Thank you for visiting our website

Featuring breaking political news and commentary on local, state, and national issues.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Obama’s New-New Deal

Ken Kerr Bio

It's pretty clear how we got into this financial mess. The regulations placed upon the financial sector after The Great Depression were whittled-away over the past 16 years. This took on an accelerated pace over the past eight years.

We also know how we got out of it last time. President Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted The New Deal, a series of programs between 1933 and 1938 with the goal of giving work to the unemployed, reforming business and financial practices, and helping the economy recover from The Great Depression.

The "First New Deal" of 1933 was aimed at short-term recovery. Roosevelt implemented banking reform laws, emergency relief programs, work relief programs, agricultural programs, and industrial reform. There was a "Second New Deal" in 1935–1936 that included labor union support, the WPA relief program, the Social Security Act, and programs to aid farmers.

So here we are, almost 80 years later. Much of what Roosevelt did to restore our prosperity has been undone. And we now have the greatest disparity of wealth in the United States since the time just before The Great Depression. Greed and a largely-unregulated financial sector have returned us to 1929.

The Financial Bailout Bill—now renamed the Rescue Package—is just as necessary in shoring up the US economy today as was Roosevelt's support of the banking industry in the First New Deal. Barack Obama not only voted for it, but has spoken extensively in New Deal terms since last February when he spoke at a GE Assembly Plant in Jamesville Wisconsin: "For our economy, our safety, and our workers, we have to rebuild America," said Obama. "This investment will multiply into almost half a trillion dollars of infrastructure spending and generate nearly two million new jobs—many of them in the construction industry that's been hit hard by the housing crisis."

That sounds a lot like Roosevelt's New Deal to me.

Obama also calls for creating five million new jobs by strategically investing $150 billion over the next ten years to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future. He hopes to put 1 million Plug-In Hybrid cars that can get up to 150 miles per gallon on the road by 2015. He calls for these cars to be built here in America by Americans. And his plan to ensure 10 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025 will create more high-paying jobs for American workers.

Some criticize this as Socialism. They said the same about Roosevelt. So what? What is so wrong about a little socialism?

According to the Future of Freedom Foundation, any government-owned, -funded, or -subsidized operation is considered to be a socialist program. For example, publicly owned airports, sports arenas or government-funded universities would be considered socialist operations by that definition. And we have plenty of those.

What we need in the months and years ahead is to look back to what has worked and what has not. We need a cool-headed, thoughtful, scholarly approach to solving a problem brought on by decades of greed and anti-intellectualism.

I look forward to the next four years under Obama's leadership. I anticipate a rebirth of this nation as an engine of innovation, and science, and prosperity. And I look forward to reading the details of Obama's New-New Deal.

No comments: