Tuesday, September 30, 2008
A New New DealI understand pretty close to nothing, maybe even less than John McCain, about high finance - well, even low finance. My partner takes care of our finances, and periodically tries to get me to pay attention to some facts and figures, especially when she's about to make some sort of decision involving doing something with more money than usual. Not that we're playing in the leagues that have recently been about the only headline in any town, but we have been watching what's been going on, holding our breath with the rest of the country, the world. My ignorance and our very limited involvement in high finance keeps me somewhat shielded from the general panic, although I think it's impossible to breath the very air right now without pulling in a sizeable quantity of hysteria molecules.
As an FDR Democrat who has been saying for years that the government intervention that we need to get us out of the mess is a contemporary version of The New Deal, I was quite pleased to read Katrina vanden Heuvel and Eric Schlosser's editorial in the current edition of The Nation: America Needs A New Deal. Here, according to the piece, is how FDR outlined the situation in his first fireside chat, a week after taking office:
"We had a bad banking situation," Roosevelt said. "Some of our bankers had shown themselves either incompetent or dishonest in the handling of people's funds. They had used the money entrusted to them in speculations and unwise loans . . . It was the government's job to straighten out this situation and do it as quickly as possible."Doesn't sound much like what our current fireside chatter is proposing, to me. In fact this current Treasury proposal sounds kind of like the diametric opposite. And none of the bandaid addenda or changes to the plan are really talking about the kind of help a majority of Americans desperately need. Roosevelt's plan, however, involved much more than a "bad banking" fix. It entailed "relief, reform and reconstruction." These all sound like kind of ideas we need just as badly today, the kind of thinking that perhaps only Hillary Clinton is currently doing. In the article vanden Heuvel and Schlosser go on to detail some relief, reform and reconstruction that could pull this country out of this vast pit of decay and despair, and do it without requiring
another alphabet soup of federal agencies, micromanaging every aspect of the economy. It would simply ensure that federal spending is driven by the needs of every American. Anything less than this -- any proposal that rewards those who created the problem and penalizes those who can least afford it -- is a raw deal.
Technorati Tags: A New Deal, financial crisis, vanden Heuvel, The Nation, Schlosser
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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