FDR Legacy: Entitlement Society


Today is the 65th annivsary of the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States.  Many consider FDR’s legacy to be a free nation, and social justice for the opressed, the worker, and the farmer.  People who grew up in the Depression years think of FDR as a savior, a hero who rescued the nation from greed and corruption. 

I see it differently. 

When Roosevelt was elected to the Presidency in 1932, the Great Depression was just a depression.  It had raged on for three years,  and President Herbert Hoover had taken steps that worsened the economy.  While Hoover beleived that the governement should stay out of the private sector, he couldn’t do nothing.  As is usually the case when government “can’t do nothing,” the somethings he did, arguably, made the depression into the Great Depression, and caused it to linger much longer that it would have had the government simply stayed out of it. 

Roosevelt was elected by 57% of the vote in 1932.  He ran on the idea of a “New Deal” for Americans.  He put people to work, on the taxpayer’s dime, building roads and bridges.  He instituted a new entitlement program, Social Security, and attempted to get universal healthcare.  He believed that productivity outpaced consumption, and that was why so many people were out of work.  He paid farmers not to farm, and destroyed livestock that, if on the market, would have driven prices down.  The big problem with this was that people in our country were starving.  Here’s the government killing a major protein source to keep prices artificially high.  It was one government program after another, and when the New Deal didn’t fix the economy, Roosevelt decided on a New New Deal.  Predictably, the economy did not recover as he had hoped with the introduction of this new government program. 

One of the rules of life is that if you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you need to do is stop digging.  Roosevelt didn’t get this. 

Another thing Roosevelt did during his time in office was to isolate the country from the war in Europe.  He didn’t see Germany as a threat to American security, and didn’t want to involve the US in another European war.  He had served as Secretary of the Navy under Woodrow Wilson, who was, arguably, the most Progressive president since, well, ever at that time.  He wanted no part of a war, and would not support our allies in Europe.  As a result, Germany, knowing the US would not interfere, ran roughshod over Europe.  How many people had to die to keep America out of WWII?  A lot more than the three thousand or so at Pearl Harbor that got us into the war. 

FDR adminsitrated the war very well, and let the military do their jobs.  The war, and not some hundred or so social programs pulled the country out of the depression. 

When Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945, Congress couldn’t move fast enough to prevent anyone from ever staying in office as long as he did.  He ran on platforms of having more to do, and the American people bought it.  They trusted him to do the right thing.  But Congress understood how close we came to having a dictator, and, before the body was cold, placed a term limit on the office of president. 

The aftermath of the Roosevelt presidency has been a steady march to a welfare state.  What started with the best of intentions and a warm hearted desire to help people has resulted in an increasing number of people beleiving the government is here to take care of us.  Since the government steals 20 percent of my money DIRECTLY  out of my paycheck, I feel that they owe me something for my money.  Something of value.  Maybe a military that can wipe out Al Qaeda and the Taliban (our military could do this if they didnt have to observe asinine ROE).  A nice fence on the southern border to stem the tide of illegal immigrants.  An education system that turns out thinkers.  I don’t expect the government to take care of me.  In fact, I want them out of the way, so I can take care of myself.  But in ever increasing numbers, people are beginning to think themselves suckers for working hard so that someone who doesn’t have a job, or want one, can have a cell phone and cable. 

All Roosevelt had to do was plant the seed.  And it has grown into a gnarled tree that threatens to invade every facet of our lives.  First it was Social Security,  then Medicaid, then Medicare, now healthcare.  What’s next?  FDR tried to introduce a second bill of rights, one that stated that Americans have a right to a home, a job, and leisure time.  Most people don’t know this.  And the progressives understand that sweeping change is impractical, but rather, a measured, incremental approach guarantees a higher level of success.  And, since the Saul Alinsky radicals of the 1960’s are now running the country, the progressives now see an opportunity to get the utopia they desire.  But they have to move fast, before the November elections. 

It won’t be long, if we stay on this path, that the government will envolope our lives.  The progressives will continute to chip away at your liberty, and you will, no doubt, not even notice, until it’s too late.  Roosevelt understood that the masses needed to be controlled to get the results he wanted.  Obama gets this, too. 

Will you be controlled?

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