Obama's Anti-Populist Budget - by Stephen Lendman
Despite its flaws and failures during America's Great Depression, FDR's New Deal was remarkable for what it accomplished. It helped people, put millions back to work, reinvigorated the national spirit, built or renovated 700,000 miles of roads, 7,800 bridges, 45,000 schools, 2,500 hospitals, 13,000 parks and playgrounds, 1,000 airfields, and various other infrastructure, including much of Chicago's lakefront where this writer lives. It cut unemployment from 25% in May 1933 to 11% in 1937, before declaring victory too early and letting it spike before early war production revived economic growth and headed it lower.
Moreover, his key legislation included:
-- the landmark 1935 Social Security Act - to this day, the single most important federal program keeping millions of seniors from poverty or easing it for those already poor;
-- unemployment insurance in partnership with states;
-- two "Soak the Rich" revenue acts to make high earners pay more, another targeting tax cheats, and one taxing undistributed corporate profits;
-- the landmark Wagner Act, letting labor, for the first time, bargain collectively with management;
-- Glass-Steagall, separating commercial from investment banks and insurance companies, among other provisions to curb speculation;
-- public housing and low financing measures;
-- other initiatives to reform and revive the economy; and
-- had he lived in good health, perhaps a second bill of rights, an economic one he proposed, but died before able to fulfill it.
Saying the first one fell short, he wanted guarantees for:
-- full employment with a living wage;
-- freedom from unfair competition and monopolies;
-- medical care;