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Accountable
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NEW: The Forgotten Man



Campaign 2008 is in its way a campaign of despair, at least when it comes to domestic policy. Democrat or Republican, candidates must address the same problem: on the one hand, voters have enormous faith in the private sector; on the other, they expect government to provide them with ever more generous entitlements. In The Forgotten Man, Amity Shlaes takes us back to show us how the roots of our disillusionment can be found in a single election year, 1936. In that year, Franklin Roosevelt systematically established the modern political constituency, from unions to artists, to senior citizens. Roosevelt's solution was to spend for these groups, so extensively that federal spending that year outpaced state and local spending, for the first time ever in peacetime. The consequence was the Roosevelt landslide of 1936 --but also the modern entitlement trap. Roosevelt often spoke of the Forgotten Man, the man "at the bottom of the economic pyramid." Yet, Miss Shlaes shows, his New Deal created a new forgotten man, the man who subsidizes the funding of other constituencies -- and who haunts politics in all developed nations today.
gmc
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Post by gmc »

So fascist or socialist, which would you say Roosevelt was?

It's always seemed to me the argument in the states between left and right never quite got to any conclusion in the states, the right wing went in to cover for a while and didn't suffer the same kind of defeat it did in Europe. Americans don't seem as thoroughly cynical about government as europeans.
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Odd that you say that, since you support gov't-run social programs.
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Post by gmc »

Accountable;1328175 wrote: Odd that you say that, since you support gov't-run social programs.


I'm asking what you think.

I'm in the UK remember, socialist does not have the same pejorative connotation as it does in the states. There are many kinds of socialists from revolutionary socialists to democratic socialsts. the latter is the most common. You too support gov't run social programs - I presume education is free in the states at least to secondary level - all that is disputed is which are important enough to be govt run not the principle itself.

Healthcare for instance is govt run over here, no politician would try and re-privatise it. If I am ill i recieve healthcare as of right. I might still lose my job through ill health but i won't lose my healthcare. If you are daft enough to accept a sytem where you are at the mercy of private healthcare that is your problem. It is something we demand as an electorate and politicians fail to provide at their peril. Personally if asomeone opts to buy private medical cover to jump the queue I think they should be barred from ever using the NHS. If we did that I guarantee that BUPA et al would be out of business in the UK in no time flat. I have family members who in need of a heart bypass refused to go privately as a metter of principle. It was one of the changes he voted for after ww2 - that no one should ever die because they were too poor to get a doctor. So get over this idea that we have the welfare state imposed on us - we are not oppressed despite what your right wing media would have you believe.

I have seen roosevelts policies describes as socialist and also fascist since it emulated both the nazis and the italian fascist party's public works programmes which were an amalgam of left wing socialist principles and right state/cororation control. I was curious about your take on it.

Adam Smith is verited as being the father of capitalism - in many ways he would be regarded as a dangerous liberal in the states because of his views.

Is this improvement in the circumstances of the lower ranks of the people to be regarded as an advantage or as an inconveniency to the society? The answer seems at first sight abundantly plain. Servants, labourers, and workmen of different kinds, make up the far greater part of every great political society. But what improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an inconveniency to the whole. No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable. It is but equity, besides, that they who feed, clothe, and lodge the whole body of the people, should have such a share of the produce of their own labour as to be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed, and lodged.


Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, Book 1, Chapter 8, Of the Wages of Labour

A product of the enlightenment you see.
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gmc;1328246 wrote: I'm asking what you think.

I'm in the UK remember, socialist does not have the same pejorative connotation as it does in the states. There are many kinds of socialists from revolutionary socialists to democratic socialsts. the latter is the most common. You too support gov't run social programs - I presume education is free in the states at least to secondary level - all that is disputed is which are important enough to be govt run not the principle itself. I've tried to be clear and consistent. Our government is set up differently than yours. I am against any extra-constitutional activity at all by our federal government. That puts them out of virtually all domestic issues. Each state runs its own educational system and some other systems, or at least they did until relatively recently. Now federal powermongers have illegally expanded their reach into areas they were never intended to have any influence at all. That federal overreach is what I am against.

If a state votes to have their own social programs, more power to them. I wish them well. It can fully embrace communism for all I care. I will make my decisions on how to vote and where to live as each item comes. Nationalizing domestic issues goes against our Constitution and the very grain of the American fabric.
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Post by gmc »

Accountable;1328564 wrote: I've tried to be clear and consistent. Our government is set up differently than yours. I am against any extra-constitutional activity at all by our federal government. That puts them out of virtually all domestic issues. Each state runs its own educational system and some other systems, or at least they did until relatively recently. Now federal powermongers have illegally expanded their reach into areas they were never intended to have any influence at all. That federal overreach is what I am against.

If a state votes to have their own social programs, more power to them. I wish them well. It can fully embrace communism for all I care. I will make my decisions on how to vote and where to live as each item comes. Nationalizing domestic issues goes against our Constitution and the very grain of the American fabric.


Thank you that is what I was trying to find out. So you think roosevelt should have done nothing at all to help the economy?

How could each state sort it's own problems as if it were in isolation from the rest of the country. Did not the civil war establish the principle hat when push came to shove federal law would prevail.

Looking after the welfare of the poorest and encouraging their aspirations seems to be seen as socialism in the states, it's also basic common sense. You need a well educated well paid populace to be able to buy what is manufactured. If you don't look after them then you end up with revolution - except in the states you have the safety valve of being able to vote for change. So when the people vote for that kind of change who is to deny them? Roosevelt himself talked about fascist and socialist, you could portray his policies as democratic socialism rather than national socialist. So when you get mass support for those kind of policies that is democracy in action and the people making their will felt. Those who oppose them are right wing - they want to keep the power and wealth in the hands of those who already have it and are against any change.

it's essentially the same argument down the years.
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gmc;1328594 wrote: Thank you that is what I was trying to find out. So you think roosevelt should have done nothing at all to help the economy? I think Roosevelt and Congress should have done nothing outside thier constitutional boundaries to help the economy.

gmc wrote: How could each state sort it's own problems as if it were in isolation from the rest of the country. Did not the civil war establish the principle hat when push came to shove federal law would prevail.I'm not smart enough to answer the first question. As for the second: Our civil war established the principle that when push came to shove, federal law and the constitution be damned. George W and Obama were just the latest to follow in this tradition: Bush by signing the Campaign Reform bill, and the "Patriot" Act knowing that they were not constitutional, Obama by taking over GM and signing several pieces of unconstitutional legislation.

gmc wrote: Looking after the welfare of the poorest and encouraging their aspirations seems to be seen as socialism in the states, it's also basic common sense. You need a well educated well paid populace to be able to buy what is manufactured. If you don't look after them then you end up with revolution - except in the states you have the safety valve of being able to vote for change. So when the people vote for that kind of change who is to deny them? Roosevelt himself talked about fascist and socialist, you could portray his policies as democratic socialism rather than national socialist. So when you get mass support for those kind of policies that is democracy in action and the people making their will felt. Those who oppose them are right wing - they want to keep the power and wealth in the hands of those who already have it and are against any change.Again, our system of government is different from yours. To expand the powers of our federal government requires an amendment to the constitution. There is a process in place. It is not quick enough for the impatient, but it is slow for a reason. Expanding the powers of government should be deliberate and well thought out, because once it is decided it is seldom possible to undo what was done.
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Post by gmc »

posted by accountable

I'm not smart enough to answer the first question. As for the second: Our civil war established the principle that when push came to shove, federal law and the constitution be damned. George W and Obama were just the latest to follow in this tradition: Bush by signing the Campaign Reform bill, and the "Patriot" Act knowing that they were not constitutional, Obama by taking over GM and signing several pieces of unconstitutional legislation.


If they were not constitutional how come they got through congress and the senate who are supposed to act as a check on the executive are they not? If challenged would the supreme court not throw them out? I always thought that was why they held suspects in guantanimo rather than the US where the holding without trial could be challenged in court by civil rights lawyers, which kind of says a lot about Bush and his attitude to civil rights.

Believe it or not it was the house of lords that stopped new labour increasing the number of days someone could be held without charge. Our system is flawed but at least we acknowledge it is and don't get hung up on long arguments about what was really meant by the framers of the constitution. Did you know the 1689 bill of rights gives protestants the right to bear arms to defend themselves against catholics - you won't see that caveat on those right wing websites that keep telling americans we are being oppressed.
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gmc;1330721 wrote: posted by accountable



If they were not constitutional how come they got through congress and the senate who are supposed to act as a check on the executive are they not? If challenged would the supreme court not throw them out?That is the system that was put in place. It seems that not one gives it a second thought now. The Senate is supposed to block unconstitutional legislation proposed by the House of Representatives, and vice versa. The President is supposed to veto any unconstitutional legislation that crosses his desk. None of that is happening. The Supreme Court will review a law and assess its constitutionality, but only if someone has the money and time to take it through the gauntlet of the appeals process. Now I'm hearing that a citizen can't simply challenge the constitutionality of a law, but must establish that he has been personally harmed by said law - otherwise he does not have standing. Since it's the Constitution itself (and thus the nation's legal system) that is harmed, and the 500 or so people in Washington who are sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution are both the perpetrators and the people with standing, We the People are pretty well screwed. The last time this happened was when FDR and his majority party stacked the Supreme Court, then passed social legislation the Constitution never delegated to the federal government.

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