Home > Politics > FDR on Social Security

FDR on Social Security

Franklin Delano Roosevelt:  (thanks to commenter Preston Madison for the link)

“This law represents a cornerstone in a structure which is being built but is by no means completed–a structure intended to lessen the force of possible future depressions, to act as a protection to future administrations of the Government against the necessity of going deeply into debt to furnish relief to the needy–a law to flatten out the peaks and valleys of deflation and of inflation–in other words, a law that will take care of human needs and at the same time provide for the United States an economic structure of vastly greater soundness.” -August 14, 1935

Beautiful example of our country covering the asses of the rich and pandering to the poor with cardboard castles. Let me translate this from Politician to The People’s English:

“a structure intended to lessen the force of possible future depressions, to act as a protection to future administrations of the Government against the necessity of going deeply into debt to furnish relief to the needy”

really means: “We designed this program so that the government won’t go bankrupt taking care of all you poor people, which I guess we have to do, otherwise you’d all probably riot and cause a commotion that would further depress the prices of our joint-stock shares.”

“a law to flatten out the peaks and valleys of deflation and of inflation”

*the Fed’s inflation mandate didn’t come until 1946, so it is less weird than it sounds that he said this.

in other words, a law that will take care of human needs and at the same time provide for the United States an economic structure of vastly greater soundness.” 

“I want you to believe this program will take care of your human needs, that it is a pension for you miserable throngs of dust bowl refugees and soup line inhabitants. In reality, we are just taking your money now and giving you some back later, because none of you are very good at saving or investing, and frankly the economy has been so volatile over the last 50 years that even if you were shrewd, it is very likely you’d still be in the poor house. This will make the entire financial system much more secure because us richie riches will be able to sleep easier at night, knowing that we’ve contained the kind of widespread poverty that leads to social unrest and revolutions, and as an added bonus, it won’t really cost us anything since you all are paying for it. Now that JP Morgan and Andrew Carnegie are dead, and John Rockefeller is 96, practically the oldest man in America, there aren’t any rich people left who are willing to come to the national economy’s rescue, so we have to force you poor people to take care of yourselves.”

I am struck by the straightforwardness of FDR’s words. I might have the benefit of hindsight and historical context to assist me in interpreting them, but politics today seems so much more theatrical, so much more like a magic show with all the misdirection, or a professional wrestling match.

I was born in 1984, have memories from childhood of Reagan and Bush I on TV. They were relatively straight talkers who seemed to have no problem being frank about helping out rich “job creators”, but I guess it was a different time back then, the go-go 80’s.

After Lewinsky, 8 years of Bush II, and now 3 years of Obama, my generation could very well be the most politically cynical. Bush II was such an obvious bullshiter, but it worked to his benefit because you never could really read directly between the lines and get any meaning from it (maybe because he didn’t even know what he was supposed to be obfuscating, since it was Cheney’s master plan). When he was trying to privatize social security, he seemed just as confused as the public was, as if he didn’t understand that the goal was to “get this piece of shit off the government’s balance sheet!”

Obama is a good orator (sometimes I think that is about all he is good at); his deceit doesn’t come across readily in his words (I know some will disagree with me on that, perhaps I am too used to Bush II’s obvious chicanery), but his actions speak volumes for what he is up to: look at his appointments, the compromises he has made, the end result of the policies he gets behind.

Advertisements
Categories: Politics
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: