existed in those days -- in fact, it was on paper more onerous, as the cloture level then was 64, not 60 -- but the important point is that it was almost never used. Senators simply didn't threaten to filibuster except on very rare occasions over something they really hated (civil rights). By one expert's count, only 23 "cloture motions" were filed in the entire 19th century. By contrast, during the 110th Congress (2007-2009), Senate Republicans set a record, filing 142 cloture motions -- in two years.

        I can't find statistics for the 73rd Congress, but I've read my share of scholarly writing on Senate history, and the point is that cloture motions were very rarely filed, meaning that filibusters were very rarely threatened. Today, they file them while going to the bathroom. The filibuster, once a rarely invoked threat, is now a weekly and daily weapon of political combat.

        I don't expect your average American to know this or care about it, but the difference it makes to a president and his agenda is enormous. If Roosevelt had had to plan every piece of legislation having to worry about getting 64 votes instead of 49 (there were 96 senators at the time), you can be sure that those pieces of legislation would have looked very different. Those extra 15 senators would have been awfully hard to corral -- they'd all have had demands and conditions and all the rest. There' seems no doubt the legislation would have been more cautious and centrist.

        Then throw in the 24-7 news cycle, in which every little burp and pothole is dissected endlessly on cable and in blogs. FDR was able to do lots of things in private that just would never remain private today.

        If the demand is fulfill ideals to the letter now or stop having them, we divide the limits of reality & vision for tomorrow. Then politics becomes cynicism

        by pvlb on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:22:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And there are a couple (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Limelite

          of additional points about FDR and his era:

          in the 30-40s, there did not exist an anti-intellectual bias in this country, which made being smart and well educated a political liability.  Now, we get Sarah Palin and that ilk as 'viable candidates' for the first and second jobs in the land.  FDR was admired for his intelligence and education.

          And there is the minor detail that FDR did not govern while being brown.

          If the demand is fulfill ideals to the letter now or stop having them, we divide the limits of reality & vision for tomorrow. Then politics becomes cynicism

          by pvlb on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:43:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yep, *the problem is the Senate*, but FDR (5+ / 0-)

          was smarter than you are admitting, for another reason.

          In FDR's time, the problem was the Supreme Court.  Remember how FDR dealt with that?  The court-packing proposal? Right.

          Where is Obama's speech inveighing against the undemocratic Senate, demanding the abolition of the filibuster now, and threatening to call for an Constitutional-amendment-proposing convention if the Senate doesn't shape up?  (He could do it.  The state legislatures would pick up on that call.)

          -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

          by neroden on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:02:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The greater context (0+ / 0-)

            in the 1930s, though, was that packing the Supreme Court would have been the much less radical option for the country, compared to waiting until Huey Long got elected President, or until an outright revolution took place.

            Without the huge social movements threatening the entire political/economic system from the outside, Capital would never have agreed, reluctantly, to the New Deal.

            "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

            by Pesto on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:48:08 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  weak excuses for weakness (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis, newpioneer

          Why? Because in those days, party leaders did not routinely threaten to filibuster legislation.

          So where is Obama threatening to end the filibuster, the way FDR threatened to appoint more justices to the Supreme Court?

          And then you should re-read the diary, paying special note to how Democratic majorities increased after passing a bold agenda.

          I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

          by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:45:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  How is The President (0+ / 0-)

            who is not in the legislature to end the filibuster which is a Senate rule?

            If the demand is fulfill ideals to the letter now or stop having them, we divide the limits of reality & vision for tomorrow. Then politics becomes cynicism

            by pvlb on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 01:54:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  by making them do it (0+ / 0-)

              If Reid wont push and end to the filibuster, ensure his defeat this fall, and support a Dem with some balls to take the position (Durbin).  Support bills from the House at the expense of the Senate.  Make thorough use of the veto pen and the bully pulpit - which Bush did to great effect, even when Democrats took back Congress, even when his approval ratings were in the 30's.

              And if that doesn't work, start primarying Dems while running hard races against Republicans.  Make it clear to the obstructionists that change will happen, the only variable is how many of them will be driven out of office before that happens.

              I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

              by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 02:50:24 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  They rarely filibustered (12+ / 0-)

        James Fallows:

        The significant thing about filibusters through most of U.S. history is that they hardly ever happened. But since roughly the early Clinton years, the threat of filibuster has gone from exception to routine, for legislation and appointments alike, with the result that doing practically anything takes not 51 but 60 votes.

        Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

        by bumblebums on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:51:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Stimulus money is still unspent. (4+ / 0-)
      •  As was planned into (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        askew, Limelite

        the legislation.

        If the demand is fulfill ideals to the letter now or stop having them, we divide the limits of reality & vision for tomorrow. Then politics becomes cynicism

        by pvlb on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:43:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, so reallocate it just like FDR did. (7+ / 0-)

          I don't know that they had this in mind initially, but I hope this will be the case now.

          The parallel is uncanny. The PWA was moving too slowly, so FDR stepped in.

          •  This argument is sort of like (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sychotic1

            knowing you've got $80 for food to last you the month.  Eat it all right away and feel sated, or spread the food out, maybe not ever really feeling full, but making it through the month without starving.

            If the demand is fulfill ideals to the letter now or stop having them, we divide the limits of reality & vision for tomorrow. Then politics becomes cynicism

            by pvlb on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:58:25 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  more complicated than that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Uberbah
              you have to spend it all now because yeah the country isn't "starving" yet but it is pretty hungry and an election is less than a year away and unless the country has a comfortable stomach repubs are going to be elected making any economic recovery in 2011 much less likely. Maybe that's Obama's plan though. Repub in dems clothing?
            •  let me fix that for you (0+ / 0-)

              You've got $80 to spend on food, but your kid is starving right. now.  Whether or not your kid has money for munchies next year is rather irrelevant to his survival next week.

              I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

              by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 02:54:15 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  and that's a poor plan (6+ / 0-)

          Job recovery needs to be quick to be effective. The longer the delay, the harder it becomes to turn the economy around.  It's that simple.

          I'm from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party...

          by Betty Pinson on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:14:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  We are talking about infrastructure projects (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            condorcet, pvlb

            Of cours the money isn't spent.  These are decent jobs for a period of years and they create value added.

            Repubs - the people in power are not secretly plotting against you. They don't need to. They already beat you in public. (Bill Maher)

            by Sychotic1 on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 11:51:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  as planned to help Dems in 2010 midterms (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gmb

          That's playing politics at the expense of policy.

          I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

          by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:47:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Assuming you are (0+ / 0-)

            correct, and the ONLY reason stimulus monies were distributed over a period of years was so that Democrats would have better chances of (re-)election in the 2010 midterms, why is that bad?

            Given the current atmosphere in Congress, in which they will do everything possible to prevent legislation which will actually help people from being brought to vote, let alone passed, why is it bad to try to keep>>increase the Democratic majority in both Houses?

            How will people be helped if nothing can get by the PON (Party Of No)?

            I don't think that the Recovery act was timed for that, but given what we've seen from the PON since January 20, 2009, even if it were, I wouldn't complain very hard.  

            If the demand is fulfill ideals to the letter now or stop having them, we divide the limits of reality & vision for tomorrow. Then politics becomes cynicism

            by pvlb on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 01:50:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  how is it bad?? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gmb

              As I said the first time: it's putting politics ahead of policy.  Which is stupid, because as this diary shows, good policy makes for good politics - but that's the order it needs to be in.

              Given the current atmosphere in Congress, in which they will do everything possible to prevent legislation which will actually help people from being brought to vote, let alone passed, why is it bad to try to keep>>increase the Democratic majority in both Houses?

              Because Obama hasn't been willing to change that atmosphere.  Go right to Mitch McConnell's home town and tell them how many jobs they aren't getting because of Republican obstruction.  Define the issue as Republicans holding up jobs from the American public.

              You know, the obvious.  But Obama hasn't done that, he just makes the occasional grand speech with no specifics.  Screw that - to right to the Republicans backyard and make them the issue and name names already.

              I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

              by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 03:12:59 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  As per my understanding here in CA (6+ / 0-)

        that "stimulus" money will do little more then prevent further cut backs in state spending.

        Stimulate, not so much. Prevent further deterioration of a failing system, temporarily.

        •  If states (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          askew, condorcet

          don't have to cut back spending, what do you think will happen?

          OH!  States and cities will not have to cut spending as deeply so that their employees will stay on the job.  Could keeping people employed possibly be stimulative?

          Personally, I want Streets and San to have enough money to be able to plow and salt the streets around my neighborhood so that the streets don't become sheets of ice.  Icy streets and 6 schools within a 5 block radius are a potentially deadly combination.

          If the demand is fulfill ideals to the letter now or stop having them, we divide the limits of reality & vision for tomorrow. Then politics becomes cynicism

          by pvlb on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:55:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Spent... or Stolen? (0+ / 0-)

        It needs to be spent wisely, not just given away indiscriminately by the wheelbarrow full.  It takes time to spend it wisely, not so much time and effort required if we don't care how and where it's spent.

  •  Excellent work (9+ / 0-)

    Roosevelt was a rich person who understood the dangers of great levels of wealth and income disparity.  Nowadays when Middle-class and working class persons are reviled by both parties, and by the media, it is important to remember the most exceptional of American Presidents.  Now it is spin, spin, spin, but during FDR there were real and tangible results.  Results which we can still see, drive on or over, and get electricity from.

    Baroque: When you are out of Monet

    by bartct on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 07:58:13 AM PST

    •  Huh? Middle class morons (0+ / 0-)

      voted for Sarah Palin because they think she's "one of us", "common-sense" et cetera.

      The vanity of the middle-class was its undoing.

      Middle-class morons joined the PUMAs. Middle-class morons thought a vote for Nader wouldn't cause national implosion.

      While I generally agree that the rich are mean as a a snake and twice as quick, in this country even rich people pretend their middle class. There's a lot of soft power in the middle-class that's being glossed over, and its the pretensions and faulty assumptions of those with such soft power that gave us Bush and the Palin/McCain campaign. Don't pretend otherwise.

      (-7.00, -6.21) Jobs, Liberty, Peace.

      by Nulwee on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:00:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent diary - recommended!! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mndan, TomP, Betty Pinson, allenjo

    very informative - there must be a way to put people to work today just as quickly! Yes?

  •  buy american made products from (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pointsoflight, Uberbah, TomP, allenjo, moonpal

    american companies, that will create 4 million jobs , the govt isn't going to do it for us.

  •  Time to do it again! (10+ / 0-)

    Without a doubt.

    Million and one green things to do out there, renewable energy, etc.

    This health care system is a moral atrocity. Dr. Ralphdog

    by AllisonInSeattle on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:17:02 AM PST

  •  Wish I could rec twice! (5+ / 0-)

    "War is the health of the state." Randolph Bourne "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."Samuel Johnson

    by american pastoral on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:19:17 AM PST

  •  FDR stimulus helped people. Ours helps big biz (21+ / 0-)

    That's the problem. How much of the $780 billion was passed around to well-connected corporate fatcats? 40% 50% 60%?

    FDR used government entities to get the work done. But in our corporate-dominated media-government complex, despite the GOP calling us Socialists every day, in reality government-run solutions are forbidden by both parties!

    •  The Shrine of Trickle Down (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      El Zmuenga, Uberbah

      Government is still encrusted with trickle down thinking.

    •  Oh really? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      condorcet, moonpal

      Have you ever heard of World War II? You know, that thing that ended the Depression? Because of massive government spending? That happened to enrich corporations massively?

      Your sort of black and white comparison doesn't stand up to historical scrutiny.

      (-7.00, -6.21) Jobs, Liberty, Peace.

      by Nulwee on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:02:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  sure, except that... (0+ / 0-)

        The top marginal tax rate was 80% during WWII, so right off the bat you didn't have the same incentive for profiteering.

        Then, there was popular sentiment.  In FDR's day, you didn't have the theater of the State of the Union address, when some stand and applaud while others sit on their hands.  People pretty much stayed quiet for the duration of the speech...

        ...until FDR promised to go after war profiteers. Then he got a massive, sustained, standing ovation.

        I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

        by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 11:19:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Government partnered with many (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Uberbah

          businesses. Those that made deals with FDR did well, especially in New York and New Jersey.

          Profiteering was a common problem in the 30s and 40s. It is today, too. But commentators went after it back then.

          (-7.00, -6.21) Jobs, Liberty, Peace.

          by Nulwee on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 02:31:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  The Obama Administration needs (13+ / 0-)

    to check out who is getting paid and which country it is in.

    JP Morgan is outsourcing our food stamp jobs.

    You can google a lot of info about JP Morgan and food stamps.  I bet they make a lot more money than they should and a lot more than is necessary.

    This came out in June, but is still ongoing as far as I know.  

    I heard about it on a financial news show.

    •  If this was not so sad, I would be laughing! (5+ / 0-)

      Following your link:

      she called a toll-free line to inquire about her food stamps.
      "The woman who answered the phone -- it's not like she wasn't nice or anything -- but it was kind of evident that she wasn't in the States," Brown said.

      It turns out the woman was at a JP Morgan Chase call center in India.
      "That really put me over the edge," said Brown, 52, of Jupiter, Fla. "It's not right because we need the work here. People are in a bad way here."

      "We are tired of war," he said. "We don't want it anymore."

      by allenjo on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:13:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh.My.God. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gmb, Brooke In Seattle, Uberbah

      Now I am going to say something I rarely say.  There should be a law...

      Repubs - the people in power are not secretly plotting against you. They don't need to. They already beat you in public. (Bill Maher)

      by Sychotic1 on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 11:54:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I figure Obama's got about 1 month (7+ / 0-)

    After his State of the Union where he'll get to unveil his Health Care Plan, the populace will turn their attention to the next big thing - and that's highly likely to be Jobs.

    Those who have problems finding jobs - and there are LOTS of those - are already there.

    ". . there will be a temptation . . to try to appear constructive, or at least responsible. My advice . . resist the temptation." - W. Kristol

    by thenekkidtruth on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:31:40 AM PST

  •  Those programs also better than LBJ's welfare (3+ / 0-)

    We also would have saved tremendous amounts of money, had trillions invested in infrastructure (human & physical), and brought many, many more people out of poverty had we continued FDR-era type public employment over the then-acceptable (due to anti-government / anti-socialist redbaiting and segregationism) move to welfare and state aid programs.

    •  Johson created jobs... (8+ / 0-)

      by creating organizations within poverty neighborhoods that employed the residents of those neighborhoods. These organizations administered the war on poverty programs. THis structure, unfortunately though, blamed the victim rather than the state perpetrator of racism and poverty, and morphed into a huge, non-profit industry that impedes true change. Read "New Orleans After the Promises" for a great, historical treatment of the War on Poverty as it played out here.

      "Revolutionary Road" was a brilliant film.

      by scorpiorising on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:50:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm aware of this. It doesn't counter the point. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden

        I really, really understand.  LBJ and others -- such as NC's governor Terry Sanford -- would have carried out better approaches.  They truly desired to lift people out of poverty.

        But the politics and ideology of the day wouldn't have it.

    •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      moonpal

      I would suggest you do more research into the actual impact of the Great Society.  Lyndon Baines Johnson did more good than has been recognized.  His reputation and the reputation of the Great Society has been unnecessary blackened by Ronald Reagan and his ilk.

      You cannot present a monster with a flower. Nora Astorga.

      by vivens fons on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:08:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  WHY DO PEOPLE THINK THIS IS AGAINST LBJ??? (0+ / 0-)

        This wasn't an anti-LBJ rant.  It was a pro-New Deal / WPA point.

        IT DOESN'T MATTER THAT LBJ DID THE BEST THAT HE COULD GIVEN THAT TIME'S POLITICS -- IT DOESN'T CHANGE THE FACT THAT THIS NATION CAME TO ABANDON MORE EFFICIENT DIRECT PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAMS OVER LESS EFFICIENT AND MORE EASILY ANTI-POOR STEREOTYPED PROGRAMS.

        Yes, LBJ helped many, many people, and without his work even more would have suffered.

  •  Banks and wars took and continue to be given (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glitterscale, musicalhair, gmb

    all the money. The government politicians we have can only justify money for those purposes.  Workers out of work are just not real or pressing enough to them.  I read a headline on Drudge that Republicans in light of the 85k job losses are saying, "Where's the jobs.'  But they don't know they have to step in and create them at this point.

    'If we lift our voice as one, there's nothing that can't be done' MJ

    by publicv on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:41:45 AM PST

  •  Impact of "Another Era" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fossil, An Affirming Flame

    brought home to us all.

    Imagine. . .Then was a time when the interests of the Country drove good men to good work.  Now is a time when the self interests of men drive them to neglect and even forget the good of the country.

    "Give me but one firm spot to stand, and I will move the earth." -- Archimedes

    by Limelite on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:42:04 AM PST

    •  The zeitgeist of our times. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Limelite, aliasalias

      Were that it was not so.

      Looking back it seems we have increasingly abandoned the public for the selfish.  And it is so easy for politicians to play to that.  Who of us would not rather maintain our individual ease and comfort than be inconvenienced by living more in the network of common responsibility?

      Distrust of authority should be the first civic duty. - Norman Douglas

      by Fossil on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:57:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Rethugs will NEVER allow it! (0+ / 0-)
  •  This Calls for Community Organizing!! Tweaks Not (8+ / 0-)

    revolution. The fierce urgency of minor adjustments.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:44:22 AM PST

  •  If we weren't burning the treasury in war (12+ / 0-)

    A green jobs program on the level of the WPA would have been brilliant.  Let's build some high speed rail.  Why can't I jump on a train in Denver and get to Chicago in a reasonable amount of time?  It's nuts how we let that get away.  Think of what we could do to update our energy infrastructure with a program on the scale of the WPA.  Jeesh, it's painful to think about when you consider how much money has gone up in smoke on the streets of Baghdad.  

    2010. Time to win some more.

    by Sun dog on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:45:49 AM PST

  •  We need instructors, too. (5+ / 0-)

    How about paying out-of-work teachers and others with practical experience to train unemployed individuals in areas where a few workshops would get them the requisite knowledge to get a new job?

  •  Great diary!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    environmentalist

    It's really something to think of what we're capable of. It points out how little control we truly have, and the importance of having a great leader with the interests of the people at heart.

    Obama is close, but sadly he's no FDR...

    "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

    by La Gitane on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:54:46 AM PST

  •  New Deal Denialism (13+ / 0-)

    This is why wingnuts spend so much effort lying about the New Deal.  The reality blows most of their dead economic ideas out of the water.

    Incidentally, the UC Davis historian Eric Rauchway, history blogger and Scourge of New Deal Denialism has a new essay in Dissent that, once again, outlines how dishonest the denialists are.  You can find a link to it here.

    Stop Obama's Wars Now! Bring the Troops Home!

    by GreenSooner on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:54:58 AM PST

  •  Barriers to a Jobs Bill (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pesto, gmb, Brooke In Seattle, Nulwee

    I think we will get some sort of a jobs bill next year.  But there seem to be some barriers in the way, when it comes to getting the jobs bill we want.

    First, we're going to hear about OMG the deficits!

    Second, vested interests simply want high unemployment to continue for the long term.

    Another couple of years of this, coupled with a weak recovery, will allow states and local municipalities to break their union contracts, dissolve public pensions and privatize services, for example.

    High unemployment will also lower the price of labor, something that I think some folks in the White House will favor.  Lower wages will help us compete for jobs with the developing world.

    I won't tell anyone that Reagan was a turd.

    by bink on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:57:27 AM PST

  •  Not just maintenance, but building in (9+ / 0-)

    energy efficiency to existing structures would help strengthen national energy security [and job security].

    'The work goes on, the cause endures.'

    by shpilk on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:58:40 AM PST

  •  Reagan Administration legacy (8+ / 0-)

    Cut the federal budgets in part by slashing maintenance back.  You can get away with that for awhile, but it catches up after while.

    You can add $5 billion, minimum, in maintenance backlog for the National Parks.  (More for state & local.)  FDR's policies created new parks.  Nowadays, like in California, we're shutting them down.  Just when homeless people need a place to pitch a tent, too.

    Grab all the joy you can. (exmearden, 8/30/09)

    by Land of Enchantment on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:01:46 AM PST

  •  Why do these diaries never include (5+ / 0-)

    a comparison between the legislative bodies during FDR's versus POTUS' tenure?

    Simply amazing.

    The FDR and LBJ historical revisionism continues.

    I'll repeat another commenter above and note the incredibly shallow analysis present in this diary.

    Comparing and contrasting is fine, but I think at least some effort should be made towards accuracy.

  •  It should not surprise eithe mr nor you . . . . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sherri in TX, Uberbah, thethinveil

    . . . that incredible results are achieved by harnessing the talent of people who by training and experience are effective in implementing things that benefit society.

    Just consider:

    - the successful start of Medicare in 11 months when LBJ charged a professional within government with the goal of quick and effective implementation.

    - the success in creating an effective, competent, FEMA by Jimmy Carter when he provided for professional administration of that agency.  [Only to be undone by incompetence by presidents who hate the American public].

    Time and time again, the best of governance has served the American people well, while political triangulation or management by ideology has resulted in degraded quality of life for people not insulated by wealth or a culture (think Ivy League) where failure is impossible.

    Distrust of authority should be the first civic duty. - Norman Douglas

    by Fossil on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:05:36 AM PST

    •  Neither LBJ nor Carter were re-elected. (0+ / 0-)

      I wonder if they'd more focused on re-election what impact that would have had on their achievements.

      HR 676 - Health care reform we can believe in - national single-payer NOW.

      by kck on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:19:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  LBJ was elected while holding office (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kck, blueoasis, Uberbah, Fossil

        which is sorta like being re-elected.  But it's my impression that his commitment to escalation in Vietnam was largely due to his conviction that being "the first President to lose a war" would have doomed his reelection prospects.

        Getting out when he realized it was basically hopeless would have been better policy and better politics.  Focusing on his relection cost him the 1968 election, and cost tens of thousands of Americans their lives.

        "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

        by Pesto on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:26:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  asdf (4+ / 0-)

    He had spent his entire life doing social work.

    Damn it!  There's that word again: social.
    It's the word conservatives want least to hear because it pertains to society.
    The implications are that people are more important than dollars.
    Are we a nation of citizens or of dollars?
    When will the corporate death penalty be enacted.

    You cannot present a monster with a flower. Nora Astorga.

    by vivens fons on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:06:06 AM PST

  •  What would provoke the necessary redistribution.. (6+ / 0-)

    ...of wealth?

    Maybe:

    (This was a time when the idea of the "the general welfare" had not yet been destroyed by conservative economic doctrines, and also when the idea of noblesse oblige still rattled about the brainpans of American elites.)

    ...but, I don't think.

    FDR was of the elites. This is his first and biggest advantage. How to get their cooperation? From my reading it had far less to do with appealing to their social values than threats and coercion. FDR had leverage, knew how to find leverage, and had the confidence to use it. He had no fear of losing his wealth or status.

    Who could lead such an effort today? A Warren Buffet maybe or a Bill Gates. No politician. We don't have a politician with even the shadow of substance needed.

    The only alternative to a leader is an unrelenting and costly threat from "the people". My money is on a patriotic wise one (no, not a messiah, an operator) since it is so hard to get "the people" together.  

    HR 676 - Health care reform we can believe in - national single-payer NOW.

    by kck on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:14:22 AM PST

    •  This is key (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      djbender, kck, Uberbah

      I've raised this point before.  FDR was from the elite business class.  He didn't fear them and had that confidence to ignore their objections.

      He showed us that courage and confidence is all it takes.  

      I'm from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party...

      by Betty Pinson on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:20:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, yes, courage and confidence, but also... (0+ / 0-)

        ...leverage. I see no dearth of confidence in our politicians and courage, like self-esteem, either builds with achievement or comes from the lack of fear or concern for losing. But having both still will not make the elites give up the necessary wealth to convert to investment capital. That takes leverage - more bully than bully pulpit.

        HR 676 - Health care reform we can believe in - national single-payer NOW.

        by kck on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:25:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  They have plenty of leverage (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kck, Uberbah

          they have to choose to use it wisely. FDR's core values and principles were somewhat different from the current Dem leadership.  

          FDR cared little about raising money from corporate interests for re-election and more about governing in a manner that helped all Americans, regardless of race, income, or social status.  He really lived the concept of noblesse oblige, it wasn't just a campaign slogan, he was passionate about it. And he wasn't afraid to make enemies to make it reality.

          I'm from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party...

          by Betty Pinson on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:42:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  well I do think this administration (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pesto, Canyon Lefty

    must now turn its attention to jobs and come up with something innovative and serious.

    The past is hard to replicate.  What worked for FDR pales compared to dealing with the needs and skill sets we have today.  

    On top of that the world works differently now with people on the top who know how to bid, play the game, take the profit and muck things up. Everything siphons off what is directed towards the worker. Large portions go to high costs, highly paid management and even the army of auditors that have to oversee it (of course auditors need jobs too...)

    It is not as simple but something must be done; something brand new that has eyes on our future. That kind of plan takes time to figure out and we don't have much time.

  •  This is a lie (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    condorcet

    Here's a bit of history for you: 1934 was the last midterm congressional election when the Democrats gained seats in Congress with a Democrat in the White House.

    1998.

    I win.

  •  Thanks for the diary! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, kck

    So glad to see this book is being written. I'll buy four copies, one for myself the others to send to the WH, my senator and my congresswoman.

    I'm from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party...

    by Betty Pinson on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:21:42 AM PST

  •  My apologies if someone has noted this before (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kck, condorcet, CS in AZ

    ...in the comments.  FDR created largely subsistence-level jobs for people who would otherwise starve and die.  Our social infrastructure is different now, and people are at far lesser risk of starving and dying without employment.  So the WPA impulse to give people work at subsistence wages doesn't exist, and would in fact be illegal.  

    Enrich your life with adverbs!

    by Rich in PA on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:21:57 AM PST

    •  An important point (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brooke In Seattle, condorcet

      There is no lack of jobs digging, picking fruit, mowing and weeding. Our undocumented day laborers here in SoCal have no need to work for minimum wage. They, their skills, and their willingness to do physical labor are in much higher demand.

      Presumably, a modern jobs effort would have to be designed for today's workforce.

      But, do you design jobs for a workforce or a workforce for the jobs?

       

      HR 676 - Health care reform we can believe in - national single-payer NOW.

      by kck on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:32:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good question--I'd say workforce for the jobs (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kck

        In the sense of training people to do the work that "objectively" (sic, but you get the point) needs to be done.  I wouldn't tailor the work to the collective skill set of people in distress, if only because they're usually in distress because that skill set has become less relevant.

        Enrich your life with adverbs!

        by Rich in PA on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:35:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The only reason people aren't starving in streets (3+ / 0-)

      ...are because of unemployment insurance and food stamps.

      So the WPA impulse to give people work at subsistence wages doesn't exist

      Nonsense.  Create millions of jobs, even at minimum wage, and watch millions of people sign up.

      and would in fact be illegal.

      On what planet?

      I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

      by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 11:52:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  OMFG as the teeny boppers say (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk

        Very justified union and non-union opposition, and prevailing-wage legislation in many cases.  If you hire millions of people at minimum wage, either their work is superfluous or it's not: and if it's not, that work is already being done to some extent, by people who earn more than minimum wage.

        This would be an absolutely insane and disastrous idea.

        Enrich your life with adverbs!

        by Rich in PA on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:26:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  what the hell are you talking about (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Betty Pinson

          You do realize that more money in the hands of the middle class means more money for union workers as well, through increased demand, right?  Right?

          This would be an absolutely insane and disastrous idea.

          Did you wander in from Fox News or CNBC?  States with higher minimum wages have created jobs faster than states that haven't.  And if a worker can make more money filling potholes than he can working at a convenience store - guess what happens - the convenience store has to pay a higher wage.

          I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

          by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 03:24:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Who'd a thunk? (5+ / 0-)

    What do you know, giving people millions of jobs, and preparing our infrastructure for the future is good politics too!

  •  Proposals for increases in public transportation (4+ / 0-)

    appear to be the best bet, providing jobs that will not go away when the project ends, plus it would stimulate new projects in areas served by the systems.

  •  It is almost as is Democrats (4+ / 0-)

    don't want to remain in power.  It is as if they believe they are only suited to be the opposition.

    I am not against all health care reform, I am just against dumb health care reform!

    by justmy2 on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 09:25:00 AM PST

  •  Of course the Great Depression .... (5+ / 0-)

    which began in 1929 was in full swing when FDR was elected in 1932 in an era when Democrats dominated Congress and Republicans were not the nay sayers they are today.  So comparing the situations faced by President Roosevelt with that faced by President Obama is fundamentally flawed.

    President Obama came to office dealing with a recession which had the potential to become a second Great Depression.  It was averted in large measure because of the actions taken to avoid another Black Tuesday.  Saving the financial system was key, despite the fact that most of us would have loved to have seen it collapse so that "they" would have to pay for the damage "they" did.  Unfortunately, the reality is that "we" would have gone down too.  All of us, not just some.  Even the Bush administration recognized the damage and got the ball rolling on the rescue of the financial sector.  Like it or not (and I, for one, certainly don't) the economic system demanded that the financial sector be rescued.

    When President Obama came to office, he correctly recognized that drastic action had to be taken to get the economy rolling again.  His proposal was a Stimulus Package, some of which survived with scant Republican help but which was scaled back both because the Bush administration has put us in a critical national deficit and the "deficit hawks" among the Democrats forced compromises that destroyed a lot of the job creation that was intended, such as more infrastructure repair, and insisted on tax cuts in order for the package to pass.  You may, and should, remember that there was NO margin of error on the final Senate vote.

    So reality is that President Obama did what needed to be done to avert another Great Depression.  Even Paul Krugman acknowledges that.  And, unless I am unable to read and hear correctly these days, President Obama has proposed new job creation.  And, unless I am unable to read and hear correctly these days, President Obama has been roundly criticized for wanting to do more, both by Republicans, who only want to talk about tax cuts, and by some Democrats who clearly don't see the FDR model as being worthy of repetition.

    Absent a Fairy Godmother with a Magic Wand, it is likely that President Obama is faced with making some very hard choices in order to get job creation moving again.  That is not going to be easy AND it won't happen without Congressional action.

    One final note:  When I was born at the end of FDR's second term, the Great Depression had NOT concluded.  It took the mobilization for WWII to finally get the economy back in gear.  President Obama, dealing with a hostile Congress, has been in office for less than one year and is dealing with a problem that was not even acknowledged until shortly before his election.

    Seems to me it is time to force the people who have the wherewithall to help, viz. Congress, to grab a mop.

    •  flawed comparison (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brooke In Seattle

      Of course the Great Depression .... which began in 1929 was in full swing

      So was the housing crisis, the health care crisis, and the stock market collapse when Obama took office.  No, we don't have hundreds dying in the streets today from starvation, but that's because of unemployment insurance and food stamps.

      The humanitarian crisis is not present now, but the unemployment crisis is.

      in an era when Democrats dominated Congress

      How many seats do the Democrats have after the 2008 elections again?

      and Republicans were not the nay sayers they are today.

      Other than trying to launch a coup against FDR, of course.

      So reality is that President Obama did what needed to be done to avert another Great Depression.  Even Paul Krugman acknowledges that.

      You might want to read one of his latest columns, That 1937 Feeling.

      I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

      by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 11:59:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You really don't understand, do you? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ribletsonthepan

        The health care crisis has been around since Teddy Roosevelt, who failed to fix it, as did FDR, HST, RMN and WJC.  BHO has moved that farther along than anyone ever did.  The housing crisis was the direct result of the GWB and Alan Greenspan decision to lower interest rates AND cut taxes on the filthy rich.  The "bubble" collapsed in 2007 but foreclosures didn't start to hit until just before the election.  The stock market never experienced a collapse like it did in 1929 and, again, it happened close enough to the election that BHO did NOT inherit a situation like the one FDR did.  The unemployment crisis is not even close to what it was when FDR took office.

        The rest of what you wrote is just factually wrong, as well.  Look. I know you hate President Obama.  That is very clear from the incessant rants you post.  I don't know what your motivation is but I am not led to believe that it is as pure as you'd like to pretend.

        'Nuff said.

        •  You really like projection, don't you? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          prfb

          The health care crisis has been around since Teddy Roosevelt, who failed to fix it, as did FDR, HST, RMN and WJC.

          Hardly - or did you miss out on the fact that premiums have been going up 8%, 15%, 25% every year?  The health care crisis is exponentially worse than it was in 2000, which was exponentially worse than it was in 1992.

          BHO has moved that farther along than anyone ever did.

          Another bullshit talking point that needs to die.

          Medicare passed in 1965.
          Medicaid passed in 1965.
          SCHIP passed in 1997.

          Yes, in 1997, with a Republican Congress that was dead set on impeaching the Democratic President.  Not only has health care reform not passed under Obama, it's not even as progressive a reform as SCHIP.

          And, don't think I didn't notice you trying to have it both ways.  When a bill doesn't pass Congress, it's not Obama's fault because he's a helpless player, as it's the job of the legislature to write and pass laws.  But if something passes, then Obama can take credit for it.  Doesn't work that way - pick one or the other.

          The rest of what you wrote is just factually wrong, as well.  

          Oh, so Democrats didn't take back Congress in 2006 and gain supermajorities in 2008?  There wasn't a housing, health care and employment crisis when Obama took office?

          I guess you haven't learned yet that empty hand waving does not an argument make.

          Look. I know you hate President Obama.

          Look, I know this will interfere with the storyline they taught you at Fanboy Elementary, but I voted for Obama in my states primary.  I want him to live up to his potential as one of the greatest presidents we've ever had in this country.

          Potential that he is not just squandering, but stuffing down the garbage disposal and turning on the grinder.

          I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

          by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 05:44:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Couldn't be done now. Wouldn't be done. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, Amber6541

    Not because government is composed of corporate whores, but because there just isn't really a great need to put 300,000 men to work with the Forestry Service rebuilding our national parks.

  •  WPA Historian Nancy Rose on how to bring it back (6+ / 0-)

    Historian Nancy Rose has also looked into how the New Deal era public employment and public works programs were efficient ways of employing Americans and getting work done.

    The revised edition of Put to Work, from Monthly Review Press, had a final updated chapter from which the following is adapted:

    Lessons from the New Deal Public Employment Programs

    Nancy E. Rose

    Nothing before or after the 1930s has matched the magnitude of the FERA, CWA, and WPA—programs that provided work each month for several million people, paid decent wages, and developed innovative projects in construction, the arts, and the production of consumer goods.

    The economic crisis that began in December 2007 warrants a similarly ambitious response. The job creation anticipated as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is a start. However, we can do much better. Important lessons for the current era can be learned from the earlier New Deal programs. I will elaborate what I see as six main lessons.

    1. A Large and Innovative Public Employment Program Is Possible

    The FERA, CWA, and WPA show that it is possible to implement expansive and creative public employment programs. During the Great Depression, when the labor force totaled approximately fifty million, from 1.4 to 4.4 million people each month were put to work on these programs. A range of projects was developed. The myriad construction projects throughout the country are reminders of this, as are the plays, murals, posters, and other works of art.

    Job creation programs were brought back, on a smaller scale, during the 1970s. The recession of 1969-1970, which ended the long economic expansion of the 1960s, led to the Public Employment Program (PEP) in 1971.

    Three years later the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) replaced the PEP, as well as other War On Poverty work and training programs, with an all-inclusive program. It included Public Service Employment (PSE), which continued the job creation program of the PEP.

    While PEP and PSE marked the return of job creation, they were far more constrained than their 1930s’ predecessors. Most importantly, they were only allowed to develop work in services; the construction and production-for-use projects that were such critical components of the earlier programs were absent. And PEP and PSE were small in comparison to the earlier programs. The high point was reached in March 1978 when 742,000 people were put to work on PSE.

    Yet this was only one-sixth of the 1930s maximum—even though the labor force had doubled in the intervening years. And while the 1930s’ programs at their peak created work for one-third of the unemployed, PSE provided jobs for only 12 percent of the jobless at its high point.

    In spite of these constraints, a good deal was accomplished. Classroom and on-the-job training projects were set up, focusing on people who were more marginal to the labor market. Public sector projects included maintenance and repair of buildings and equipment, and expansion of activities in institutions such as hospitals, law enforcement agencies, and recreation centers. CETA participants, commonly known as "CETA workers," were often given jobs alongside people who were regularly employed in public sector and nonprofit agencies. In fact, many institutions developed during the 1970s, such as women’s health clinics and food cooperatives, ran on shoestring budgets and depended upon CETA workers to function.

    It is probably not surprising that the 1970s’ programs were plagued by many of the same criticisms that surrounded the FERA, CWA, and WPA. Charges of inefficiency and unnecessary "make-work" were the most frequent. They were accompanied by complaints that CETA workers were substituted for normal government employees, payments were too high, and the entire program was too expensive and riddled with graft and corruption.

    And, as in the 1930s, contradictory mandates meant that these criticisms were often accurate. One result was the development of CETA’s Private Sector Initiative Program (PSIP) in 1978, as funds were taken away from public employment and directed instead to the private sector. And when Reagan became president in 1981, he quickly eliminated PSE and allowed the entire CETA program to expire the following year.

    Not surprisingly, given the dominance of right-wing economic policy since that time, job creation programs have been absent until the need to respond to the economic crisis with its escalating unemployment led to their return. These plans represent a beginning, but compared to earlier programs, especially the FERA, CWA, and WPA, they show a distinctly constricted vision. Most importantly, there is no grand federal program, as existed during the 1930s, or even during the 1970s. The Recovery Act calls instead for creating or saving 3.5 million jobs over the next two years by channeling funds to already existing federal and state agencies, which in turn will directly create jobs or, more likely, contract projects out to the private sector. And only about one-third of the funds will be used in direct government spending, as the rest is going to tax relief for working families, state fiscal relief, and transfer payments such as Social Security and extended unemployment benefits. This focus on working families is a huge improvement over the tax cuts for the rich and other right-wing policies that have been the norm since the early 1980s. Yet more could be done.

    Even this 3.5 million pales in comparison to the earlier programs, especially since the labor force has grown to almost 155 million people. The relatively small scope of the current Recovery Act is especially troubling given the continually escalating unemployment.

    In May 2009, when this is being written, the official unemployment rate reached 9.4 percent. This meant that 14.5 million people were officially unemployed, as the number of unemployed has increased by 7 million since the crisis began. But the official unemployment rate underestimates the real extent of economic misery. The unemployment rate is well into double digits when "hidden unemployment" is added. This includes "discouraged workers" who drop out of the labor force because they can’t find jobs, as well as involuntary part-time workers, who want full-time jobs but can only find part-time work. No account is taken either of those working full-time at jobs below the poverty level. Not surprisingly, all of these numbers have been rising, as have the numbers of people who are "long-term unemployed," and out of work for more than twenty-seven weeks. This should be recognized for the national calamity that it is.

    2. Develop Responses to Criticisms of Make-Work and Inefficiency

    Anticipation of criticisms of public employment programs as inefficient "make-work" may well have helped prevent the development of a job creation such as the FERA, CWA, and WPA, and the smaller CETA program of the 1970s. The belief that one of the functions of government should be to assure sufficient employment, in part by creating jobs, has been off the public agenda since the early 1980s. This absence has been bolstered by the now commonly accepted "wisdom" of several decades of conservative, neoliberal ideology, which argues that as much economic activity as possible should be left in the hands of the private sector.

    If we want to revive support for government employment programs, we need to develop responses to time-worn criticisms of make-work and inefficiency. This involves both a broad understanding of the genesis of these criticisms as well as an understanding of the elements of the New Deal jobs programs that did in fact lead to inefficiency when compared to the private sector.

    First, it is helpful to put in perspective that allegations of inefficiency have become a knee-jerk reaction routinely made towards a range of government services. In this view, the government is seen as inefficient simply because it does not operate on profit criteria—the lack of a profit motive automatically leads to inefficiency. This contrasts to the private sector, which does base decisions on profits. Therefore, the private sector is efficient, whereas the government is inefficient. The dominance of this view since the early 1980s has helped lead to contracting out a range of government services, from collecting garbage to operating prisons.

    Fortunately, one result of the current crisis is that increasing numbers of people are beginning to question this ideology, and more generally, capitalism as an economic system. A Rasmussen poll taken on April 9, 2009, found that only slightly more than half of adults in the United States believed that capitalism was better than socialism. As was also the case during the 1930s, economic crisis—that brings with it escalating unemployment, not to mention bankruptcies in the financial sector and the collapse of home equity—causes wider questioning of the system that bred these problems.

    In addition to this general understanding of criticisms of make-work and inefficiency simply because the government is providing goods and services, it is helpful to look at the aspects of the New Deal programs that did, in fact, often lead to inefficiency and make-work. The bottom line is that these situations were caused by the dual nature of the work programs, as both work and relief for the unemployed.

    The first and most important response is that charges of inefficiency and make-work followed in large measure from the programs’ often contradictory mandates. This was particularly clear with regulations that the projects use a maximum of labor and a minimum of machinery in order to create jobs for as many of the unemployed as possible with the available funds—in other words, they were supposed to make work. Further directives to avoid both replacing normal government operations and competing with the private sector easily added to the perception that the jobs created were make-work. It was reasoned that if the work was important, the government would already be providing it.

    Four additional factors contributed to inefficiency and make-work on the work programs. In investigating this, it is helpful to remember that efficiency is measured by the amount produced (generally the monetary value) divided by the number of hours of labor. Therefore, aspects of the work programs that contributed to additional labor hours translated into inefficiency compared to production methods in the private sector.

    One factor stemmed from using prevailing wage rates to determine the number of hours a person could work (the total amount someone could earn that is, budgetary deficiency, was divided by the prevailing rate). This led to many situations in which skilled workers were allowed fewer hours of work each week compared to less skilled workers. As a result, there was more rotation of skilled workers, which was often disruptive and caused inefficiency by industry standards.

    A second factor was that many of the construction projects continued to operate in bad weather. In contrast, private sector firms would often temporarily shut down in inclement weather. This situation arose because the work programs were simultaneously work and relief, and while it would have been antithetical to increasing profits, one of the purposes was to provide income for the unemployed.

    A third factor stemmed from the practice of selecting male heads of household instead of younger, and sometimes stronger, workers. This was considered sufficiently important that periodically throughout the 1930s, reminders were made about the importance of choosing the father to work on the programs in order to help ensure that men continue to be seen as the head of the family. However, in response to criticisms of inefficiency on the projects, there were cases of choosing younger workers instead of male heads of households.

    A fourth factor that contributed to inefficiency and make-work on the New Deal work programs was their temporary status. Throughout the 1930s, Congressional appropriations were periodically needed. This made long-term planning virtually impossible, and led to many projects that were rather quickly developed. Most notably, the CWA provided numerous examples of hastily developed projects, some of which did not even have enough tools for all of the workers. However, this was not surprising in light of the haste with which the program was developed. An additional two million of the unemployed were put to work within two months, between mid-November 1933 and mid-January 1934, in order to help prevent another Depression winter of increased despair and increased protest.

    As a final note on this topic, it is instructive to further investigate the notion of make-work. What types of work are necessary? It is telling that common examples of make-work during the 1930s were "leaf raking" and "snow shoveling." In response, in 1934 maintenance activities were prohibited on the work programs. However, these activities are much like housework—noticed when they are not done, but otherwise taken for granted.

    3. Ensure Fair Treatment Regarding Gender, Race, and Immigrant Status

    Gender and racial discrimination was endemic to the New Deal work programs. As described repeatedly throughout this book, payments were lower, on average, for women and people of color, and they experienced more difficulty establishing eligibility and obtaining placements on all three programs. In fact, this reflected general societal norms at that time.

    Needless to say, we can expect that in current job creation programs care would be taken care to avoid inequality based on gender and race. We would expect that payments and eligibility would be administered fairly. In addition to this, we should acknowledge the sometimes subtle effects of sexual harassment and take further steps to encourage women to participate on construction projects by making this work welcoming for them.

    While there has been a good deal of progress regarding gender and racial discrimination since the 1930s, we are still a long way from equity. And while much attention has been paid to gender and racial equity, the same is not true for immigrant status and nativism.

    In terms of equity, while it was accepted during the 1930s to limit pay and participation for women and people of color, the group occupying this status today is immigrants. Indeed, one does not have to look far to find examples of immigrants being used as scapegoats for a variety of societal ills. Care will need to be taken in any current work program to challenge nativist sentiments and to ensure fair treatment based on citizenship status.

    4. Set Payment Rates At Least Equal to a Living Wage

    Policies regarding setting payments remained contentious throughout the 1930s, and were periodically changed in response to demands from workers, on one hand, and from the private sector, on the other. Perhaps the clearest example concerned the changing policies regarding a minimum work relief wage rate. Implemented in July 1933, the virtually unremitting complaints that the minimum rate of thirty cents per hour was above some private sector rates and thereby attracted workers away from the private sector to the work programs led to its abrupt termination in November 1934.

    In the intervening years, progress has been made. The enactment of the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938 established a federal minimum wage, although many states have enacted a higher minimum wage because the federal rate has been so eroded since 1968 by the failure to sufficiently adjust it for inflation. And for several decades we have witnessed the spread of living wage campaigns, which mandate that city employees and employees of companies that do a certain amount of business with a city should be paid a wage that is high enough to keep a family of four about the poverty line.

    A minimum pay rate that provides a living wage—one that enables a family to have a reasonable standard of living—also makes good economic sense. It contributes to "bubble-up" economic policies that channel money into the hands of people who will quickly spend it on necessary consumer goods and services, which in turn leads business owners to expand production and hire more workers. During the 1930s, this was described as increasing the "purchasing power of the masses." It is a far more stable route to economic expansion than "trickle down" policies that give tax breaks to the rich with the hope that they will use it for productive investment to create jobs.

    5. Develop a Range of Projects

    It is helpful to look to the FERA, CWA, and WPA for inspiration about the types of projects that could be developed in the current era. Plans thus far represent a good beginning. Yet much more needs to be done.

    Current plans are primarily for construction projects. Development of renewable energy and other "green technology," as well as repairing our dilapidated infrastructure and developing public transit, are sorely needed. Focus has been on projects that are "shovel ready" and can be quickly started. It would be helpful to also consider longer-range plans, and projects that take longer than two years to complete, such as development of light rail systems, as these could address some of the pressing needs for green infrastructure.

    Services will be aided indirectly through some of the billions of dollars going to states. This is also important—although given the sizable budget deficits faced by many states, even these funds will only begin to cover many necessary services that will otherwise go unfunded. Along these lines, the monies allocated to keep people on Medicaid and SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) will be critical. Thus far, most of the Recovery Act funds for health and education have been allocated for research. There are additional needs that should be addressed as well. Provision of services in education, health care, and eldercare throughout the country could benefit from additional resources. And we would do well to recall the federal support for the arts during the 1930s, which provided jobs for a variety of artists as well as classes and productions for the public.

    The third category of projects from the 1930s—production-for-use—has remained dormant since those programs ended. Perhaps they should be resurrected. Of particular concern is the growing numbers of factories that are being shut down. What should happen with the plant and equipment as well as the former employees? As a society, should we just accept that if something is not sufficiently profitable, then it should be abandoned? Or should the Ohio Plan be brought back—and previous employees put to work in their old places of employment? This does not mean that the old production methods and former goods should be brought back unchanged. For example, support for the auto industry could be based on changing production from environmentally unsustainable vehicles to public transit such as buses and trains. The alternative to planning is simply to let the "law of the market" hold sway, as factories as well as retail establishments throughout the country shut down.

    6. Enact a Permanent Public Employment Program

    Instead of periodically reacting to escalating unemployment by developing programs to create jobs, it would make good social and economic sense to implement a permanent job creation program. This is not a new idea.

    The initial version of the Social Security Act included a provision for Employment Assurance. This would have provided jobs, similar to the FERA, CWA, and WPA, after people exhausted their unemployment compensation.

    And as the 1930s’ programs wound down, a permanent employment program was recommended by the National Resources Planning Board, a high-level federal commission requested by President Roosevelt to develop overall economic plans for the post-Second World War period.

    They called for an "economic bill of rights" that would ensure the basic necessities of life, including the right to a job provided by the government if the private sector failed to do so, and advocated the "formal acceptance by the federal government of responsibility for insuring jobs at decent pay to all those able to work regardless of whether or not they can pass a means test."

    This would have been accomplished through a permanent "Work Administration" that would provide "socially useful work other than construction...for the otherwise unemployed." However, as the Second World War pulled the country out of the depression, calls for a permanent work program were abandoned.

    The commitment to national planning was incorporated into the Full Employment Bill of 1945. Declaring that "all Americans able to work and seeking work have the right to useful, remunerative, regular, and full-time employment," it would have committed the federal government to ensure full employment. An annual "National Production and Employment Budget" would have estimated the amount of (both public and private) expected investment and the level of spending needed for full employment. The federal government would fill this investment gap, if necessary with deficit spending.

    Support for the intensive federal planning and investment included in the 1945 bill was undermined by economic and political events. Instead of the expected post-war recession, the U.S. economy began an almost three decade period of substantial growth.

    Most fundamentally, the expansive vision in the Full Employment Bill was doomed by a growing antipathy toward national government planning, which was portrayed as antithetical to American values of freedom and democracy, largely embodied by a "free market."

    Instead, planning was equated with the state control that existed in communist and fascist societies, a view that fed on, and contributed to, the growing anti-communism that flourished after the war.

    The results were not surprising, as the Full Employment Bill of 1945 became the watered-down Employment Act of 1946. Instead of an unequivocal commitment to "full employment" there was only tempered support for "maximum employment," which, in the context of the debates, was clearly understood as less than "full employment." In place of the "National Production and Employment Budget" and its planning mechanism was only an advisory body, the Council of Economic Advisors, and an annual report to the president.

    Support for a permanent jobs program resurfaced again in the 1970s with the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act. The original bill promised to "establish and guarantee the rights of all adult Americans able and willing to work to equal opportunities for useful paid employment at fair rates of compensation."

    It called for systematic federal planning of production and investment in order to fulfill "human and national needs" in a variety of areas: conservation; housing; antipollution and recycling activities; health care; education; day care; infrastructure construction, e.g., railroads, subways, and other mass transportation; and "development of artistic, esthetic, cultural, and recreational activities."

    Its centerpiece was a countercyclical public service employment program. The government would serve as employer of last resort for people unable to find jobs through the labor market, establishing a program that would go into effect when the unemployment rate rose above 3 percent. Wages would be set at "fair rates of compensation," the highest of prevailing local wage rates, the minimum wage, or wages specified in existing collective bargaining agreements. And attention was given to combating discrimination—based on race, gender, age, and physical and mental capacity.

    Benefits of full employment described in the Humphrey-Hawkins Act bear remembering today. Economic impacts included increased aggregate demand which would counteract recessions, rescuing labor power that would otherwise be lost, and reducing the cost of transfer payment programs. Social benefits focused on increasing people’s self-esteem and avoiding the distress and depression that often accompany unemployment, as well as mitigating societal unrest.

    The Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act was finally passed in 1978 as an amendment to the Employment Act of 1946. "Balanced growth" meant that real full employment was sacrificed to a focus on restraining inflation.

    A permanent government job creation program continues to garner support from economists and other social scientists. The National Jobs for All Coalition was founded in 1987 to build a movement and advocate for real full employment at livable wages. They stress that the United States has a chronic jobs deficit since "full employment" is considered to be an unemployment rate of 4 to 5 percent, so that a return to this "normal" situation would still leave millions of people unemployed and underemployed. The Center for Full Employment and Price Stability at the University of Missouri–Kansas City has been advocating that the government serve as "employer of last resort," providing jobs in order to maintain real full employment. And The Nation has been publishing more articles supporting full employment at fair rates of pay.

    In making the case for a permanent job creation program, we should remember that these programs do two important things. They provide both jobs for people who are unemployed and underemployed, as well as much needed public facilities, services, and in the 1930s, consumer goods.

    Job creation is important, but it is not sufficient. In order to give both women and men real choices about combining work in the home with jobs outside the home, we also need progressive family and labor market policies. All we have to do is to copy programs that are already in effect in Canada and western European countries. A family allowance, instead of welfare, would help enable parents to more easily spend time doing this valuable caring labor. A paid six-month family leave would make it easier for both women and men to take care of infants as well as family members who are ill. Flexible work hours would allow women and men to reduce hours of wage labor in order to spend more time working in the home. Universal federal health care would enable everyone to obtain quality health care regardless of their welfare or labor market status. Federally supported quality child care, including subsidies for child-care workers, would recognize the social responsibility for children and similarly eliminate this expense as a barrier to wage-labor. And an adequate supply of low cost housing would help provide shelter for all people.

    Money for these programs could come from a truly progressive income tax, a tax on the sale of assets held for a short period of time (which would also discourage speculation), and the military budget. And those responsible for the financial industry fiascos, not taxpayers, should be forced to repay the billions of dollars that they squandered.

    An important difference between the 1930s and today is the current lack of a mobilized mass left. During the 1930s, this proved critically important in continually putting pressure on the Roosevelt administration, and resulted in more progressive policies and programs than otherwise would have been the case.

    In this light, there was a great deal of organizing to elect Obama. Yet much of this dissipated after he won the election. Further, as a politician, without continued pressure from a mass left, Obama has too easily acceded to demands from the right. This can be clearly seen in the seemingly endless stream of funds that has been channeled to bail out financial institutions—instead of nationalization. It can also be seen in the rather conservative economic stimulus plans described above.

    History shows that we can do better.

    You can make arguments about what is and isn't politically possible (now or then), but there's no need to let the ideas of insane 'anti-communists' (i.e., contemporary Teabaggers) of the 1940s and 1950s continue to dominate discussions of public employments in the 21st century.

    •  well I worked (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      el cid

      first in the government sector, which was in some parts a waste of money, but always redeemed itself by the excellent work of other people embedded in it.

      And now I work in the private sector and I must say I find it at least as inefficient as the other one. sure our company now is for-profit but that doesnt say it makes one and it doesnt say it´s efficient, it´s in fact horribly wasteful.

      a few good, hardworking people carry it through. Exactly as in the government sector. From what I have seen I can see no real difference between work in the private or in the public sector. I can only see differences between good work and bad work, competency and incompetency, and those are everywhere.

      Ici s´arrète la loi.

      by marsanges on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 02:27:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent reference, thanks! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      el cid

      I'm bookmarking this one.  It answers a lot of questions being raised today.  

      I remember a lot of these programs from the 1970's.

      I'm from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party...

      by Betty Pinson on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 04:36:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  2 pages from FDR's book - One good (7+ / 0-)

    Obama should...

    [...]To give Americans confidence in the banks, Roosevelt signed the Glass-Steagall Act that created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.[...]

    Push congress to get it re-instated post haste.

    The second page? not-so-much...

    [...]Roosevelt tried to keep his campaign promise by cutting the regular federal budget, including 40% cuts to veterans' benefits and cuts in overall military spending. He removed 500,000 veterans and widows from the pension rolls and slashed benefits for the remainder. Protests erupted, led by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Roosevelt held his ground, but when the angry veterans formed a coalition with Senator Huey Long and passed a huge bonus bill over his veto, he was defeated. He succeeded in cutting federal salaries and the military and naval budgets. He reduced spending on research and education.[...]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    Side: FDR's crash jobs program occurred after the phenomenal Dem majority was elected. FDR brought that majority with him elst that program wouldn't have been implemented. President Obama never had a chance of having FDR's congressional majority. Or, that is to say, we (nor Dean) never had a chance of getting it for him. Not in the 21st century.

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:10:46 AM PST

    •  We *have* that majority.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Einsteinia

      And we could pass the entire New Deal in the House today.

      Trouble is, the Senate has turned into Obstructionism Central, with a set of arcane rules designed to prevent a supermajority from actually governing.  Obama should tackle the filibuster head-on, as that is the primary difference between now and the New Deal era.  But he isn't doing so.

      -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

      by neroden on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:17:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  *hardly* (4+ / 0-)

        FDR had a stunning majority of 77 in his first senate.

        It's our 21st century Congress who needs left-pushing.

        "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

        by Sybil Liberty on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:22:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What a surprise, you're wrong (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Einsteinia, condorcet

          Democrats had 60 seats in the Senate for FDR's first term.  Which, incidentally, was 4 votes short of having a filibuster proof majority.  And FDR got more seats after pushing a bold agenda.

          It's our President and the cheerleaders that need to put away 21st Century excuses for weak leadership.

          I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

          by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:06:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I cede your point (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KayCeSF, Escamillo

            (must have read the 77 figure at one of those more folkloric FDR sites)

            however, with only 96 seated senators, a majority of 60 would not have been 4 seats shy of filibuster-proof

            "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

            by Sybil Liberty on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 01:06:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  IIRC, the "77" number comes from the number of (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              KayCeSF, Sybil Liberty

              Democrats plus the number of moderate/liberal Repubs.  So FDR had ~77 Senators that he could potentially work with.

              Of course, moderate/liberal repubs don't exist at all today (I used to consider Snowe such a repub, but no longer).

              •  Thank you, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                KayCeSF

                so, not so "FDR-folkloric" afterall.

                "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

                by Sybil Liberty on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 03:11:26 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  so force them to work with you (0+ / 0-)

                If Snowe wont cooperate, fly out to main and hold a dozen town halls talking about how many thousands of jobs Maine is not getting because of Snowe's obstructionism.

                The votes are there if Obama is willing to get them.

                I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

                by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 03:32:38 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  That's not what FDR, your model pres, did. (3+ / 0-)

                  FDR had a huge margin of "error".  Therefore he could afford to lose lots of Dixiecrats and/or moderate/liberal Repubs on any given issue and still have enough left over to pass legislation.  He didn't "force" senators to work with him because he didn't have to.

                  FDR had a huge margin for error.  Obama has zero margin.  Yet you keep demanding that Obama use the same tactics as FDR (FDR-the-legend, anyway).  FDR-the-legend's tactics wouldn't have worked had he had zero margin.

                  And even with that huge margin, FDR-the-man still had to make huge compromises.  I know you tire of hearing this, but when trying to pass social security, lots of moderate/liberal Repubs opposed him, so FDR had to toss blacks under the bus to keep Dixiecrats on board.  Why didn't FDR simply "force" the moderate/liberal repubs to vote for Social Security so that he wouldn't have had to placate the Dixiecrats by tossing blacks under the bus?  Or, why didn't FDR simply "force" the Dixiecrats to vote for Social Security without the anti-black provisions?

                  •  who said we had to be limited to FDR? (0+ / 0-)

                    You or the potato in your pocket?

                    FDR had a huge margin of "error".  Obama has zero margin.

                    There you go again, trying to have your own set of facts to go with your opinions.  During the first Congress in FDR's term, there were 60 Democrats in the Senate - when it took 66% to break a filibuster.  66% of the 96 Senators at the time amounted to 64.

                    64 - 60 = 4.

                    There was actually a 4 vote gap between the number Dems in in the Senate in 1933 and the number required to override a filibuster.  As opposed to Obama, who actually does have a filibuster proof majority.

                    I know you tire of hearing this, but when trying to pass social security, lots of moderate/liberal Repubs opposed him, so FDR had to toss blacks under the bus to keep Dixiecrats on board.

                    I get tired of hearing about it because it's as legitimate as the wingnut talking point that Clinton was at fault for both Waco and Ruby Ridge.  You know, when one happened 38 days into his presidency, and the other before he was even elected, much less took office.

                    You know: total bullshit.

                    The reality is that lots of people were excluded from Social Security, including librarians, nurses and teachers - not just teh dakies, as much as you sophistic brain would like to think otherwise.

                    And it's rather convenient that you never mention the things that FDR did do for blacks: creating the Civil Rights division in the Justice Department, signing an executive order banning discriminatory employment in the defense industry, and hiring more blacks to positions in his administration than any previous president.

                    But I guess those facts would interfere with the storyline of the lets-tear-down-FDR-to-make-Obama-look-better crowd, now wouldn't it?

                    I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

                    by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 05:58:49 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  66% of 96 is 64. 64 - 60 = 4 votes short (0+ / 0-)

              I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

              by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 03:31:27 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  66% ? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                KayCeSF

                And it would follow that

                66% of 100 = 66

                would it not?

                OTOH,

                3/5ths of 100 = 60

                and

                drumroll

                3/5th of 96 = 57.6

                giving FDR a supermajority in the senate to which you refer

                of  + 2.4 senators

                As I said, a stunning majority for FDR, by any measure.

                and so I lift my glass in honor of newbies, Hawaii, and Alaska

                "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

                by Sybil Liberty on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 04:19:34 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  Hey NB, awesome diary...but you already know... (9+ / 0-)

    ...my sentiments on your over-arching points-of-view.

    Having majored in 20th Century American History and Poli-Sci, I've been a longtime fan of your work!

    Yes, the answers have been there all along...the history of this administration will cover the inherent mistakes the President made by placing the Rubinists in-charge once again. Obama talks about "grabbing a mop..." but, it's really like something a parent tells his kids: "You made the mess, you clean it up." Inherent in that line, unfortunately, is the understanding that the other party is ABLE to clean it up. So much ego...so little time.

    Things are NOT good.

    But, reading a diary like this is what REAL HOPE's all about.

    Thanks again!

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:33:22 AM PST

  •  $5.8 Trillion is so not going to happen (4+ / 0-)

    It should. We need it to happen. But if we can't get $1.5 trillion over a decade for health care reform, we're not getting $5.8 trillion for another New Deal.

    I really think some still don't understand the obstacle that is the Senate.

    The myth that "all we need is 60 votes",and any 60 votes will do us progressive, is a fundamental misconception about the party and the fact that, even in tough times, most of the country is still not as progressive as the left blogosphere.

    Instead of calling people stupid, or otherwise insulting them for not agreeing with what we want, how about we get from behind the keyboard and start getting out among people who don't agree with us and start changing some minds so we can get more progressive legislation passed? Let's stop using "the media" excuse.

    As it stands now,we are going to get some type of "jobs program", but it is not going to be an amount close to $5.8 trillion, I'm afraid there hasn't been enough pain yet because enough people aren't in the streets demanding it. We need to make that happen and stop expecting the politicians to do all the heavy lifting.

    "Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." ...Bertrand Russell

    by sebastianguy99 on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:37:08 AM PST

    •  sure we can, we just have to go where the $$$ is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Einsteinia, gmb

      Bring back the 91% marginal tax rates and tax capital gains as income.  Impose a financial transaction tax, and increase the Estate Tax.

      Then the AG attorney general calmly lays waste to Wall Street fraud with some RICO indictments, and get billions more back for the taxpayers.

      I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

      by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:09:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  or reshape existing budget items (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Uberbah

        Require private government contractors to employ US workers instead of outsourcing overseas, is one idea. People don't realize how much more government work is being done by private contractors than in the past.

        Just making better use of the money we're already spending will go a long way.

        I'm from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party...

        by Betty Pinson on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 04:39:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  good idea (0+ / 0-)

          Require private government contractors to employ US workers instead of outsourcing overseas, is one idea.

          As someone else pointed out, it's maddening to call up J.P. Morgan for advise on food stamps and find yourself speaking to someone who's obviously not employed in America.

          I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

          by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 06:05:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  sure we can (0+ / 0-)

      just 5.8 trillion into the military industrial complex for for foot soldier.

      govt sponsored healthcare (check)
      people are employed (check)
      money goes to the defending america ! (check)

  •  the pharoah put ten thousand (0+ / 0-)

    to work building the pyramids. I say we start building non useful things like statues and non necessary buildings just to give people busy to do.

  •  Comparing Obama to Roosevelt is SO 2009 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Uberbah, priceman, Mike Taylor

    Now we know (from 2009) Barack is not even close to Franklin - and all comparisons are now mute. Barack is not going to take on his Party Establishment nor the Wall Street Thieves nor Big Pharma nor (well the list goes on-and-on) nor be basically Progressive at all. That was all for the Campaign and our massive support - not for real governing. Nope.

    SSDD with Barack

    Kick the Progressives to the Curb (a la Clinton)

    ObamaNation 2009! We Did It! ---- Elected > Rebecca Kaplan - Oakland City Council-At Large Seat -----2010 Oakland Mayor & CA-Governor - Undecided

    by AustinSF on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 10:42:18 AM PST

  •  Roosevelt was a thinker with balls. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thinkdouble, Uberbah, Betty Pinson
  •  I knew Obama was not a FDR pres but hoped (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NearlyNormal, Uberbah

    he would supprise me.. He has not so far.. Thats what I wanted and will try to get again.. but I lack the hope that Obama will or can do that.. He has done alot of great things.. but nothing ammounting to a investment in infrastructure, education, health, regulation and prosecutions for crimes of administration past.. nope.. no change. Oh and Tim Gietner.. why is he still in his job.. and not under investigation?

    •  "roses" for FDR. Of course. Wouldn't deny him. (4+ / 0-)

      But contrary to current conventional wisdom, it wasn't a bed of roses. Not for FDR. And not for the proletariate, either. Like Lincoln (and bush) FDR also suspended habeas corpus, he interred Japanese Americans in camps. Remember? I do. I watched it happen.

      Social Security? Not if you were an American farmer or a black American.

      Glory-days of FDR? Perhaps. Just not quite so much as viewed now...through the rearview mirror.

      "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

      by Sybil Liberty on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 11:14:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  again with the weak sauce (0+ / 0-)

        FDR also suspended habeas corpus, he interred Japanese Americans in camps.

        Which was an abominable decision, but we were actually at war and feared an actual attack on U.S. soil from the Japanese Navy.  What's Obama's excuse for continuing Extraordinary Rendition and Prolonged Detention?

        Social Security? Not if you were an American farmer or a black American.

        You guys really need to put down this canard, as Social Security wasn't a system of forced 401k plans with sky high fees.  And while it took another 25 years to pass the Civil Rights Act, Roosevelt appointed many blacks to positions in his administration and prohibited racial discrimination in the defense industry.

        Funny how you try to tear down FDR to build Obama up, but even that doesn't wash.

        I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

        by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:20:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  reality bites bah (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KayCeSF, carlos the jackal

          I'm not hell-bent on taking down either FDR OR Obama. I have absolutely no reason to.  

          You, on the other hand, are driven.

          "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

          by Sybil Liberty on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:28:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  we need to tear obama down (0+ / 0-)
            for the same reason any bad politician needs to be torn down.
          •  who's talking about "taking" anyone "down"? (0+ / 0-)

            This is still the reality based community, and the reality is that you've been diminishing and distorting FDR's accomplishments for some time now to try and prop up Obama in comparison.

            I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

            by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 03:47:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  see your current associate in discussing this (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sybil Liberty

              with Sybil Liberty.

              There's a sample of the anti-Obama left. You could spend some time on openleft for some other examples.

              •  hardly (0+ / 0-)

                Unless, of course, making a sweeping positive statement about Obama makes you an Obamabot.  But we all know that's not the case, right?

                I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

                by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 06:07:40 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  No, the reality is (0+ / 0-)

              that FDR, perhaps our greatest president ever, no more walked on water than Obama does.

              "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

              by Sybil Liberty on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 05:15:12 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Actually Sybil, the real reality (0+ / 0-)

                ...is that FDR probably got more done in his first 100 days in office than Obama would if given a lifetime term.  The passage of Glass-Steagall alone, which gave us 50 years of economic stability, trumps all of Obama's accomplishments combined.

                I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

                by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 06:10:21 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You wouldn't have wanted to judge FDR (0+ / 0-)

                  based on the first year of his first term. Nor would he have wished you to.

                  It's been interesting tho. I've said nothing to malign the great dead president, but if I had, it could not have harmed him.

                  I do have to wonder how Franklin might feel though, to know how willingly you exploit the facts of his presidency for the purpose of maligning a young Democratic one in 2010.

                  You have no objectivity, bah, only ulterior motives.

                  I'm done here.

                  "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

                  by Sybil Liberty on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 08:38:18 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Another great book on the public works (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, prfb, condorcet

    projects of the New Deal is Long-Range Public Investment, by Robert Leighninger, which details the legacy left on which generations of future economies were built. Read this paragraph from Leighninger's book (pg. 97 - reprinted here with permission of the author):

    In other cities, famous structures were made possible by the PWA, though none are identified in the public mind with the New Deal. How many people are aware that Charleston's well-known military school, the Citadel, has a chapel, a barracks, officer's quarters, and several other amenities courtesy of the PWA? At least two famous Chicago historians are unaware that the Outer Drive Bridge in the center of the city's waterfront is a PWA project. How many know that the Orange Bowl in Miami, the gold bullion depository at Fort Knox, the Tennessee Supreme Court Building in Nashville, the Jewel Box floral conservatory in St. Louis' Forest Park, the University of Minnesota's Coffman Memorial Union, the University of Texas Tower, the stadium and track at William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth, city hall in Kansas City, the Municipal Auditorium in Oklahoma City, the Oregon State Capitol in Salem, the Suffolk County Courthouse in Boston, and the Key West Overseas Highway were all PWA projects?

    And that's just a partial list!

    For an amazing list of the miles of streets, sewers, and ditches, the numbers of new schools and libraries, of docks, canals, of rural electric lines, see this diary I posted here in February 2009: A list: the legacy of infrastructure of the New Deal

  •  wait, I thought the government couldn't (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thinkdouble, blueoregon, Uberbah

    create jobs, only private industry can create real jobs that make money for the wealthy elites.

    rooted the sun and moon and stars out of the sky And lay in the darkness, grunting, and turning to his rest

    by innereye on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 11:01:41 AM PST

  •  Conservatives/Republicans are always terrified (3+ / 0-)

    that the U.S. government could actually support the welfare of its own people.  It undermines their "ownership society" where the wealthy live like kings and the workers subsist as best they can on the pennies they earn and everyone else can just stay out of sight while they starve and die.

    When society rallies around its own, causing everyone to rise together and become more equal, what happens to the kings and queens?  Don't they become obsolete?  Terrifying when you're already king of your own little world.  Must be stopped.  I have mine, f'k YOU!  Yep.  The Republican/Conservative creed.  Can't let government funded programs help anyone, lest the truth get out that the peoples' government WORKS.

  •  IF... our government was honest.... (3+ / 0-)

    the money is there. The Filthy Rich (tm) menaing the top 1% owe just from the Bush tax cuts... $5 TRILLION. That is the money plus interest that they owed the treasury and did NOT pay, in the form of the tax cut.

    Gee that $5 TRILLION would come in handy, huh? Instead the rich have invested it in China and India and other places looking to get maximum leverage... leaving the US to wither and die.

    We need to take that money back. As for work programs, it would cost just under $1 TRILLION per year to employ the ENTIRE 30 MILLION unemployed, so would could institute a 3 year $30,000 salary program to fix the infrastructure, and pay for material and 30 million workers for less than just the return of the Bush taxcut money.

    If we had an honest govenment. Too bad Obama was just another in a long line of snowjobs.

    •  Socialism is the middle way, between (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musicalhair

      extremes of communism and fascism.

      Liberalism is the middle way, between Revolutionaries and Reactionaries.

      Media Reform Action Link http://stopbigmedia.com/

      by LNK on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:27:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I thought Socialism was just... (0+ / 0-)

        ... the phase right before the state withered away, after which you would then have Communism.

        Or is that the old-school way of thinking about it?

        Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

        by billmosby on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 01:48:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  in both cases, that's the middle NT (0+ / 0-)

          My political compass: Economic: -7.38 Social: -5.79

          by musicalhair on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 01:57:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Food for thought. (0+ / 0-)

            Fascism and socialism both imply a goodly amount of state control. Fully developed communism, as originally envisioned by Marx, involves no state control. Fully developed libertarianism, as envisioned by, ..., I don't know who, exactly, but perhaps Ayn Rand would be in there somewhere, also has no state control. But would be pretty much diametrically opposed to fully developed communism.

            Seems like a system of organization with two axes somehow, to put it into geometric terms. One axis goes from selfishness to selflessness, with no state control at either end. The other axis goes from selfishness to selflessness, with state control at either end.

            Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

            by billmosby on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 02:08:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  LOL. These comments. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    carlos the jackal

    These threads are becoming more and more a Punch and Judy show around here with everyone claiming they know a little more than squat about FDR and "History" to make comparisons.

  •  You guys realize we are in a different (4+ / 0-)

    era with different needs right?

    •  So what's your point? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      An Affirming Flame, Tommymac

      That Obama can't take drastic action to fight drastic unemployment, or that the public wouldn't love him for it?  Or is this just another empty excuse for inaction?

      I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

      by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:23:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  different era, same needs. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Uberbah, RustyCannon
        different era, same depression.
        •  Same needs (0+ / 0-)

          but not same environment. Where are the labor marches, the populist movement? There are zero squawks from the left or the people, except the teaparties and the writs in the blogosphere.

          I bet Obama smells like warm cookies, fresh from the oven.

          by dancerat on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 01:50:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  other than the Iraq war protests, (0+ / 0-)

            the opposition to the bank bailouts, and months of health care rallies, of course.  But if an apologist ignores a rally, did it ever really happen?

            I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

            by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 03:49:50 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  1/3 correct (0+ / 0-)

              There were very large rallies against the Iraqi war. Um as far as opposition to the bank bailouts and the months? of health care rallies, all I saw were teaparties.  I went to three different "rallies" FOR healthcare reform in Portland Oregon, and none were larger than 20 to 30 people. I understand there was one held here that had over 100 people, but I didn't go to that one. So, no, we are NOT having populist movements across the US as they were doing in the 30's.  That is reality based. And I am not an apologist. It's rude to call people names.

              I bet Obama smells like warm cookies, fresh from the oven.

              by dancerat on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 04:27:36 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  maybe you should get out more (0+ / 0-)

                I went to three different "rallies" FOR healthcare reform in Portland Oregon, and none were larger than 20 to 30 people.

                I went to a rally that had another zero on the end of that number, and that was in freaking Fargo, North Dakota.  You have more people in a fraction of Portland than we have in our entire state.

                And I am not an apologist.

                Good job then.

                I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

                by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 06:15:59 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Unions have been killed (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dirtandiron

                  You have to look at it from that perspective, organizing a movement has to start at the bottom and a lot of work needs to be done to get it to the point of the 30s.

                  •  North Dakota is a "right to work for less state", (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Dirtandiron

                    so we don't have much in the way of unions here.

                    I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

                    by Uberbah on Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 04:13:30 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  same all over the country (0+ / 0-)

                      here in NY state unions are pretty dead except for state workers and the conservative media keeps trying to make it look like that unions are the biggest "special interest" in NYS and that is the reason albany is so corrupt, because all the politicians are beholden to the unions, just a ridiculous claim but a lot of idiots believe it because they think the news media wouldn't lie to them. But if you are reality based it should be obvious that wall st is the biggest special interest in NYS after all that's situated in NYC and if wall st is the biggest special interest lobbying washington DC it should be obvious that it is in NYS as well.

  •  Don't forget Eleanor. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maineiac, KayCeSF, jayden, Betty Pinson

    My love for FDR comes naturally--my grandparents had his picture on the wall right next to Jesus--but he was a man of his times.  His New Deal did far too much compromising with southern Dixiecrats when it came to the rights and needs of African-Americans.

    One person who never failed to pressure him to do the right thing was his spouse, Eleanor.  She walked through the slums and descended down into the coal mines to be with the people, something her disabled husband couldn't do.

    And she was a strong advocate for the rights of African-Americans and women, far ahead of her time.

    I suspect that Eleanor's positive influence on FDR may have had more to do with his positive policies than fear of Huey Long or Norman Thomas.

    Are you the change or not?

    by goinsouth on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 11:56:56 AM PST

    •  some facts to interfere with the storyline: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Betty Pinson

      Executive Order 8802:

      Executive Order 8802 (also known as the Fair Employment Act) was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 25, 1941 to prohibit racial discrimination in the national defense industry. It was the first federal law to promote equal opportunity and prohibit employment discrimination in the United States.

      FDR was pressured to do it, but that doesn't change the fact that Roosevelt signed the first anti-discriminatory policy.

      I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

      by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:26:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No need to blind yourself. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ribletsonthepan, jeun28

        I only have access to online sources, but here's but one analysis:

        The administration of Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945) was initially a continuation of the "gentleman's agreement" within the Democratic party that Northern Democrats would not interfere in race issues on the behalf of black Americans. To ensure the passage of New Deal legislation, Roosevelt could not afford to offend Southern Democrats by challenging the white supremacist system of Jim Crow. Roosevelt did not publicly support civil rights for blacks, and his administration was silent on the issue until the late 1930s, when the First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, began to speak up on behalf of black Americans. Without her persistent influence, the goals of civil rights and New Deal legislation would never have converged.

        PBS: The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow

        FDR was far less committed to civil rights than his successor, Harry Truman, who was willing to risk the unity of the Democratic Party to end segregation.

        Are you the change or not?

        by goinsouth on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:53:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  changes nothing (0+ / 0-)

          Whether or not he was pushed, he still did it.  And he asked to be pushed to take up policies, remember?

          FDR was far less committed to civil rights than his successor, Harry Truman, who was willing to risk the unity of the Democratic Party to end segregation.

          No, he wasn't Truman or LBJ, but he wasn't Jefferson Davis either, as some here seem to be insinuating.  For example, Georgia was keeping blacks out of the Civilian Conservation Corps, and guess who told Georgia's governor to knock it off or lose CCC funding?

          Roosevelt.

          I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

          by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 04:01:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Oh please FDR (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        maineiac

        was no champion of my folks. Sorry I have to agree with the above Eleanor pushed. If I recall correctly Langston Hughes said it better "Waitin' on Roosevelt"

        The impact of FDR with regards to people of color is arguably mixed.

        There is a romanticism of FDR. Yes, FDR moved the nation economically but I am not blind just yet

        •  YOU please (0+ / 0-)

          FDR appointed more blacks to his cabinet than any previous president, and signed the first anti-discriminatory policy in the history of the country.  And public works projects from the TVA to the CCC benefited blacks just as much as whites.  Oh, and speaking of the CCC, Georgia was listing all blacks as "unemployed" so they wouldn't be eligible for the program.  Guess who called up the Democratic governor of Georgia and told him that all funds would be withheld from the state if they didn't knock it off?

          That's right, Roosevelt.

          I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

          by Uberbah on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 03:58:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Political Strategy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie, RustyCannon

    a crash jobs program even makes for great political strategy!

    You some kinda commie liberal left-of-left fringie nutcase?  We all be middle class progressives here now.

    People want to keep from starving?  They can go get a job like us middle class people.  

    As Obama always says, "Hoovernomics rocks."  I think that's what he always says though I never actually heard him say it.

    Best,  Terry

  •  Very Timely Diary but you should change the Title (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RustyCannon

    to read Harry Hopkins Created 4 Million Jobs in One Month.

    Obama has no Harry Hopkins's around him - unfortunately

  •  Obama is no Jack Kennedy. (0+ / 0-)

    Oops, I mean FDR.

  •  FDR faced Fascist or Communist extremism (0+ / 0-)

    which isn't an issue now.

    The situation was so dire in the USA that people were quite rightly afraid of communist revolution or fascist take-over.

    It seemed like there were only two choices to defuse extremists--military draft or put men to work.

    Media Reform Action Link http://stopbigmedia.com/

    by LNK on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:25:31 PM PST

  •  Dem pickups were more than indicated in update (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie

    What's missing is that 10 more seats in the House were FDL seats in Minnesota and some socialist seats, who obviously were part of the Democratic caucus.  Same with the Senate.  The two remaining senate seats were Progressive Party/ Socialists.  They also caucused with the Democrats.

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - FDR. Obama Nation. -6.13 -6.15

    by ecostar on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 12:31:31 PM PST

  •  Thank you (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie, musicalhair, Pesto, Einsteinia

    and he also said to the banksters, "I welcome their hatred."

  •  Obama is not a Jobs President (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gmb, Uberbah

    He never campaigned on creating jobs and he has never seriously done anything to achieve full employment - something he has never even said.

    Like many "self-made" men, he secretly thinks the unemployed are just lazy.  He constantly pontificates about not making excuses for failure to achieve one's goals.

    Why is it any surprise that instead of a true jobs bill, he instead is promoting "green" jobs which enhance his agenda?  The jobs lost during Obama's first year in office won't be recovered until Obama faces re-election. Then he will suddenly "get religion".

    •  You're spot on except, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Uberbah

      Obama absolutely did campaign on creating jobs.  As the campaign progressed, he kept increasing the number the number that he would create.  (Always "good paying jobs.")  Sometimes he connected that job promise to "green jobs" and sometimes he didn't.

      When he hired Van Jones, I thought he was serious about "green jobs" and that it hadn't been merely been sweet nothings for the left.  Throwing Jones under the bus and clinging tightly to Wall St., the MIC, BigPharma, etc. suggests that Obama had something different in mind when he said "green jobs."

      (The Church of Rubin is the DC DEM religion.  That's not going to change in 2012.)    

      "Dulled conscience, irresponsibility, and ruthless self-interest already reappear. Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster!" FDR - 1937

      by Marie on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 02:22:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Blah (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    soros, skymutt

    Unemployment is a snapshot of the economy. If you pass a job stimulus program, =

    The only defensible "jobs" programs that aren't simply stealing from our children are direct investments that will facilitate private non-governmental industry that runs at a profit in the future. While some infrastructure spending might qualify, you don't need a new airport if you don't have any goods manufactured by the local private sector to ship from the airport.

    There are vanishingly few actual opportunities in this regard due to high US wages, de-emphasis of basic research and useful technology in favor of financial shell games and other bad decisions, and increasing saturation of the rest of globe with people as good or better at production of items of value than we are.

    That being said, rest assured that jobs programs will not and cannot be a long-term solution, they temporarily plug the dam as the waters continue to rise. The only solution is private domestic industry that produces items of value at globally-competitive prices.

    •  The only way to spur growth in private domestic (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marie, prfb, Uberbah, priceman

      industry is to spur demand for their products. When you invest in infrastructure on a massive scale, you put money in the pockets of the laborers and that translates to demand for products from private industry. It worked for FDR. He showed steady GDP growth until '37 when he bowed to the conservatives and cut back on spending programs. The economy went south. Then the war came and that was the most massive domestic spending of all time and that is what brought us back out of the slump that started in '37.

      When the middle and lower classes have disposable income, the demand for products and services skyrockets. Tax receipts also increase, which is how you pay down the debt for the infrastructure spending. Keep funneling the wealth to the wealthy out of the pockets of the poor and middle class and you kill the economy. Just look at what has happened to ours using that philosophy over the past 30 years.

      You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake. Jeannette Rankin

      by RustyCannon on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 02:08:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Economics (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Uberbah, priceman

      Apparently you don't have a very strong grounding in the effects of trade policy and tax policy on economics.  Your gratuitous attack on public answers to public problems through government intervention is both doctrinaire and short sighted. Apparently you are unaware of the 17% effective unemployment rate and the pressure on the private sector to continue to cut jobs and costs in the face of indifferent or falling demand. You also don't seem to comprehend that private enterprise only hires when they must, to keep up with demands made on them by customers.

      When you have tax policy that rewards exporting both jobs and profits. A trade policy that allows American companies to move production overseas in order to seek the lowest wages, safety, environmental and labor regulation they can, and then re-export their products into the US market. America ends up where we are today, with a private sector that isn't producing high paying or any other types of jobs.

      This simplistic set of "let the markets work" assumptions is clearly not going to address the current jobs crisis, only direct government intervention will work and has ever worked, no matter what the "libertatrian", "conservative", "free market", idealogues say, the government must act to help the American people by providing them jobs in a time of economic crisis.  

      "Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are..." George Santayana

      by KJG52 on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 02:52:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Re (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        soros, skymutt

        Apparently you are unaware of the 17% effective unemployment rate and the pressure on the private sector to continue to cut jobs and costs in the face of indifferent or falling demand. You also don't seem to comprehend that private enterprise only hires when they must, to keep up with demands made on them by customers.

        I am extremely aware of these things. It's unemployment now or more unemployment later, it's your choice. The piper must be paid somehow.

        When you have tax policy that rewards exporting both jobs and profits. A trade policy that allows American companies to move production overseas in order to seek the lowest wages, safety, environmental and labor regulation they can, and then re-export their products into the US market. America ends up where we are today, with a private sector that isn't producing high paying or any other types of jobs.

        You apparently believe that it is possible for America to continue not being competitive and that through government action we can continue to operate a market economy despite our lack of competitiveness.

        Government relies on the private sector to fund it, not the other way around. Fundamental economic progress is more or less only found in the private sector. The government merely facilitates the activity of the private sector by providing fire, police, courts, some infrastructure that's impractical to do privately, and perhaps health care if that system works better. The government only exists because of the private sector.

        We are priced out of global markets now. One reason is that our wages are too high, and a driver of that is government and trade deficits.

        This simplistic set of "let the markets work" assumptions is clearly not going to address the current jobs crisis, only direct government intervention will work and has ever worked, no matter what the "libertatrian", "conservative", "free market", idealogues say, the government must act to help the American people by providing them jobs in a time of economic crisis.  

        While "providing someone a job" may well be necessary, if that job is not needed by the private sector (or doesn't have an obviously necessary support function for the private sector) then the "job" is merely another form of welfare. Welfare / unemployment / social safety net stuff is something I do support, but then you should call this what it is, an unprecedented expansion in social welfare (that will be paid for either now or down the line), not some "reinvestment opportunity".

  •  Bicycle Program (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gmb, Ready2fight, 4Freedom, Uberbah

    My daughter just got back from Lyon and can't understand why Portland can't institute something like this: http://www.velov.grandlyon.com/... with government dollars.  It would help people get around, improve their health, and be all around good for the transportation in the suburbs and city.

    I bet Obama smells like warm cookies, fresh from the oven.

    by dancerat on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 01:38:43 PM PST

  •  A new Energy Grid, New Green works (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thinkdouble, musicalhair, gmb, Uberbah

    everywhere.. i.e. just like in wwII but instead of weapons.. massive green jobs .. like mandating green implimentation of solar and wind on all appartments in the nation by x date etc...

    We could start slowing down the process of this planets burn out.. I fear its too late to save but we could make life for our grandchildrens children bearable and elongate the process of the earths dehuminization process. Its going to happen its just a matter of when. By 2150 I doubt humanity will be in anything but small groups.. Cities will be abandond by and large..

    I am not scared but when I look at the grass on the lawn I think wow.. none of this will be here in 150 years.. I iwll not even be a momory and our world will  have animals and plants but very few if any humans will remain.. Just my theory..  

    But seeing the way the human race is currently approaching the earth. we are doomed.

  •  If only for courage and leadership. (3+ / 0-)

    "Be convinced that to be happy means to be free and that to be free means to be brave." - Thucydides

    by JasperJohns on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 02:12:15 PM PST

  •  Can we bring Harry back (0+ / 0-)

    It seems to me that all we need is someone with the guts and vision of Harry

  •  Imagine IF tomorrow Obama ensured ALL students: (6+ / 0-)

    No more than 25 students in every class room

    5 hours a week of physical education for every student

    1 hour a week of art

    1 hour week of music

    High Quality after school care offering access to playground and craft and science work shops (and NO television babysitting)

    Hire real cooks to make food from scratch in the cafeteria

    School gardens for fresh produce and educational opportunities for children to develop a taste for non-processed foods

    Public funded preschools for mothers who now must work to keep a roof over their chilren's heads

    What an investment into our future!

    What a way to improve lower class social standing and reduce crime and drug use!

    How many jobs do you believe that would put into our local economies?

    Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

    by Einsteinia on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 02:34:54 PM PST

  •  Thank you, NBBooks, for some much-needed . . . (7+ / 0-)

    . . . historical perspective.  It seems that some of us here have no idea what a real Democratic administration looks like, or how it works, either because we've forgotten our youth, or because we're not old enough ever to have lived through one.

    "Americans are a wonderful people: They will always do the right thing--after exhausting every other possible alternative."--Winston Churchill

    by keikekaze on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 03:00:29 PM PST

  •  so... (0+ / 0-)

    is there a realistic plan to pay for all of the new jobs that Obama should be "creating" ?   Just issue more debt into the market right ?  Ya.. that'll work.

    Hell, the government should "create" 35 million jobs.. why stop at just a few million.

    "To you I'm an atheist; to God, I'm the Loyal Opposition." - Woody Allen

    by soros on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 03:22:53 PM PST

  •  Roosevelt was elected by the nation (0+ / 0-)

    Bill Clinton was the last of the democratically elected presidents.

  •  Great diary. Two problems, though. (0+ / 0-)

    Obama and the Dem Congress.

    Occam's Pacifier: Conservatives are people who blindly assume that the most simple-minded, self-serving answer is always the correct one.

    by Words In Action on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 04:30:25 PM PST

  •  Why do we waste so much money on roads? (0+ / 0-)

    930 billion for road repair, by far the most expensive item on the list. We have to face facts, our road system is a waste of money.

    Stimulus money should go to high speed rail, not road construction/repair.

  •  Now this guy was a goddamn Democrat! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Billdbq

    unlike the man currently occupying the WH.

    Gary Wills on Obama's Afghan occupation: "What really matters are the lives of the young men and women he is sending off to senseless deaths."

    by formernadervoter on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 05:42:58 PM PST

  •  Good diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Billdbq

    unfortunately in today’s political climate a program on the scale of the CWA would not be possible.  

    In 1933, FDR had the benefit of a political climate and American public that was much more favorable toward government spending and intervention in the economy.

    First, you have to account for the fact that FDR had been given a nearly dictatorial sway to act against the Depression, such was the gravity of the threat the Depression posed to the survival of American democracy and government itself.  For example the Emergency Banking Act was passed in the House in 38 minutes, before many members even knew where their seat was.    

    Also, he had the benefit of a sane Republican opposition – for example, when FDR shut down the CWA, among the people pleading with him to reconsider was Alf Landon, the Republican governor of Kansas who would become FDR’s opponent in the 1936 election.

    Lastly, the American people’s attitude toward government was far different from the attitude we see today.  An often overlooked reason for this is that when FDR took office in March 1933, federal spending as a percentage of GDP, the number of people employed by the federal government, government itself was much, much smaller.  Also, there was no federal safety net like unemployment compensation, Social Security, welfare, etc.

    Today we’re talking about the inadequacy of government relief, but prior to FDR there was often no government relief to speak of.  In other words, Americans were far more favorable to government spending and intervention because they were happy to have any government help at all.  

    Today Americans are far more likely to want less government spending and intervention rather than more, simply because government is already seen as being so massive and omni-present.

    As any good politician would do, FDR simply went where the American public already was.  There was a groundswell of public support for the sort of massive public works and jobs programs along the lines of the CWA and WPA.  That’s simply not the case today.

    •  We've been drifting to the right... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      prfb, puakev

      for decades, so much so that FDR's domestic agenda was to the left of our current left standard-bearer, Dennis Kucinich.

      As the diarist states, those 4 million jobs in 1934 translate to 9 million today.  Providing good jobs for that many people today sounds very reasonable to me!  I'd sure like to try it!

      This is a great diary!
      I admire your vision, NBBooks.

      Tipped and rec'd.

      Strength through Peace.

      by Billdbq on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 06:34:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  today's Congress wouldn't pass that (0+ / 0-)

    Or anything like it.

  •  ohh, no wonder... (0+ / 0-)

    ..they want to call it "the war on TERA."

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