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At Consortium News, Beverly Bandler writes Fear Itself: Democrats Duck FDR’s Lessons:

Last Thursday – Jan. 30 – was the 132nd anniversary of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s birth. You’d think that the Democratic Party would celebrate the occasion: the birth of the Democratic president who led the nation out of the worst economic crisis in its history, who guided the country through a catastrophic global war, who fulfilled the constitutional mandate on the federal government to “provide for … the general Welfare,” and who devised the policies that helped create the Great American Middle Class while also stabilizing the capitalist system.

“No president since the founders has done more to shape the character of American government,” notes historian Alan Brinkley in his biography of Roosevelt. “No president since Lincoln served through darker or more difficult times. The agenda of postwar American liberalism was set out by FDR in 1944, when he called for an ‘economic bill of rights.’”

Nicholas Lemann in his review of Ira Katznelson’s book, Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time, reminds us that during Roosevelt’s first term the threat of fascism was real, that “alternate systems were on the verge of imposing themselves by force on many other countries.”

Yet, by the counter-force of his personal will and his creative policies, Roosevelt steered America – and arguably the world—away from that abyss. But modern Democrats are hesitant to celebrate the contributions of FDR and his New Deal.

These days, the Democratic Party acts more like an enabler of the Republican Party as it seeks to poison the memory of the 32nd president and bury the significance of what FDR accomplished. Instead of highlighting Roosevelt’s remarkable legacy, today’s Democrats seem afraid to argue the point that government is vital to a successful society. They shy away from that debate despite the fact that the lessons of Roosevelt are central to solving the problems that the nation faces in 2014.

Besides the mainstream Democrats and their timidity, many average Americans suffer from “terminal historical amnesia” and appear oblivious of the history of FDR’s era. Too many who came of age in the years of Ronald Reagan (and after Reagan) bought into his idiom that “government is the problem” and his prescription of ”trickle-down economics” (giving massive tax cuts to the rich and trusting that their investments and spending will spill over to raise the living standards of working- and middle-class Americans). […]


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2013Republicans start to squirm over sequester:

Republicans are starting to squirm and look for ways out of the upcoming sequester. And no wonder: If it goes into effect, it would deal another blow to the economy. It would be wildly unpopular. And, for all the GOP's efforts to pin it on President Obama, Republicans would be in for blame from the public—as they should be. After all, at the time the sequester was signed into law, John Boehner said he'd gotten 98 percent of what he wanted. So how do you solve a problem like the sequester? For Republicans, the answer is a foregone conclusion. You demand massive cuts to the programs that people rely on, and ultimately give in grudgingly on cosmetic compromises on a few teeny tiny revenue increases that Democrats and voters want and that would help the economy.

Here are some of the blows to ordinary people Republicans would be willing to trade to get rid of the sequester: raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67. Changes to Medicare premiums. "Reforming" federal pension programs. Chained CPI. Changes to Medicaid. Get the picture?


Tweet of the Day:

"Austerity is like a suicide pact. No large country has ever recovered from an economic downturn through austerity." http://t.co/...
@stiglitzian



On today's Kagro in the Morning show, we check back in on the Sochi hacking story, now called into question. Greg Dworkin gives us a flu update, and I catch the flu, live, during the broadcast. Next, an explainer on the "doc fix" and how it relates to... the CVS story! Plus: a new poll out of KY shows Grimes with a slight edge over McConnell; new jobs numbers confound the pundits, and; Jared Bernstein expands on the CVS model. The first ever hostage video featuring a captured military service dog raises some questions. AOL's new accounting trick gives C-Level Suite Looters a crack at your 401(k). And another installment of the Cocaine, Inc. story.


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