The Same Old Deal: The GOP’s Fight Against the Ghost of FDR

During this holiday season, Americans should be grateful for many things, but there is nothing to be thankful for from Conservatives, and especially Republicans. In their attempt to obstruct the Obama Administration and elevate corporations to the ruling class, Republicans are not helping to provide jobs, adequate wages, homes, medical care, or safety nets for older, unemployed or infirmed Americans.

Like the Obama Administration, Liberal groups, and Secular Humanists, Franklin Delano Roosevelt believed that Americans deserved security in their lives, and worked tirelessly to provide the very things that today’s Republicans obstruct and deny for citizens. Republicans fought tooth and nail to stop Social Security for older citizens and it is no different today. Republicans propose the hideous idea that health care, unemployment protection, a living wage, and economic protection are privileges and not an inherent right for being an American citizen.

Roosevelt believed otherwise so strongly, that he proposed a Second Bill of Rights in 1944, and as is happening today, Republicans obstructed and rejected his efforts for no other reason than to favor the corporate and industrial giants so they could continue reaping obscene profits at the expense of hard working Americans.

President Roosevelt’s 2nd Bill of Rights was a simple, five point proposition that every American should support and benefit from. However, like we see today, Republicans manipulated the narrative to block Roosevelt’s efforts at providing security for the working class, poor, and infirmed. As history often reminds us, some things never change, and Republicans never stopped punishing working Americans so the wealthy can prosper.

In the 2nd Bill of Rights, FDR proposed that every American has the right to:

1 A job.                                                                                                                                                   
2 An Adequate wage and decent living.                                                                                            
3 A decent home.                                                                                                                                 
4 Medical care.                                                                                                                                     
5 Economic protection during sickness, accident, old age or unemployment.

These five items seem like a no-brainer, and as FDR proposed, seem perfectly acceptable in the richest nation in the world then, and now. Republicans in 1944 didn’t think Americans deserved these rights, and in 2010, Republicans still don’t believe every American deserves any of FDR’s proposed rights.

Republicans have blocked jobs bills because they were supported by President Obama, and in fact, also blocked legislation that would take tax incentives away from companies that outsourced Americans’ jobs. In both cases, Republicans sided with wealthy corporations and claim it is the right of business to deny jobs to Americans so business can reap higher profits and enjoy tax-free status.

In 2010, Republicans are considering abolishing the minimum wage, and are fighting to prohibit workers from joining unions that would enable American workers to earn a living wage. Again, their goal is protecting corporations so they can pay poverty level wages while they take in record profits.

Republicans also attempted to block financial reform that would hold banks accountable for the mortgage fraud and predatory lending practices that are causing millions of Americans to lose their homes. The Republicans and conservative groups like Koch Industries and the Heritage foundation poured millions of dollars into groups whose sole purpose was to block health care reform because they feel that medical care is a privilege and not a right. Now that health care reform is law, Republicans’ goal is to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act so every American cannot have adequate medical care.

Roosevelt did manage to enact Social Security so Americans will have economic protection during their old age, but Republicans want to abolish or privatize that system so Wall Street can have the funds to lose in the next market meltdown. Recently, Republicans blocked unemployment benefits for people who have lost their jobs to outsourcing, and claim unemployed workers are lazy, and by extension, asking for entitlements. Besides losing their jobs, they have lost their health care, homes, and a decent wage.

After World War II, Roosevelt’s 2nd Bill of Rights was included in the constitutions of Germany, Italy, and Japan after the Allies defeated them. Interestingly, those three countries are more financially stable, their citizens live longer, are better educated, more content, and more prosperous than Americans. The Allies knew that to create stable governments with productive citizens, they had to guarantee basic rights like those on Roosevelt’s list.

Americans should be thankful that they live in a semi-free country, but there is little else to be thankful for these days. Republicans have made a point of denying basic human rights to Americans in exchange for obscene corporate profits that translate into more obscene campaign contributions for Republicans. It is a vicious cycle that shows no sign of letting up, and now that the conservative Supreme Court has given more freedoms and rights to corporations, the cycle is a feedback loop that guarantees Americans are easier rape victims of big oil and corporate greed.

So Americans should say a collective Thank You to the Republican Party for rejecting Roosevelt’s 2nd Bill of Rights in 1944, and a bigger Thank You to the 2010 Republicans for continuing to deny basic rights like adequate health care, homes, wages, jobs, and economic security during old age. However, their Thank You should be sarcastic, and it should be expressed with contempt for Republicans’ gifts to the wealthy and corporations. One can be absolutely sure that German, Italian, and Japanese citizens are extremely grateful they have Roosevelt’s 2nd Bill of Rights; their happiness, well-being, and contentment prove they are indeed thankful. Americans should be so lucky; Thank You Republicans…for nothing.

18 Replies to “The Same Old Deal: The GOP’s Fight Against the Ghost of FDR”

  1. it’s all very very simple and it exposes the hypocrisy of the Republicans and conservatives. We can do this in a couple simple lines of code.

    1. Strong America and strong corporations = as many people working as possible, as many people healthy, spending and not providing a drag on the economy or society.

    2. A dying America and semi-weakend corporations = as few people working as possible, very few with money, very few spending, cost to the government of healthcare and cost of poor health of society to corporations.

    the only other thing that enters into the equation as the global economy and the American workers are now a much smaller part of that equation

    the hypocrisy is if the Republicans or conservatives are all for big business, then they should be all for Americans working. obviously they think they can wait two years of destroying the country to get elected into the presidency and all the sudden fix everything. But that will hurt even more because their corporate masters want total non-regulation and less employees. At least less American employees. Americans no longer have the leverage that they used to have.

    here’s a hint to you lamers that vote republican. How America fares is determined by how the American worker fares. You can’t let it go too far and then think you can bring it back. I would take FDR back any day.

  2. The Party of No has been against things like Social Security for a long time. Apparently, they can’t see the blatant contradictions in rewarding corporations and shafting the workers whose labor is so critical to the success of businesses. Just as they fought FDR in the 1930’s and the 1940’s, they have basically been on the wrong side of history when it comes to voting for measures designed to improve the quality of life for millions of Americans. One of the saddest ironies is that there are Americans who have benefited from Social Security, unemployment benefits and Medicare who continue to vote for people who want to dismantle these things. They are willing to shoot themselves in the foot because some of them don’t want others to also have these benefits.

  3. The fundamental failure of this article is supposing that the “rights” FDR proposed are actually rights. They are not. Each of FDR’s “rights” listed in this article relies Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto:

    “From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.”

    When someone has to forcefully confiscate from one and give to another, it is not called a right.

    It is called theft. Just so we’re clear, here is the definition of theft: the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it.

    Theft is alive and well in both the Republican and Democrat Ruling Class.

  4. @fleckman
    So tired of people like you and their absolute utter nonsense! Yes, believe in social programs–but that doesn’t mean we ARE “Socialists!” Please GRASP the difference!
    Republicans have a history of being on the WRONG side of history since the turn of the century–and I dare ANY Republican to give me a list of their accomplishments like those of the Democrats:

    • The Democratic Party members are the people who brought you a minimum wage and the promise of prevailing local wages, 8-hour workday in a safe environment, unemployment benefits, and workers compensation when things go wrong.

    • The Democratic programs of the Federal Home Loan Program, Water Quality Act, and Rural Electrification Act brought ownership of a home with utilities within reach of most of us.

    • Democrats awarded veterans G. I. student benefits, home loans, and health care they so richly deserve.

    • Democrats created plans, such as Head Start, Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Guaranteed Student Loan Program have helped us raise and educate our children.

    • Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Securities and Exchange Act help us enjoy a secure old age.

    • Democrats brought many of us our very right to vote in the Women’s Suffrage Amendment and Voting Rights Act of 1965.

    We must continue to fight groups who are trying to destroy all of these benefits that we take for granted now.

    A List of Democratic Accomplishments:

    • 8-Hour Workday

    • Social Security

    • Minimum Wage Law

    • G.I. Bill of Rights

    • Marshall Plan

    • NATO

    • Peace Corps

    • Medicare

    • Medicaid

    • Operation Head Start

    • Civil Rights Act of 1964

    • Voting Rights Act of 1965

    • Water Quality Act

    • Clean Air Act

    • First Man on the Moon

    • Women’s Suffrage Amendment

    • Workers Compensation Act

    • Unemployment Compensation Act

    • Rural Electrification Act

    • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

    • Federal Home Loan Program

    • Securities & Exchange Act

    • Guaranteed Student Loan Program • Family and Medical Leave Act

    • School Lunch Program

    • Motor Voter Act

    • 100,000 New police on U.S. streets

    • Balanced budget in 1998 as a result of the Balanced Act 1993

    • Davis-Bacon Act

    People should be handed this list of Democratic accomplishments every time they go to the polls. And what are Republican accomplishments? The Iraq war. Watergate. Funding the Taliban. Oil dependence. The largest deficits in American history. Etc. To me the choice is clear. So if being a Democrat and proud of my party’s accomplishment makes me a Communist or a Socialist, where do I sign up at?!

  5. Hello Demsfightinwords,

    So tired of people like you and your absolute lack of comprehension and critical thinking.

    Did I say Democrats were socialist? No. I merely proved that FDR’s “rights” were in fact not rights. Indeed, each one of FDR’s “rights” require that you forcefully confiscate from one person or entity and give it to another person or entity.

    Please grasp the difference between confiscation and rights. When you’ve done that let me know. I can then educate you on the numerous fallacies of your cut & paste list of democrat “accomplishments” that have absolutely nothing to do with my post.

    I leave you with the last sentence of my original post:

    Theft is alive and well in both the Republican and Democrat Ruling Class.”

  6. Smarg,

    It is against my policy to give a second of my precious time to comments like yours, but I will make an exception when one brings race into the discussion. On second thought, I will never give a racist any of my time.

  7. Yes, that’s what it is. Theft. Theft of the corporations from We the People. Thanks for pointing that out.

  8. It cannot be contended that the average American was better off after Roosevelt’s presidency and before Reagan’s. It cannot be contended that the wealthy have been better off since Reagan. This is not all that complicated. It should be pretty easy for Americans to understand that if they want the poor to be poorer and the rich to be richer, that they should vote Republican. History has demonstrated this truth conclusively. With Republican economic policy, wealth will always be concentrated in the hands of a few. You can believe that will trickle down if you want, but as Stephen Colbert implies, it’s not the kind of trickle you want.

    Thank you for writing this article, RMuse. A much needed corrective to Republican revisionism.

  9. What I pointed out correctly was that FDR’s 2nd Bill of “Rights” are not rights at all because they require theft.

    If that is what you are thanking me for pointing out, you are very welcome.

  10. So you equate “rights” with theft? So in essence Thomas Jefferson was advocated THEFT and/or confiscation as the only means by which to obtain “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” in the Bill of Rights, right?
    Your “one size fits all “theory equates to “comprehension and critical thinking” claim is laughable.
    And as to the relevance of my cut and paste list, last time I checked, FDR was a Democrat. The point of the article is the GOP attack on FDR is based on his party affiliation rather than on his actual accomplishments. Get it? Got it? Good!

  11. My point was that your claim is nothing more than your opinion. In fact, three other countries adopted FDR’s bill of rights, whereas we couldn’t get anything but SS and the Right is still trying to do away with that protection.

    I wonder if you can explain to me your philosophy regarding the role of government and point to a country where it’s been effective? I know Somalia is a “free state”, but I’m not thinking you would dig it there so you can’t possibly mean that.

    You claim something is theft but have no proof other than your claim. Long-standing political theory upon which our constitution is built acknowledged the need for a centralized govt to protect the people and give them a sense of security beyond just national security. The interpretation (and degree) of this is a matter of relevant debate, but for you to claim the notion of economic security and protection is theft is patently absurd. I guess you don’t think much of western political philosophers.

    Tell me, do you also consider the GWB tax cut theft?

  12. I never equated rights with theft. I showed that FDR’s 2nd Bill of “Rights” are not rights because they require theft by one from another. Let me refresh your memory with what I actually said:

    “I merely proved that FDR’s “rights” were in fact not rights. Indeed, each one of FDR’s “rights” require that you forcefully confiscate from one person or entity and give it to another person or entity.”

    If you had actually comprehended what I actually said you would have never asked the question.

    As for your statement about Thomas Jefferson, where do I begin?

    Well first and foremost “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness is in the Declaration of Independence and NOT in the The Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is the first 10 Amendments of the U.S. Constitution as ratified by the States.

    Get it? Got it? Good!

    Next, one doesn’t need to obtain “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”, they already have them. You would’ve known that had you taken a moment to comprehend and think when you read the Declaration of Independence. You have read the DOI, have you not?

    I proposed no theory whatsoever. From my original post to this one I’ve stated clearly that FDR’s “rights” are not rights at all. There’s your lack of comprehension again.

    The point of the article is distract the failure of Dems/Liberals/Progressives, through intellectual dishonesty.

    So, you have some homework to do before I educate you on your cut & paste list:

    – Go read the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Federalist Papers before you make a further fool of yourself.

  13. Actually, the fact I proved was that FDR’s 2nd Bill of “Rights” is theft. It’s easy to understand when you apply critical thinking:
    “In the 2nd Bill of Rights, FDR proposed that every American has the right to:
    1 A job.
    2 An Adequate wage and decent living.
    3 A decent home.
    4 Medical care.
    5 Economic protection during sickness, accident, old age or unemployment.”

    You need theft in order to accomplish FDR’s 2nd Bill of “Rights”. That is, one has to forcefully confiscate another’s personal property.

    You see, FDR’s 2nd Bill of “Rights” fundamentally goes against the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

    As for the three countries that adopted those 2nd Bill of “Rights” we can see how fantastic they work right now.

    I never claimed economic security and protection is theft. I proved that FDR’s 2nd Bill of “Rights” are not rights because they require theft.

    I’ll be more than happy to debate with you once you’ve comprehended what I actually said versus what you thought I said in order for you to give your opinion.

  14. Fleck what did you prove? Oh yes nothing under your logic the right to bear arms is theft after all I need to obtain a gun before I can bare it! The whole of your logic is flawed and based on your opinion not any facts. As for Miss Jones she has, property pointed out that 66% of American companies that do business in the US, make a profit in the US but pay no taxes in the US. In fact 20% of those companies (Nike, Google, Apple, Microsoft) received a funding from one more grants that amount to corporate welfare to the tune of 600 billion dollars. And that is just federal dollars not including state and local taxes that are not paid Wal-Mart ring a bell?

  15. “I never claimed economic security and protection is theft”. Yes, you did, when you claim that all of FDR’s rights would entail theft. They are rights of economic security and protection, which the founders and great western political philosophers thought to include MORE than physical safety and their own material property. You should note that where Locke uses the term property, he meant a range of human aspirations and interests — not just material property.

    Furthermore, your argument presupposes that taxes are theft which is a claim that contradicts the entire role of a central government. We are taxed so that we can fund a central government to protect the interests of the community. That isn’t theft. If you don’t like paying taxes, the notion of America is not going to sit well with you.

    If you want to debate the role of a centralized govt, that’s a legitimate debate to have based on ideology re big or small government. But to claim that taxes are theft or that we were not intended to have protections (rights) via the centralized government is quite simply inaccurate. No one is “forcibly” confiscating property when they collect taxes. When you use ideas that are antithetical to the system of government we’ve chosen here upon which to base the premise of your argument, it’s not an argument so much as a failed talking point/push back on ideology you personally do not like (or perhaps understand).

    Please show me where Aristotle, Montesquieu, Locke, Rousseau, Socrates, Plato, Cicero, Hobbes or any of the great Western political thinkers made the argument that you’re making.

  16. In all your obsession with “theft”, one would think you would be OUTRAGED that Republicans have enabled and presided over the GREATEST transfer of wealth from the working class to the elite since the Gilded Age (another time of Republican “ideas”.

    If you think that the American Middle class came about organically, then you are REALLY in the need for a history and a civics class. Don’t take my word for it – RESEARCH it yourself… throughout history, a vibrant middle class has been an aberration. It is the PARTNERSHIP between WE THE PEOPLE and OUR government that created the environment that made the American Dream possible.

    Your post only serves to prove the fact that Republicans have a worldview that insists, as Rush Limballs said, “some people are just born to be slaves.”

    The truth is, when government sets the rules of the game to benefit all, everyone thrives… sort of like back in the days when the top marginal tax rate was 90% – under that Socialist, Eisenhower.

    That tax rate ensured that businesses would re-invest in America, rather than force Americans to compete with Chinese slave laborers for jobs.

    But, you see, entire Repug agenda can be boiled down to 2 words – CHEAP LABOR. Republican are on a mission to restore what they believe is the “natural” order of things – that is – the rich own and run everything as the rest of us know our “place” in a large pool of “economically insecure” (as Greenspan put it) working poor from which to exploit. The Bible says, “know them by their fruits” and FDR said, “I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.” So all you have to do is look at what has been the result of inflicting Republican “ideas” on the nation – that is– the destruction of the middle class…. With the now-unlimited power (thanks to the right wing activist Supreme Court “Citizens United” ruling) of corporations to fund anonymous attack ads of Democrats, you should ask yourself this question: Why would those like the trust-funded Koch brothers pour unprecedented funds into a midterm election to defeat the representatives they view as standing in the way of their mercilessly using We The People merely as hosts from which to suck profit and discard.

    The fact is, the Republican Party has NEVER introduced, sponsored or supported a single piece of legislation that benefited the working people of this nation – NOT A SINGLE ONE.

    So, NO… There is no “theft” in OUR government creating an environment that promotes the “General Welfare” – whereas Republicans believe its only mission is to promote the “Corporate Welfare.”

    The fact is, taxes are the price of admission for living in a civilized nation. As it stands, the American People pay a hell of a lot of taxes for NOT MUCH in return but Republicans rely on the ignorance of their followers to cultivate the idea that indentured servitude to transnational corporations equals (=) “FREEDOM” with GREED AND SELFISHNESS the ONLY WORTHY VIRTUES.

    Sorry, pal. BUT WE LIVE IN COMMUNITY – and there are “commons” which all citizens have a vested interest in maintaining.

    If you don’t like it, then go move to that Libertarian Paradise, Somalia.

    Personally, I would rather live in a civilized nation where “We The People” have a government that works in the interest of ALL it’s citizens – not just transnational corporations with no loyalty to country or community and the top 1%.

    A strong social safety net ENABLES FREEDOM. You’re NOT FREE if you can’t leave your job to start a business because you can’t pay for Health Insurance.

    You’re NOT FREE if you go bankrupt for committing the crime of getting sick.

    You’re NOT FREE if you have to work 3 “uniquely American” jobs to not even come close to the same standard of living as “The Greatest Generation.”

    You’re NOT FREE if you can’t afford to send your child to college for the exorbitant costs.

    You’re NOT FREE if have to work long into your golden years because you can’t afford to retire in safety.

    FDR’s New Deal CREATED the American Middle class…. but don’t take my word for it…. research it yourself. When you do, you will see that Republican policies since Reagan declared war on working people has done nothing but turn “The Land of the Free” into “The United States of Serfs and Lords.” But you see, a vibrant middle class is chaos to Repugs. They say “Hell no – We Won’t Go” to their corporate oil wars. A vibrant Middle Class knows it’s power and gets a bit too “uppity” for the Repugs – so they have actively set out to destroy it.

    P.S. The name is the DemocratIC PARTY – it is the oldest continuous political party in world history originally named the “Democratic Republican Party” by it’s Founder, Thomas Jefferson. Have some respect for our Founding Fathers and call it by it’s name. But I get it. Republicans actually have NOTHING of substance to offer the American People, so they must resort to immature semantic schoolyard name-calling while they appeal to the WORST aspects of the human psyche in order to make people stupid enough to vote Republican – to vote for their own demise – like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders.

    Another day, more

  17. Your argument leaves out one crucial definition…the definition of the word “right”(n).

    After that look up the word “owned”(slang)

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