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radio4progressives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-31-05 07:52 PM
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FDR's "Economic Bill of Rights" - 1944 State of the Union Address

Franklin D. Roosevelt
The Economic Bill of Rights

Excerpt from 11 January 1944 message to Congress on the State of the Union


It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our peoplewhether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenthis ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rightsamong 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 and liberty.

As our nation has grown in size and stature, howeveras our industrial economy expandedthese political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. Necessitous men are not free men. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

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 allregardless of station, 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 every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

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.

Americas own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens.


source: The Public Papers & Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt (Samuel Rosenman, ed.), Vol XIII (NY: Harper, 1950), 40-42

12 How. 152: Necessitous men, says the Lord Chancellor, in Vernon v Bethell, 2 Eden 113 (1762), are not, truly speaking, free men; but, to answer a present emergency, will submit to any terms that the crafty may impose on them.

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stevedeshazer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-31-05 08:09 PM
Response to Original message
1. Kick
And, may I add this, from Huey P. Long' "Share Our Wealth" program...

In every community get together at once and organize a Share-Our-Wealth Society.

Principles and platform:

1. To limit poverty by providing that every deserving family shall share in the wealth of America for not less than one third of the average wealth, thereby to possess not less than $5,000 free of debt.

2. To limit fortunes to such a few million dollars as will allow the balance of the American people to share in the wealth and profits of the land.

3. Old-age pensions of $30 per month to persons over 60 years of age who do not earn as much as $1,000 per year or who possess less than $10,000 in cash or property, thereby to remove from the field of labor in times of unemployment those who have contributed their share to the public service.

4. To limit the hours of work to such an extent as to prevent overproduction and to give the workers of America some share in the recreations, conveniences, and luxuries of life.

5. To balance agricultural production with what can be sold and consumed according to the laws of God, which have never failed.

6. To care for the veterans of our wars.

7. Taxation to run the Government to be supported, first, by reducing big fortunes from the top, thereby to improve the country and provide employment in public works whenever agricultural surplus is such as to render unnecessary, in whole or in part, any particular crop.

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jaxx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-31-05 08:23 PM
Response to Original message
2. How did we get so far off the track?
Today it's big business, insurance and drug companies, and shoddy politics. The people are the last thing this adm has in mind when it's out pushing it's agenda. War and power rules.
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radio4progressives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-31-05 10:50 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. "The Republicanization of the Democratic Party "
I think this article helps to elucidite on what happened...

As the Democrats wrestle among themselves over how to update their partys packaging, a distressing, potentially disastrous phenomenon may be underway. If so, its implications for individual liberty and peace deserve some serious consideration. To start thinking seriously about 2008 may seem premature, but that never stopped the politicians from long in advance getting their gears moving and ideas flowing on how better to seize power. We know the Republicans are horrible, but do we have any way of postulating what will likely replace them?

First, let us rewind back several months when political thinkers across the spectrum began arguing over why the Democrats had lost to George W. Bush in the presidential election. All over we heard hypotheses on the trouble with modern liberalism, but the most frightening came from the right.

In particular, here is what Rush Limbaugh said shortly after Bushs inauguration speech this January:

There was idealism in speech, the notion that everybody can be free, the notion that we all can experience a better day tomorrow than the day we had today. That's not hubris. It may be hubris to them, because the left you could argue that the left used to have a philosophical base that was based on idealism: No suffering, no pain, all of this. It was never realistic but at least they were idealists. They were almost Utopian idealists, which was their problem. But what the president did today was make the case for spreading human liberty, defending human dignity, which were once largely the preserve of liberalism. If you go back and look at FDR's speeches and look at the number of times he mentioned God in his inaugurals. Go back to JFK. "We will fight any foe. We'll go anywhere. We will do whatever it takes to spread freedom and liberty." Hey, he couldn't be a liberal Democrat today. JFK couldn't be. Truman couldn't be. They were committed to the triumph of liberty in the world, and that's what this speech was about today, the triumph of freedom and liberty in the world and it is now conservatism that is propelling this.

One important lesson in this is that todays conservatism, even as described by one of its main leaders, is yesterdays liberalism: the GOP has become thoroughly Democratized. Perhaps more important in the long term is what liberalism will become tomorrow.

Notice that Limbaugh chides todays liberals for being insufficiently FDR-like. If you listen to enough right-wing talk radio, youll notice that this is not an anomalous critique among conservatives. Franklin Roosevelt quite possibly the worst Democrat in American history is upheld as a great model of American patriotism and wartime resolve, inadequately emulated by todays "left-wing" (and, truth be told, far more benign) Democrats such as Jimmy Carter. Todays Democrats would wince at nuking Hiroshima and putting Americans into concentration camps. This, more than their economic collectivism, is what conservatives say must be addressed for Democrats to succeed.

Seemingly following the advice of Limbaugh, the Democratic Leadership Council has quite recently asked its party to "recapture the muscular progressive internationalism of Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy and convince voters that national security is our first priority."

This is bad.

Despite the conventional conservative wisdom, the Democratic presidents since Lyndon Johnson have probably been less harmful to liberty than the Republicans since Nixon, but the Democratic presidents from Wilson to LBJ the ones who gave America its four biggest foreign wars (funded through inflation and fought by conscripted armies), its global empire, and its New Deal/Great Society regulatory-welfare state you know, the ones from which the conservatives think todays Democrats can learn a thing or two were among the very worst presidents this country has endured.

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1932 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-01-06 12:24 AM
Response to Reply #3
8. JFK talked a big talk, but he was every bit the New Dealer that FDR
was. Read Richard Parker's bio of JK Galbraith for the story. LBJ was a total New Dealer on the domestic front, but not on Vietnam. Clinton wanted to be a New Dealer, but gave in to the pressures of Robert Rubin, Larry Summers and the bond traders.
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agincourt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-01-06 01:38 AM
Response to Reply #3
10. The problem is,
Rush or Bush can use the media to praise principles that are the exact opposite of their policies and agendas. Yet still too many Americans see them as being sincere when they're not. It's rubbish that an FDR or a JFK couldn't make it in the Democratic party of today. It's also rubbish that GWB has anything to do with the "triumph of freedom and liberty in the world". That conservatives can blow such nonsense and not get derision from 99% of all Americans is the tragedy of American political conscience. Likewise I shudder at the thought of a Joe McCarthy of a Dick Cheney leading us through the violent times of the 40s and the cold war.
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AuntiBush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-01-06 12:17 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. Seems "it" Literally Fell In To Place in the Last 5-6 Years, at that.
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BrotherBuzz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-31-05 11:07 PM
Response to Original message
4. That, and the GI Bill of Rights paved the way to rejuvenate the...
middle class and create the true Golden Era of America that my parents benefited from. Oh, but we've fallen far and lost our way since then...
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rockymountaindem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-31-05 11:10 PM
Response to Original message
5. K & R
For one of our greatest Presidents.
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1932 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-01-06 12:20 AM
Response to Original message
7. Notice how this is the opposite of today: Bush is excused from raising the
middle class and protecting working people and saving people from poverty because of terrorism. Because of a global war on terror, people have to sacrifice their liberties, their happiness, and their economic well-being.

FDR would have said the only way to win a war against fascism and danger is to lift Americans up. We're only strong if each one of us is a healthy and happy and secure and empowered as possible.
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Blue_Roses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-01-06 12:58 AM
Response to Original message
9. I love FDR and
the legacy he left. My parents were big FDR supporters and even though I was too young to know him, I live with his policies every day :D

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Al-CIAda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-01-06 01:24 PM
Response to Original message
11. .
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radio4progressives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-01-06 03:40 PM
Response to Original message
12. Heads Up! - a DU Red Baiter is Refuting this in a different thread
Edited on Sun Jan-01-06 03:41 PM by radio4progressives
DU member WyldWolf is insistant that FDR's call for a second bill of rights was not a call for constitutional amendments - which is arguable - but he's flat out denying FDR wanted the 2nd bill of rights implemented into legislation - as rights recognized by the Constitutional.

It's a crazy making mind set that suggests because FDR did not mention the word Constitution, it is therefore evidence that he never intended it.

This guys is nuts as far as I'm concerned, but he started a whole thread on this question - it had orginially come up in a thread about Clinton and morphed into this tangent. I have NO personal interest in resuming the banter with him personally, as I have given this all I intend to. but if anyone else wishes to take him on... have at it! if you've got nothing better to do with your time that is..
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European Socialist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-01-06 10:15 PM
Response to Original message
13. That FDR fella needs his phone tapped.
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