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Looking back: In the early part of the last century.....

American was a land of haves and have-nots. The average citizen had an eighth grade education, worked long hours during the week and a full day on Saturday.

Concepts like weekends and retirement were unheard of, as were unemployment checks or Social Security or the minimum wage.

Just one in twenty Americans finished high school. Less than half of Americans owned their own homes.

Working class wages were so stagnant in the years before the stock market crash of 1929 that the gains in industrial productivity far outran the purchasing power of American consumers, and helped bring on the Depression.

The Gilded Age and the Roaring Twenties had served best to make the rich richer.

The New Deal rescued capitalism from its own excess.

The above are excerpts from John Farrell's book, "Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Century."

By 1977, mostly due to the Democrats, the American landscape was transformed.

Farrell goes on to say that Roosevelt's Social Security, welfare, minimum wage, and then the GI Bill, and then the Great Society's Medicare and Medicaid, food stamps, federal aid for education, Head Start, and grants and loans to middle American, the growth of unions, glued the nation together. Poverty was cut by two-thirds. Now 9 out of 10 Americans finished high school, one out of four got college degrees, and two out of three owned their own homes. A 5 day forty hour work week became standard.

What view do we have of America, what do we want this country to be? Are we going to go back in time, and give up so much of what we have gained?

Are we to allow those in the White House and Congress to take us back to a time in this country when there was something called the "Poor House" that poor people feared being sent to when they had lost everything?

Is President Obama missing what is happening in this country? Have those in Congress turned a blind eye, in their zeal to think only in terms of their perks, pay-offs, being re-elected and their future job offers after leaving the government, all too ready to sell their access to the highest bidder?

We must step up and make our voices heard. I just called again today and spoke with the Democratic Senator for Florida, Bill Nelson's office, who told me that Nelson will support President Obama's tax deal and vote for it, as is.

Nelson will not be a part of working to make it better. He feels it is the right thing to do.  The staff member then went on to read off a list, basically parrotting Obama's talking points as to why Nelson supported it and why it was so important to the country. I gave my arguments to all those. Nelson and I have a different view of where this country needs to go. Will I be voting for Senator Bill Nelson again. No, I will not.

Call Senator Bill Nelson. 202 224-5274 Fax: 202 228-2183

Contact the White House and let the President know how you feel:
Comments: 202-456-1111 /  Switchboard: 202-456-1414

I urge you to call/contact Congress and make your voice heard.
And if you want to post your Senator or Congress person's stance to let us know what we can hope for, or those representatives that offer no hope for a country that seems so much to be going backward.

Congress Contact Information

We have come so far in this country, we must not allow politicans in congress to take us back to those dark years, those who would put their own interests above our country.

Originally posted to allenjo on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 11:16 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)

    Daniel Ellsberg - "It was always a bad year to get out of Vietnam."

    by allenjo on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 11:16:17 AM PST

  •  SQUEEZE Republicans. Make them show how bad they (4+ / 0-)

    want it.  Demand MORE in exchange.  We have them in a position where we can demand almost ANYTHING.

    And they will grant it.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 11:18:55 AM PST

  •  Oh no! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Not a 2 year extension of tax cuts for the rich! The world is going to end! The sky is falling!


    by Mark Warner is God on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 11:21:24 AM PST

  •  New Deal? No deal... pure Hooverism. (5+ / 0-)

    FDR is rolling over in his grave right now.

    "Trying to hold back the revision of history is always a good thing." -- Peter Christopherson

    by jethrock on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 11:21:54 AM PST

    •  Harry Reid tries to add online poker to tax bill (6+ / 0-)


      Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is trying to use the tax cut package President Barack Obama brokered with Republicans to legalize online poker, POLITICO has learned — a move that could further complicate the deal Obama announced Monday.

      Already, the online poker proposal has exposed the Nevada Democrat to charges of flip-flopping on a controversial issue, as well as using his Senate leadership position to repay big casino interests that helped him win reelection in a hard-fought campaign against Republican Sharron Angle last month.

      Read more:

      Daniel Ellsberg - "It was always a bad year to get out of Vietnam."

      by allenjo on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 11:40:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  WHAT WERE POORHOUSES? (5+ / 0-)


    Poorhouses were tax-supported residential institutions to which people were required to go if they could not support themselves.

    They were started as a method of providing a less expensive (to the taxpayers) alternative to what we would now days call "welfare" - what was called "outdoor relief" in those days. People requested help from the community Overseer of the Poor ( sometimes also called a Poor Master) - an elected town official.

    If the need was great or likely to be long-term, they were sent to the poorhouse instead of being given relief while they continued to live independently.

    Sometimes they were sent there even if they had not requested help from the Overseer of the Poor. That was usually done when they were found guilty of begging in public, etc.

    Daniel Ellsberg - "It was always a bad year to get out of Vietnam."

    by allenjo on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 11:22:25 AM PST

  •  Auctioning off the Poor: (5+ / 0-)

    This is probably what I should have titled the diary.

    Auctioning off the Poor:

    People who could not support themselves (and their families) were put up for bid at public auction.

    In an unusual type of auction, the pauper was sold to the lowest bidder (the person who would agree to provide room and board for the lowest price) -- usually this was for a specific period of a. year or so.

    The person who got the contract got the use of the labor of the pauper for free in return for feeding, clothing, housing and providing health care for the pauper and his/her family. This was actually a form of indentured servitude. It sounds a lot like slavery -- except that it was technically not for the pauper's entire lifetime. And it had many of the perils of slavery.

    The welfare of the paupers depended almost entirely upon the kindness and fairness of the bidder. If he was motivated only by a desire to make the maximum profit off the "use" of the pauper, then concern for "the bottom line" might result in the pauper being denied adequate food, or safe and comfortable shelter, or even necessary medical treatment. And there often was very little recourse for protection against abuse. (See scan of an authentic record of an auction in 1832 in Sandown NH.)  

    same link as above

    Daniel Ellsberg - "It was always a bad year to get out of Vietnam."

    by allenjo on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 11:25:33 AM PST

  •  Can I finish your history for you? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You say that Democrats had done all of this by 1977, but at that point we elected some Georgia Governor whose antipathy toward the Democratic Party of FDR, Harry Truman, John F Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson and the one championed by Tip O'Neill, made it okay to bash all that it had been established by the New Deal, the Fair Deal, the New frontier and the Great Society.

    The result was the election of some movie actor who said, on the day he was sworn in that government is not the answer to our problems; it is the problem.  With the only response coming from Carter types who basically agreed with him, the die was cast:  the central thesis of the New Deal discredited.  Falsely.  But the American people bought into it.

    The New Deal era last almost fifty years. We are thirty years into the era of greed that replaced the New Deal.  Here is a prior attempt at making this point.

    Important whining and Red Sox stuff at

    by Barth on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 11:41:51 AM PST

    •  from your link (0+ / 0-)

      It is that "would seek to do no more" that is chilling!

      Instead, we said we were sorry for what we achieved, and would seek to do no more.

      And, driven by the dissension created by the Vietnam War, nobody on "our side" rose to the defense of the New Deal, and its successors: the Fair Deal, the New Frontier and the Great Society.

      Nobody explained the need for regulation, the reasons the government and only the government can and must protect us from so many things including abject poverty when we can't find work, and sickness, when we need medical care which we cannot afford.

      Instead, we said we were sorry for what we achieved, and would seek to do no more. The era of "big government" is ove

      Daniel Ellsberg - "It was always a bad year to get out of Vietnam."

      by allenjo on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 11:55:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  dark realities of the moment. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Moonlit Knight

    In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things.

    Values have shrunken to fantastic levels;
    taxes have risen;
    our ability to pay has fallen;
    government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income;
    the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade;
    the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side;
    farmers find no markets for their produce;
    the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone.  

     More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return.

    Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.

    Franklin D. Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address

    Daniel Ellsberg - "It was always a bad year to get out of Vietnam."

    by allenjo on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 01:13:43 PM PST

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