Saturday, February 9, 2013

LBJ Library: Video: State of the Union Address: President Lyndon B. Johnson: 1/10/1967



The State of The Union address is what the President at the time makes of it. Based on where they are politically and the situation the country is in and so fourth. What the President wants to accomplish and his ability to communicate and deliver votes in Congress. The President can have both chambers of Congress and even have large majorities like in President Carter's. Case in the late 1970s but unless he has an agenda that can move the country towards him. He's not going to have much success in getting that legislation through Congress and even it he. Does get it through Congress, he might not score many points politically from it like with President Clinton in 1993-94. And then we've had presidents whose party controlled both the House and Senate but had both small majorities. And could barely get anything done with Congress because his party in Congress or his leadership in the House and Senate. Were divided and also divided with the President and had different approaches, as well as the President. Himself being unpopular like with President George W. Bush and we've had presidents who've faced Congress's led by the opposition party. But were successful in getting legislation passed because of his popularity and ability to negotiate. Like with Bill Clinton in his second term.

President Johnson in 1967 had an interesting situation because he had a Democratic Congress. Where Democrats had around 250 out of 435 seats in the House and a Senate with 64 out of 100 seats. But because of the Vietnam War he was very unpopular as well as the emerging New-Left in the country thanks to the Great Society and Vietnam War. That believe really the only job of the Federal Government was to take care of people and not bomb foreign countries. And of course he still had battles with the Southern-Conservative coalition in the Democratic Party over. Civil rights but still managed to pass the Fair Housing Law in 1968. The 1967-68 period was very interesting in the Democratic Party because it was the begin of an end of an era. Where Democrats no longer owned the South thanks to the civil rights laws and the Great Society. Where Republicans were becoming more competitive and winning in the South. And the merging New-Left coalition in the North in the Democratic Party.

If you listen to this speech which you can on this blog. You basically hear what's called in Washington a laundry list, where President Johnson is telling Congress he wants them to do. This and do that and we should as a country meaning the Federal Government should be doing all of these things. And less of a this is where we are as a country, this is what we've accomplished and this is where we are still lacking.

PBS: The Great Depression: The New Deal Response

The Great Depression
PBS: The Great Depression: The New Deal Response

In 1933 when Franklin Roosevelt became President of The United States he inherited the Great Depression. Basically an economy that was sinking and collapsing with basically no money anywhere, or no money being created. And anyone who had money at this point in the private sector was not spending, or investing the money. The Federal Government was literally the only game in town that it could spend and afford to borrow the rest to make up the difference of money.

America need money to be invested in the country to get people working again. And creating jobs so people had money to spend to generate economic growth, or at least create a floor for the Great Depression and buy time for the American economy to recover. Which is very similar, but not exactly how the Obama Administration and Congress responded to the Great Recession in 2009. We can argue about the effects of these proposals, but that’s how they were designed. And at least to a certain extent were effective in dealing with the Great Depression in a successful way.

The New Deal represented democratic socialism in the United States. And the creation of the safety net. The New Deal and President Roosevelt wasn’t looking to end American capitalism, but to save it and create a system that could respond to people who fell through the cracks of it. And be able to spend money and invest in the economy when no one else had the resources. In a very centralized and anti-federalist way putting a lot of responsibility with the Federal Government to respond to economic crisis’ like this.

Which is generally what you get from Socialists Democratic, or otherwise and Franklin Roosevelt was certainly Democratic. But bringing a social democratic, or democratic socialist response to the problems of the country. Which is one of the reasons why his critics on the right as well as left, like Wendell Willkie a Classical Liberal similar to me called President Roosevelt a Socialist. Thats the situation that Franklin Roosevelt inherited as president in 1933 and how we got the safety net in this country known as the New Deal. Our first phase of the safety net in this country. Where previously we were more of an economic libertarian country, where support for these policies seemed extreme or far-left, or something. President Roosevelt made these polices seem mainstream.