From Des Moines Register
When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt looked out into America during the Great Depression, he saw a third of our nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished. And he acted.
He imposed the toughest banking regulations our nation has ever seen. He radically transformed our country by signing into law Social Security, the minimum wage, unemployment insurance, programs that put millions of Americans back to work and a dramatic increase in taxes on the wealthy. The top 1 percent despised him for it. Instead of cowering, he took them on.
Three days before his first re-election, FDR stood on stage at Madison Square Garden and proudly proclaimed that the big money interests were unanimous in their hatred for him and he welcomed their hatred. He knew which side he was on.
When I look out into our country today, I see our great middle class, once the envy of the world, in a 40-year decline, with millions of Americans working longer hours for lower wages. I see 43 million people living in poverty, and the United States having, by far, the highest rate of childhood poverty of nearly any major country.
I see the United States experiencing more income and wealth inequality than at any time since 1928, with the top 0.1 percent owning almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent and with 52 percent of all new income going to the top 1 percent.
I see a political system in which billionaires are able to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to help elect candidates who represent the rich and the powerful, while ignoring the needs of the working families of this country.
Despite the gains of the Affordable Care Act, I see 28 million Americans still without health insurance and millions more under-insured and unable to afford the outrageous price of prescription drugs.
I see hundreds of thousands of bright and qualified young Americans unable to go to college because their families lack the funds and millions of students overwhelmed with appalling levels of debt.