We need FDR – or someone like him

I’m a little tired of The Nation these days, and find much of its reporting simplistic, cliched and flat-out boring. Still, its commitment to progressive, left politics remains its primary focus, and in that sense it often speaks for me – including this recent editorial from editor Katrina vanden Heuvel and economic reporter Eric Schlosser. It echoes my deepest political sentiments about the current financial crisis in America: i.e., We need a new New Deal, and we need it now. Thank you to Katrina and Eric for explaining what this could mean in 2008 – and saying it directly (via the Wall Street Journal) to the capitalists who created this mess in the first place:

The size and scale of the Bush administration’s proposal are mind-boggling. During the New Deal, the Roosevelt administration spent about $250 billion (in today’s dollars) on public-works projects, building about 8,000 parks, 40,000 public buildings, 72,000 schools and 80,000 bridges. The entire cost of all the New Deal programs (in today’s dollars) was about $500 billion. The secretary of the Treasury now wants to spend perhaps twice that amount, simply to prevent a financial collapse.

Of course, something must be done–and quickly. “Government intervention is not only warranted,” President George W. Bush said last week. “It is essential.” With those nine words, he contradicted the governing philosophy of the Republican Party for the past thirty years.

According to President Roosevelt, the New Deal had three fundamental aims: relief, reform and reconstruction. On Wednesday night, President Bush described his far more expensive but far less inclusive spending plan as merely a “rescue effort.” Mr. Bush’s proposal–to hand over $700 billion to Wall Street banks without any Congressional oversight, without any means to prevent conflicts of interest, or without any measures to help ordinary Americans–was disgraceful.

Brilliant. Click here to read the full article. _fdr2.jpg

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