The Economic Vision Of Franklin Delano Roosevelt

11/25/09 Robert Lorei
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As we head into Thanksgiving tomorrow, the nation is continues to experience uncertain economic times. We’ll talk about the economy in a moment, in light of two speeches given by Franklin Roosevelt, the President who led the country during the great Depression.

The number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week to the lowest level in over a year. The concern is that the big improvement will be temporary as the weak economy continues to push unemployment higher.

The Labor Department says the number of people filing first-time claims for jobless benefits fell by 35,000 to 466,000. That was the lowest level for initial claims since the week of Sept. 13, 2008, and was far better than the 500,000 that economists had expected.

Meanwhile, bankruptcy filings in federal courts jumped by more than a third this year, as businesses and individuals struggle to regain their footing in a weakened economy.

New numbers from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts show about 1.4 million bankruptcy cases were filed this fiscal year. That's up 34.5 percent compared with the more than 1 million cases filed last fiscal year. The bankruptcy figures cover a period from Oct. 1, 2008, to Sept. 30.

On December 1, many laid-off workers in Florida and their dependents who received federal subsidies to help pay for health care coverage will lose those subsidies and may join the ranks of the uninsured according to a report issued today.

The subsidies--which were started last March by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), but made available for only nine months--have enabled millions of laid-off workers and dependents across the nation to afford so-called "COBRA" premiums needed to continue health coverage from their previous employer. Without such assistance, these premiums would consume 83.4 percent of the average unemployment check, putting continued health coverage out of reach for most families.

With the program's expiration on November 30, subsidies will end immediately for the first recipients, who began receiving subsidies in March, and subsidies will end nine months after the start-up date for those who started receiving subsidies after March. Beginning in December, no new unemployed workers will be provided with subsidies unless the program is renewed.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. And some of us have jobs, income, health insurance, the support of friends and families. But for others, these times are hard. The unemployment rate is over ten percent. 297,600 Florida adults lost health coverage in 2009 due to higher unemployment, and some companies have frozen or cut wages and benefits such as payments to pension or retirement savings plans.

Already some economists and historians are calling this the Great Recession. Now’s a good time to look back at what President Roosevelt said about improving the economy for Americans. FDR led the country through the Great Depression, when unemployment was even higher. He created the first parts of the safety net we have: Social Security and unemployment benefits. We’re going to hear two short portions of speeches that FDR gave in the 1940’s in which he outlined plans for economic security for all Americans.

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Roosevelt's Bill of Rights

I will admit that I am not a frequent listener to this program but when I do listen I've noticed that most of the comments made by callers are directed at what is wrong with us as a country. We don't care for the poor, we don't give enough to the downtrodden and we are just nasty, money grubbing people. I cannot recall hearing anyone suggest how we fix this problem. That is to say that I can't recall a workable, realistic suggestion. As is the same with the right wing radio programs, the left wing callers to this program seem to have a ridiculous solution. Let me also say that I don't have the answer. I do feel though that doing away with capitalism and instituting a socialistic form of government isn't going to happen. The Second Bill of Rights may have had a chance during the era when FDR proposed it but during those time we had more people willing to improve their own situation than those that were looking for their government to do it for them. It's the same old story. You have to have more "givers" than "takers". The immigrants that came to this country during that time (the 1940s) were looking for a way to contribute (the givers) and were only too happy to help others. The overwhelming numbers of them were also legally entering. They brought with them trades and skills that were needed here. They were eager to learn the language and to integrate their customs with the customs of their new home. They wanted to become citizens of their new home. This has all but disappeared from our present day society. It appears as though there is no desire to part of the new community. Opportunists take whatever isn't nailed down and send it back to the land they left. I know that I will be accused of profiling but look at the demographics of those who are "running the cons" when they are caught. Until we all start working and contributing to the betterment of this country we will never solve any of our problems. As we all know, with rights come responsibilities not just benefits. There must be a reward for hard work and self improvement. One must also be allowed to give whatever one feels is appropriate and not what a politician deems proper. Thanks for you time.