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Relief, Reform, Recovery


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    Under FDR's New Deal in the Great Depression, Relief, Reform, and Recovery was their battle cry. "That is, relief for the unemployed and poor; recovery of the economy to normal levels; and reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat depression." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Deal.

    This is exactly what needs to be done today and some of what is being done. But is it enough? Is there enough relief for the unemployed, poor, and graduating students?

    Is the economy recovering, or is it more we are tired of believing the economy is down, or are we just getting used to it?

    Is enough being done to reform our financial systems?
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    There are three points worth making.

    First, FDR enjoyed enormous support from Congress during his first term, 1933-1936, and was able to move quickly on his recovery plans without delays or blockage from Congress.  The Wikipedia article notes that after early 1937 "almost no new programs were initiated because of the opposition of the new Conservative Coalition." President Obama, while trying to be a bipartisan President, has found from the day he took office, every one of his initiatives blocked or delayed by Republicans using every trick in the book, most notably the filibuster or cloiture rule where a 60 vote super majority is required on almost every piece of legislation.  And his attempts to staff his organization have been stymied by an archaic Senate rule that allows any ONE senator to anonymously block his nominations. Republicans have made unprecedented use of both the filibuster/cloiture rule and the approval rule of his nominations for key positions. It has forced Obama in many cases to compromise to the point that much of what he would like to have achieved has or will be watered down and less effective.

    Secondly, the problems the country is enduring now were years in the making starting with Ronald Reagan and his free market "government is the problem" and "taxes are bad" thinking that so permeates our culture today. It will take years to undo some of the damage initiated by the fiscal irresponsible Reagan and aggravated by eight years of the disastrous Bush II. Deficit spending IS a Republican brand. There is a lot that can be discussed on this topic including the costs/benefits of entitlement programs and military spending, but I'll leave it for now.

    Third and finally, FDR did not have to contend with the lies and distortions of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and other right wing media types that sell hate for profit. They are not true Americans in the sense that they embody "We the People."  The "people" to them is the coalition of corporate plutocrats, military industrialists, and Christian fundamentalists that they represent, but not the middle class workers. Their brand of unchallenged "hating liberals," manufactured rage and phony patriotism has sold well with a "low information" public, many of them middle class workers that have been duped into voting against their own economic interests.  The "country first" motto of McCain is a joke.

    I'm happy to expand the discussion on any one of these items. But to answer the final question, no not enough is being done to reform our financial system, but I pin the blame squarely on the Republicans and their partner Fox News.

    I know I am venting, but this one hit a sore spot with me as I see needed finacial legislation watered down, blocked or delayed in committees by those with an alternative agenda. Our Congress, all Republicans but also some Democrats, seem to answer more to the financial lobbyists and special interests that funded their campaigns rather than the American people that elected them.