Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Brent Abrahamson: President Franklin Roosevelt’s Second Bill of Rights Speech

Democratic Socialist?
This piece was originally posted at FRS FreeStates Plus

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt became President in 1933 he obviously inherited the Great Depression and created the New Deal to respond to it. By the early 1940s, we were committed to World War II thanks to Japan bombing Pearl Harbor and Nazi Germany murdering European Jews. President Roosevelt creates the New Deal, we get out of the Great Depression by the early 1940s, we win World War II by 1944-45 and President Roosevelt was looking to complete his Presidency. He was President for twelve years, 1933-45 and had plenty of time to figure out what to do with it. And he decided to build on the New Deal, which he called the 2nd Bill of Rights. Which has also been called the Fair Deal, which was about economic security for all Americans.

FDR wanted to create things like national health insurance, perhaps national healthcare as well. Education reform, perhaps a national higher education system. And all the economic rights, like a right to a good job, a right to a living wage, a right to health care and health insurance, a right to a pension. Europe has these things or at least once they did, but once you guarantee that all Americans have a right to a good job and other things like that, it makes it very difficult to remove unproductive workers. As long as they are not stealing or abusing coworkers that sort of thing. Because they now have a right to that job. Like someone would have the right to free speech and other things.

For any of these economic rights to be real, they need to be part of the U.S. Constitution. Which they currently are not, otherwise they can always be removed just by statue. And President Roosevelt was never successful in accomplishing that. What he should’ve focused on, was creating an economic system where everyone would have the opportunity to be successful. Based on what they contribute to society and that means quality education for everyone.