1. You support welfare programs and government make-work programs as emergency measures during periods of economic hard times, but you believe that the government should not otherwise be in the welfare business because the government dole acts like a narcotic that destroys the human spirit, saps the vitality of its recipients while government make-work programs erode a person?s work ethic. And under no circumstances are you willing to support government welfare or make-work programs when you have to borrow money to pay for them.
2. You support higher tax rates for the rich in principle, but you won?t make any real effort to have higher tax rates written into law.
3. You favor a mildly inflationary monetary policy as a means of increasing the amount of money in circulation in order to spur economic activity during times of economic distress, but you would rather let a bad economy continue than cause hyper-inflation.
4. You support labor unions? right to collective bargaining with employers, but you generally support employers whenever a union goes on strike because you fear the social unrest and economic disruption that strikes can cause.
5. You support minimum wage laws, but you don?t actively work towards their adoption.
6. You support government spending as a means of spurring the economy when the economy is bad, but only as long as you don?t have to go into debt to do it.
7. You support some welfare programs, but you generally discriminate against women, particularly married women that have able-bodied husbands, so you can uphold traditional marriage norms and maintain the nuclear family.
1. Welfare and creating jobs as "emergency measures" sounds good but what do you do when there is no longer an emergency? It is easier to add entitlements and jobs than to get rid of them. Our gov't will maintain these things even in debt (as we are now).
2. Higher tax rates for the "rich". (need I say more?)
3. This would only work in the fantacy that moderation is a viable option. Inflation is a tax on everyone's spending power (I don't think most people realize this..)
4. This (unions) artificially alter factors of supply and demand which results in other problems such as higher priced products or lower quality products.
5. Again, this artificially alters factors of supply and demand which has negative effects.
6. See number 1.
7. Not quite clear on this one....
I chose not to elaborate too much because there are several issues covered here and wanted to simply answer your question.
I say Liberal. Only because whether one feels that way or a little more hard lined that way, I think the end result is the same.
The person I have described here is Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He was a liberal by the standards of his day, but only because the people identified then as conservatives were more reactionary than they were conservative.
In today?s political climate FDR should be considered a conservative. Even though he was liberal in his methodology he was rather conservative in his goals and objectives.
I spent the first third of my life being told by my grandparents that Franklin D. Roosevelt was the greatest saint in history who saved the country during the Great Depression. I spent the next third of my life being told by Ronald Reagan and the Republican Party/libertarian fringe that Franklin D. Roosevelt was the greatest villain in history who did nothing but prolong the Great Depression.
But in 2009 I decided to spend the last third of my life thinking for myself.
To the left Franklin D. Roosevelt is presented as being the founding father of modern liberalism. To the right Franklin D. Roosevelt is presented as an arch-socialist who was hell-bent on effecting the country?s demise. Neither presentation seems to be entirely true. We have all been lied to for the sake of politics. We have allowed today?s politics to color our perception of the past and hamstring our prospects for the future. But it is absolute folly to project the politics of today onto the history of the past; both get mangled in the process.
It is amazing and alarming how the times have changed. All in all there was practically no partisan bickering during the 1930s- certainly nothing comparable to what the country had known before (outside of the Civil War) or has experienced since. The United States had a kinder, gentler politics in the 1930s. Then, as opposed to now, the parties were willing and able to put the country?s interests ahead of their own.
The Republicans of the 1930s (unlike the libertarians that have controlled the party since the 1970s) came from a pro-active government tradition that saw Republican support for the Homestead laws and the creation of the public school systems in the South during Reconstruction as well as protective tariffs, government subsidies to the railroad industry, trust busting and the income tax. Republicans of the 1930s did not oppose the New Deal on philosophical grounds. They may have opposed Roosevelt?s tactics and their failure to quickly achieve their objective, but Republicans generally supported their objective- ending the Great Depression.
At the same time the Democrats were equally tame. They were groping in the dark, looking for their core political philosophy after finding themselves the dominant party again after eight decades in which they had won only four presidential elections (Cleveland and Wilson twice each). Not since the Era of Good Feelings that followed the end of the War of 1812 had national political factions been so united in a common cause.
America?s political parties are no longer united with each other, and their disunion has given contemporary Americans a false view of the past which threatens the prospects for their future.
I have studied history, mainly American history, for almost as long as I have known how to read- over 35 years. My bachelor?s degree in biology comes with 40 credit hours in history. In all of my schooling and all of my reading (until now) I have never been given an accurate picture of FDR. I was foolish enough to fall for the left?s wishful thinking and the right?s empty rhetoric.
But, in 2009 I read Walter E. Leuchtenburg?s Franklin D. Roosevelt and The New Deal, and I am seeing FDR in an entirely new light.
1. FDR had no pre-conceived agenda when he received the Democrat Party?s 1932 presidential nomination. The term ?new deal? was just something that Roosevelt used on the spur of the moment during his acceptance speech at the 1932 Democrat National Convention. During the campaign FDR complained about Herbert Hoover?s relief and recovery spending- programs similar to what Roosevelt himself eventually implemented. The New Deal was a hodge-podge of under-developed ideas and policies that FDR and his Brain Trust advisors put together between Election Day 1932 and Inauguration Day 1933. The American People in 1932 (much as they did in 1992 and 2008) elected someone who did not have any concrete policy goals. The New Deal, as embodied by the first hundred days of the congressional session in 1933, was more a reaction to current events (the bank crisis for example) than it was a concerted plan from Roosevelt. All in all several of the programs we now most associate with Roosevelt?s New Deal (ones that still have socio-economic and political implications today- FHA, unemployment insurance and Social Security) came more from liberals in Congress rather than Roosevelt, who was not immediately willing to match congressional liberals in boldness.
2. Unlike Republicans and Democrats of recent decades FDR was a deficit hawk. He was not interested in budget-busting federal spending even at the cost of prolonging the Great Depression. And for the most part the American People were in no mood for deficits either. In the midst of the Hundred Days Congress that approved, with astonishing speed, FDR?s first round of New Deal relief, recovery and reform programs came the Economy Bill- legislation deigned to reduce federal spending by cutting veterans? benefits and salaries for federal employees. There is no mention of the Economy Bill in my advanced placement American History text, Bailey et al?s The American Pageant, and liberals excoriate Hoover for having General MacArthur drive the Bonus Army out of D.C. In liberal academia FDR can do no wrong while anyone named Reagan or Bush can do no right. In comparison to Reagan, both Bushs and the Republican-controlled Congress from 1995 to 2007 FDR and the Democrats of the 1930s are the conservatives ones.
3. FDR was not the friend of labor that the left supposes him to be. Roosevelt did not like labor unions. He saw unions as the source of labor unrest and he believed that labor unrest would prevent economic recovery. Ronald Reagan may have been a union buster, but FDR would have preferred that unions were not established in the first place. The National Recovery Administration that was designed to promote economic cooperation rather than competition among American industrialists gave labor no concrete role in the process. The NRA said unions had a right to collective bargaining, but FDR usually sided with management whenever a labor dispute went to federal arbitration.
4. FDR was opposed to spending the money necessary to stimulate the economy enough to end the Great Depression. He didn?t entirely understand or trust Keynesian theory whereby government spending is supposed to stimulate the economy. Pumping money into the building industry would have had trickle-down effects throughout the economy that could have ended the Depression, but FDR was never willing to spend enough money to do it. And with the WPA, CWA and PWA all having the same purpose and each with an administrator that was more often than not at loggerheads with the administrators of the other agencies there was so much infighting within FDR?s administration that the small amount of money that he was willing to spend to stimulate the economy didn?t stand a chance of being effective. In the long run Ronald Reagan was more of a Keynesian that Roosevelt was even though Reagan was supposed to be the champion of supply-side economics. Between increased welfare spending and his defense buildup Reagan spent money to stimulate the economy that Roosevelt never would have considered before Pearl Harbor.
5. FDR was opposed to welfare spending as much for philosophical reasons as budgetary reasons. He (correctly) thought government handouts would encourage people to be lazy and unwilling to accept whatever jobs that may be available. Direct government payments to individuals during FDR?s administration were a pittance compared to what they become under Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Slick, Bush II and now Obama. The so-called liberal FDR was more opposed to the welfare state than any of his so-called conservative successors have been.
In a lot of ways FDR was the quintessential conservative.
1. He supported government regulation of the economy in order to keep buyers and sellers honest so dishonesty in the name of self-interest, i.e., profit would not destroy the economy. Conservatives, unlike libertarians on the net and in the Republican Party that masquerade as conservatives, do not support laissez faire capitalism because an economy regulated by nothing other than the profit motive tends to concentrate wealth in the few and poverty in the many- both of which have the potential to destroy society.
2. FDR didn?t support the idea of spending more than you could afford to spend lest you hamstring future generations with debt. Conservatives see society?s past, present and future as an integrated whole. Each generation is entitled to the wisdom and providence of the ones that came before and is obligated to the generations that come after it. Modern liberals and libertarians care only about today, only about their here and now. They cannot learn from the past and they don?t care about the future.
3. FDR was opposed to anything that could spark social unrest, thus his opposition to labor unions and the concentration of people- potential troublemakers- in cities (FDR didn?t support federal involvement in slum clearance or urban renewal preferring instead that everyone live in the country).
4. FDR was opposed to any government welfare system that could create a dependency class by discouraging self-reliance, thrift and a willingness to work regardless of the job. A welfare state is the one of the surest ways known to destroy society, and sadly recent decades have proven FDR?s wisdom in this matter.
5. For the most part FDR supported sound money- always a conservative goal. The ultimate cause of the Great Depression is the loss of money in circulation. During the Roaring Twenties the rich borrowed money to play the stock market while everybody else borrowed money so they could buy consumer goods that they couldn?t afford otherwise (sound familiar?). The economy was bigger than the amount of real money in circulation said it could be because so much money existed only in accounting records and not in bank vaults, piggy banks and under mattresses. Then the stock market collapsed, credit dried up and the economy tanked. We reached a point where the cost of production was often higher than the retail price that consumers could afford to pay because there was so little money in circulation. FDR wrongly took the country off the gold standard and unconstitutionally decreed that private individuals could no longer own gold (usurping Congress? power to coin and regulate money and Americans? 10 Amendment right to own gold). But he then refused to replace gold with enough paper money or silver to cause enough inflation to raise consumer prices enough to stimulate industry enough to create jobs.
6. Women who had an able-bodied husband were themselves ineligible for FDR?s welfare and make-work programs because FDR wanted to insure that the proper family structure remained in tact. He didn?t want men to become dependent on their wives. Social Security originally did not cover many of the vocations (namely maids) that working women most often had in order to encourage women?s dependence on husbands. We now know the wisdom of FDR?s policy and restoring the proper family structure would be the greatest single reform this country could enact in regards to restoring societal stability.
However, Roosevelt?s conservatism failed when it came to national security. He risked, and ultimately brought on, the greatest societal upheaval the nation had experienced since the South?s rebellion of 1861-1865. Roosevelt wasn?t interested in building up the military until our potential adversaries (Germany and Japan) had already built up theirs to the point that they were almost unstoppable. Roosevelt was either unable or unwilling to spend the political capital that came with his immense personal popularity to oppose the isolationists in Congress. Roosevelt was a conservative- usually a better conservative than any of his successors who claimed that label have been. But FDR was far from being a perfect conservative.
So in conclusion it is high time that liberals find a more worthy hero, that libertarians find a more deserving whipping boy and that conservatives reassert themselves.
why are there only two options? thats whats wrong with this country's voting system. Its choose one idiot or the other. If you write someone in, chances are... youve wasted your vote. "No vote is a wasted vote" is bullish.