Beyond The New Deal: Challenge A Right-Winger
With FDR's Second Bill Of Rights
Partially hyperlinked to sources.
For all sources, see the data
Your sources for this segment
include: the Boston Globe, the University of Virginia's Miller Center,
americanrhetoric.com, the Los Angeles Times, brainyquote.com and the New York
Two podcasts ago you heard me debunk
the right's claim that the New Deal failed, or even made things worse.
of course are, that the New Deal reduced unemployment every year, except when
Roosevelt started implementing more conservative policies. New
Deal financial regulations provided the foundation of a recovery and a stable
economic system. And millions upon
millions of Americans were helped
by New Deal jobs and other programs, allowing them to survive the Republican
The right's anti-New Deal offensive
is aimed at besmirching Obama's stimulus plan.
You know the old saying, the best
defense is a good offense? Well,
instead of just playing defense and defending the New Deal against Republican
attacks, let's go on the offensive.
I've got something for you to throw
at them that'll induce cardiac arrest --
figuratively speaking of course (especially since right-wingers have no heart.
Ok, cheap shot.)
What I'm talking about is, FDR's
Second Bill of Rights.
Have you ever heard of it?
It all started with his Four
Freedoms speech, his State of the Union address delivered in January 1941.
Listen to near the end of the speech,
where FDR speaks words I don't think were ever uttered before by a leader of a
major world power. If I'm wrong,
please let me know.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we
look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
The first is freedom of speech and
expression—everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God
in his own way—everywhere in the world.
here it comes, the never-before-uttered third freedom:
The third is freedom from want—which, translated
into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every
nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.
And then he concludes:
The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated
into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and
in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act
of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.
"Freedom from want—which,
translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to
every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the
Rightwingers and libertarians advocate the freedom to be in
want, freedom to starve to death even if you're ready, willing and able to work.
you're thinking of the same famous quote
I am, from Anatole France:
The law, in
its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under
bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread
made it clear:
That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a
definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation.
Not a pipe dream.
Obtainable in his generation, 60 years ago.
We still haven't. Damn
let's look at this strategically.
agree with linguist and progressive advocate George Lakeoff that we progressives
need to reclaim the word freedom.
puts it like this:
Social security, the
minimum wage, universal healthcare, college for all are ways to guarantee
freedom from want.
…The 45 million working
people who can't afford healthcare cannot all pull themselves up by their
bootstraps. An economy that drives down wages to increase investor profits
creates a cheap labor trap. The trap works against
freedom from want.
…For more than two
centuries, Americans demanded successive expansions of freedom -- progressive
freedom. Expansions of voting rights, civil rights, education, public health,
scientific knowledge, and protections from fear and want: These all made us
freer to follow our dreams. These were the ideals of freedom that I grew up
with. They are now all under threat, not by guns or bombs, but an
under-the-radar redefinition of freedom and liberty to suit right-wing ideology.
And a phenomenal way to go on the
offensive with this progressive concept of freedom, is by invoking FDR's Second
Bill of Rights.
It was January,1944, in the middle of
World War II. Plenty of hard
fighting still ahead. A conflict
that makes our so-called "War on Terror" seem like a walk in the park.
We faced enemies like Tojo's Japan
and Hitler's Germany that truly had the power to take over the world.
Not 19 guys with box cutters.
There was rationing, not calls to go
Did FDR say, oh, it's a time of war,
we can't afford to make sure all Americans have their basic needs met?
We can't afford housing, health care, decent jobs.
We can't afford all that, it's too expensive, not at this time.
No, the exact opposite.
In his January 11, 1944 State of the
FDR set forth what one of the Four Freedoms, freedom from want, would entail.
First he mentioned the ultimate
[A]n equally basic essential to peace --permanent
peace -- is a decent standard of living for all individual men and women and
children in all nations. Freedom from fear is eternally linked with freedom from
Then he went on to set a
philosophical foundation as applied to the United States.
More than the winning of the war, it is time to
begin plans and determine the strategy for winning a lasting peace and the
establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever known before.
This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its
present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights
-- among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury,
freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life
We have come to a clearer realization of the fact,
however, that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and
independence. "Necessitous men are not free men." People who are ,
people who are out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
played that "necessitous men" quote before, from FDR's 1936 acceptance
speech at the Democratic convention. He
likes that quote. So do I.
It's kind of progressive thought in a nutshell.
also a hallmark of right-wing thought. Necessitous
men are not free men, they agree.
But they want them to be
necessitous. To keep large numbers
of workers at subsistence level wages, too busy slaving away to challenge those in power.
And guaranteeing maximum profits.
goes on to name and flesh out his second bill of rights:
In our day these economic truths have become
accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights
under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all --
regardless of station, or race or creed.
Among these are:
The right to a useful and remunerative job in the
industries, or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food
and clothing and recreation;
The right of farmers to raise and sell their
products at a return which will give them and their families a decent living;
A living wage, not a minimum wage an
inch above starvation, but a living wage, enough to lead a decent life.
You know, in these excerpts. you're
not hearing a guy who, ok, he's great on the issues, like Dennis Kucinich, but
he's not likely to ever be President. This is the actual President of the United
States speaking. A President who'd
already been elected three times, and would go on to be elected for a fourth
I think I'd drop dead of a heart
attack if I ever heard a current day US President speak like this.
In a moment, more of FDR's Second
Bill of Rights. Stick around.
Continuing on with Mr. Roosevelt:
The right of every business man, large and small, to
trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by
monopolies at home or abroad;
Reagan and those Republicans
following him, stopped enforcing the Sherman Antitrust Act. And
Roosevelt could never imagine the size of the present day multinationals
dominating the global economy.
The right of every family to a decent home;
What, the underpass isn't good
The right to adequate medical care and the
opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
Truman tried to pass a national
health care program. Couldn't.
You know who's to blame.
Guess who else proposed
a federal guarantee of adequate health care?
Richard M. Nixon during his first
Thanks to listener Craig from Indiana
for pointing this out to me.
Hey right-wingers, that makes sense,
doesn't it? Nixon proposing a
socialist, commie, pinko-type thing. After
all, wasn't he the traitor who normalized relations with Communist China?
Listen to me:
single other developed nation on the planet earth has a guarantee of health care
for all its citizens.
they all crazy, or is it us?
are they so much more morally advanced than we are?
are we as a nation so morally backward?
that's not fair. The American
people have consistently supported a federal guarantee of health care.
York Times poll asked:
Do you think the federal
government should guarantee health insurance for all Americans, or isn’t this
the responsibility of the federal government?
64% supported the guarantee, only 27%
the last 10 years, the number in support has considerably grown.
The trend is our way.
the hard right and the health-industrial complex mega-lobby who sabotage this.
A compliant corporate media repeats ad
idiotic claim that it's not politically doable, it's properly off the table,
it's out of the realm of possibility.
these talking heads have gold-plated health care plans themselves, you can be
sure. As do all members of Congress,
including all those holier-than-thou, government shouldn't guarantee health care
let me get back to some more FDR for you, as he continues on with his Second
Bill of Rights.
The right to adequate protection from the economic
fears of old age, and sickness, and accident and unemployment;
And finally, the right to a good education.
All of these rights spell security. And after this
war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these
rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.
Now listen to this warning:
America's own rightful place in the world depends in
large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into
practice for all our citizens. For unless there is security here at home there
cannot be lasting peace in the world.
One of the great American industrialists of our day
-- a man who has rendered yeoman service to his country in this crisis --
recently emphasized the grave dangers of "rightist reaction" in this
Nation. mAll clear-thinking business men share that concern. Indeed, if such
reaction should develop -- if history were to repeat itself and we were to
return to the so-called "normalcy" of the 1920's -- then it is certain
that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad,
we shall have yielded to the spirit of fascism here at home.
FDR fears fascism if people are
unfed, unhoused, and the like.
I ask the Congress to explore the means for
implementing this economic bill of rights -- for it is definitely the
responsibility of the Congress so to do, and the country knows it. Many of these
problems are already before committees of the Congress in the form of proposed
legislation. I shall from time to time communicate with the Congress with
respect to these and further proposals. In the event that no adequate program of
progress is evolved, I am certain that the Nation will be conscious of the fact.
He knows the people want it.
finally, a propos of our own war on terror, such as it is:
Our fighting men abroad --
and their families at home -- expect such a program and have the right to insist
on it. It is to their demands that this Government should pay heed, rather than
to the whining demands of selfish pressure groups who seek to feather their
nests while young Americans are dying.
other words, war-profiteering chickenhawks
going to have to go off here again, at least a bit.
profiteering drives me insane.
In a 1939 radio address, the very
first one he made after WWII broke out in Europe, FDR said:
I cannot prophesy the immediate economic effect of
this new war on our Nation, but I do say that no American has the moral right to
profiteer at the expense either of his fellow citizens or of the men, the women,
and the children who are living and dying in the midst of war in Europe.
Another time, Roosevelt proclaimed
"I don't want to see a single war millionaire created in the United States
as a result of this world disaster."
Can you imagine George W. Bush or any
of these right-wing neo-cons saying anything like that?
the exact opposite.
As you heard way back in podcast 30,
of military contractors skyrocketed, as the cost of the Iraq War soared.
The biggest winner at least a couple
of years ago? Halliburton, Dick
Cheney's old stomping grounds. What
a surprise there, huh?
Nothing to do with fact Cheney ran
As a New York Times writer put it,
"look at the money machines these contractors have become as the war drags
the Bush family, including members you never heard of, is making sure to get its
podcast 37 you heard about William H. T. Bush, Georgie's Uncle Bucky, who pocketed
a cool $2.7 million in cash and stock.
The company he was a director of, made out like a bandit with military
contracts once the Iraq and Afghan wars got under way.
prescient was FDR?
that Roosevelt was correct, that his Second Bill of Rights is critical not just
for a fair and decent America, but for a peaceful world itself, is now smacking
us in the face.
a few weeks ago in the New York Times, under the headline "Job
Losses Pose a Threat to Stability Worldwide":
Worldwide job losses from
the recession that started in the United States in December 2007 could hit a
staggering 50 million by the end of 2009…
High unemployment rates,
especially among young workers, have led to protests in countries as varied as
Latvia, Chile, Greece, Bulgaria and Iceland [and I'd add, China] and contributed
to strikes in Britain and France.
Last month, the government
of Iceland, whose economy is expected to contract 10 percent this year,
collapsed and the prime minister moved up national elections after weeks of
protests by Icelanders angered by soaring unemployment and rising prices.
Monetary Fund expects that by the end of
the year, global economic growth will reach its lowest point since the
How serious is this?
Just last week, the new
United States director of national intelligence, Dennis C. Blair,
told Congress that instability caused by the global economic crisis had become
the biggest security threat facing the United States, outpacing terrorism.
These right-wingers and their rob
from everyone else to give to the rich economic policies are dangerous.
They're screwing up the entire world.
Increasing human misery, suffering,
pain and death on a global scale.
Next week or shortly thereafter, I'll
tell you about how FDR's Second Bill of Rights has actually gone global, been
enshrined as an aspiration by all the world's nations.
Until then, go on the offensive with
what you heard here today.
If your rightward-inclined friends,
relatives and acquaintances start bashing the New Deal, turn it around.
Say "What are
you talking about, the New Deal didn't go far enough.
I want to see FDR's Second Bill of Rights implemented."
then tell them all about it.
Hannity Truth Patrol: Do Tax Cuts Increase
Partially hyperlinked to sources.
For all sources, see the data
How would you like to now go from
sublime social justice philosophizing to every day, run-of-the-mill right-wing
Your sources in this QuickBlast
segment include mediamatters.org, and marketwatch.com.
Here's Sean Hannity and Mary Matalin
during the '08 campaign, propagating a lie that's repeated endlessly to this
day. Get a whiff of this mutual
reinforcement of misbelief, or deliberate lying.
Hard to tell which.
Sean Hannity, Mary Matalin
HANNITY: We've got to strengthen the dollar, we've
got to create investment opportunities. I'd eliminate the corporate income tax
-- just get rid of it.
MATALIN: Yes, yes.
HANNITY: Let's bring business to America and say,
"If you come here, you're going to make money, and you're going to get to
keep your money." I'd cut the capital gains tax -- the opposite of which
direction that Barack Obama wants to go in. Do you wish that we were hearing
more of these solutions to the Republicans' plan?
MATALIN: Yes, and my presumption is that, by the
next debate, not the vice presidential debate, because it'll be the presidential
candidates that will be setting the policy, that McCain -- John McCain -- who
started, at least gave the beginning of an answer to how he would -- what he
would do in response to having what is at least gonna be a short-term cost to
the taxpayers -- is that he'd freeze spending. Well, then the next step is to
lower taxes, because it creates jobs and it creates wealth back -- revenues back
to the government, starting with taxes, and do capital gains and expand that.
Every time -- we have to keep teaching history over and over -- going back to
Jack Kennedy, every time we cut taxes --
HANNITY: We raise revenues.
MATALIN: -- we --
HANNITY: We raise revenue. All right, here's my next
It's just not true
Don't take my word for it. Or the
words of liberal economists.
I'm not going to tell you what a
single progressive economist says.
Only those on Hannity's side.
To show you the depth of his intellectual barrenness.
Conservative economists say
what Hannity is selling is pure poppycock.
Take your pick:
Alan Viard, senior economist for
Bush's Council of Economic Advisors, speaking of Bush's tax cuts:
[F]ederal revenue is lower
today than it would have been without the tax cuts. There's really no dispute
among economists about that.
Edward Lazear when he was chairman of
Bush's Council of Economic Advisors:
Will the tax cuts pay for
themselves? As a general rule, we do not think tax cuts pay for themselves.
Certainly, the data presented…do not support this claim.
Here's another chief economist for
that advisory council under Bush, and John McCain's senior policy advisor,
You are not going to get
tax cuts to pay for themselves.
And another former chairman of Bush's
council, Gregory Mankiw. He wrote:
[A] broad-based income tax
cut …would recoup only about a quarter of the lost revenue through supply-side
growth effects. For a cut in capital income taxes, the feedback is larger --
about 50 percent -- but still well under 100 percent.
Even Bush Treasury Secretary Henry
Paulson at his 2006 confirmation hearing said
As a general rule, I don't
believe that tax cuts pay for themselves.
The radical left website Market Watch
that Paulson was "echoing the opinion of most economists."
And what about increasing taxes?
Does that reduce revenue, like right-wingers claim?
Some supply-siders like to
claim that the distortionary effect of taxes is so large that increasing tax
rates reduces tax revenue. Like most economists, I don't find that conclusion
credible for most tax hikes, and I doubt Mr. Paulson does either.
As mentioned earlier, all this applies
to capital gains cuts as well.
By the way, right-wingers are totally
happy with tax cuts reducing government revenue.
Starve the beast. Drown it in
the bathtub. All that.
So there you have it.
Hannity will give you phony stats about how Reagan's tax cuts increased
revenue, blah blah blah.
Just tell any right-winger making any
of these ludicrous claims to you, that the leading conservative economists disagree.