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Forum Post: Obama, FDR and the Second Bill of Rights in the Era of "Job Creators"

Posted 1 year ago on Jan. 30, 2013, 4:15 a.m. EST by WSmith (1402) from Cornelius, OR
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Obama, FDR and the Second Bill of Rights in the Era of "Job Creators"

By Cass R. Sunstein Jan 28, 2013 3:30 PM PT

In an era of exclusive coddling of our ~ whining ad nauseam ~ so-called "Job Creators" to the point of unprecedented profits and wealth ~ and the abject detriment of the 99% ~ lasting well over 30 years, what's wrong with giving "We The People" some security for a change?

As the actions of his first term made clear, and as his second inaugural address declared, President Barack Obama is committed to a distinctive vision of American government. It emphasizes the importance of free enterprise, and firmly rejects “equality of result,” but it is simultaneously committed to ensuring both fair opportunity and decent security for all.

In these respects, Obama is updating Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Second Bill of Rights. To be sure, his second term has barely started, and his precise place in history remains to be established. Yet we can’t appreciate the arc of American politics, or the nation’s current situation and prospects, without understanding the Second Bill.

Roosevelt announced the Second Bill of Rights in his State of the Union address in 1944. With the Great Depression over, and the war almost won, FDR declared that we “have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.” Drawing on Thomas Jefferson, Roosevelt insisted that “these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race or creed.”

The Rights

Then he listed them:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation.

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation.

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living.

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad.

The right of every family to a decent home.

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident and unemployment.

The right to a good education.

“All of these rights,” Roosevelt said, “spell security.” He added, “I ask the Congress to explore the means for implementing this economic bill of rights -- for it is definitely the responsibility of the Congress so to do.”

It is important to be clear about what FDR meant. He did not propose to amend the Constitution. He did not think that the Supreme Court should enforce the Second Bill of Rights. He believed in free markets and free enterprise; he had no interest in socialism. The nation’s wheelchair-bound president hardly thought that the national government could eliminate sickness, accident, unemployment or homelessness. He did not mean that every American was necessarily entitled to a job; he did mean that the national government would commit itself to promoting economic conditions that would reduce unemployment. This was a political speech, not a lawyer’s document.

Roosevelt’s purpose was to give a fresh account of the nation’s defining aspirations. With the idea of security at its foundation, and with an insistence on fair opportunity, the Second Bill was meant to specify the goals of postwar America, hardened by its emergence from an economic crisis and its imminent victory in World War II. With the Second Bill of Rights, the leader of the Greatest Generation sought to cement his legacy. And while Roosevelt said that it was Congress’s responsibility to carry out the Second Bill, of course it did not do so, though various presidents and Congresses have taken significant steps (including Medicare and Medicaid) in this direction. More Steps

In his first term, Obama took more such steps. The most visible, of course, is the Affordable Care Act, which goes a long way toward safeguarding “the right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.”

Expansion of the earned income tax credit, designed to assist the working poor, is helping to give people “enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation.” Efforts to extend unemployment insurance have softened the impact of the recession. The Race to the Top program, alongside numerous other reforms, is improving education for millions of Americans.

Obama’s second inaugural did not refer explicitly to the Second Bill of Rights, but it had an unmistakably Rooseveltian flavor. Just after a serious economic crisis, Obama emphasized “that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.” Recalling Roosevelt’s central theme, Obama said that “every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity.”

He added that in the U.S., we “recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm.” Recognition of human vulnerability helps to justify the “commitments we make to each other -- through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security.”

Almost 70 years ago, the occupant of the Oval Office safeguarded the nation’s basic institutions, including the system of free enterprise, while also insisting on the defining commitments to fair opportunity and security for all. Having helped America to survive its greatest economic challenge since the 1930s, the current occupant of that office is giving new meaning to those commitments, and making them his own.

(Cass R. Sunstein, the Felix Frankfurter professor of law at Harvard University, is a Bloomberg View columnist. He is the former administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the co-author of “Nudge” and author of “Simpler: The Future of Government,” forthcoming in 2013. The opinions expressed are his own.)

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-28/obama-fdr-and-the-second-bill-of-rights.html

To contact the writer of this article: Cass R. Sunstein at csunstei@law.harvard.edu.

To contact the editor responsible for this article: Katy Roberts at kroberts29@bloomberg.net.

42 Comments

42 Comments


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[-] 1 points by KevinPotts (368) 1 year ago

It is important to be clear about what FDR meant. He did not propose to amend the Constitution. He did not think that the Supreme Court should enforce the Second Bill of Rights. He believed in free markets and free enterprise; he had no interest in socialism. The nation’s wheelchair-bound president hardly thought that the national government could eliminate sickness, accident, unemployment or homelessness. He did not mean that every American was necessarily entitled to a job; he did mean that the national government would commit itself to promoting economic conditions that would reduce unemployment. This was a political speech, not a lawyer’s document.

It is important to be clear that this article is a Propaganda piece of MSM Capital Bullshit.

Way to go WSmith! Keep up the “good” work of defending Capitalism/elitism and taking a shit all over the idea of actually implementing FDR‘s Second Bill of Rights in any meaningful way. Who needs FOX News when we have articles like this?

[-] -1 points by WSmith (1402) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

I didn't write it, but I think that it was a fair and accurate intro or "disclaimer." (Here's the link: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-28/obama-fdr-and-the-second-bill-of-rights.html ) Remember the horribly adulterated RW/Fascist/Plutocratic times we live in today. People don't hear words and ideas like FDR's much anymore, they'll get called "Liberal" or "Class War Mongers." I thought it was a very relevant and forgotten piece of history, I have also posted a number of FDR's other fine work. And the last thing you can pin on me is Main Stream, I think Ralph Nader and Bernie Sanders are too conservative. "Capitalist, elitist," is just crazy talk. But I'm dying to know what you mean and/or what I missed. Please tell me!! Come on let me have it.

[-] 1 points by KevinPotts (368) 1 year ago

The article reeks of Orwellian Double-Speak and you just admitted that you agree with it. You think Ralph Nader and Bernie Sanders are too conservative?? Yet you champion Obama ( a Center-Right Republicrat) as the hero of Liberalism?? Enough Said.

But yet I shall continue:

"the last thing you can pin on me is Main Stream" -WSmith

LOL For Christ sake, the article is from Bloomberg News!

“Bloomberg L.P. is an American multinational mass media corporation based in New York City. Bloomberg makes up one third of the $16 billion global financial data market[6] with estimated revenue of $7.6 billion in 2011.[7] Bloomberg L.P. was founded by Michael Bloomberg (…)” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloomberg_L.P.

“Michael Rubens Bloomberg (born February 14, 1942) is an American business magnate, politician and philanthropist. He is currently Mayor of New York City. With a net worth of $25 billion in 2012, he is also the 10th-richest person in the United States.[1] He is the founder and 88% owner of Bloomberg L.P., a financial data-services firm.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Bloomberg

Bloomberg: 'I have my own army' “Call it martial law or call it a police state. Either one you chose isn’t too far off and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg knows it. At a speaking engagement Tuesday night, Bloomberg referred to the NYPD as his own army.” http://rt.com/usa/news/bloomberg-nypd-army-york-599/

EMERGENCY CALL TO ACTION: Keep Bloomberg and Kelly From Evicting #OWS “This is it—this is their attempt to shut down #OWS for good.” http://occupywallst.org/article/emergency-call-action-prevent-forcible-closure-occ/

Bloomberg shuts down Zuccotti Park encampment, but #OWS remains defiant UPDATE w/video http://nyaltnews.com/2011/11/bloomberg-shuts-down-zuccotti-park-encampment-but-ows-remains-defiant-update-wvideo/827/

Police Conspire to Shut Down OWS Nationwide http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/11/18/police-conspire-to-shut-down-ows-nationwide/

Police brutality and harsh tactics at OWS http://rt.com/usa/news/police-occupy-street-wall-609/

Bloomberg Praises Occupy Sandy Relief Effort, Then Sends Police To Shut It Down http://www.disinfo.com/2012/12/bloomberg-praises-occupy-sandy-relief-effort-then-sends-police-to-shut-it-down/

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1402) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

What are you 12? Sorry. Welcome to the complicated, mixed message, contradictory world of politics, deception and fraud are the GOP specialty.

[-] 1 points by KevinPotts (368) 1 year ago

"I've got one that can see!"

( 5:37 - 7:04 )

Greatest Scenes In Film: THEY LIVE! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inZUDMGJsKo

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1402) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

Nearly rented that so many times but just could believe Piper could act, he's not bad!!

[-] 0 points by GypsyKing (8719) 1 year ago

WSmith alias jiffysquid (who I once believed was a good guy) is thrasymache, the head troll for hire here. I haven't been very active here for awhile, and I'm still processing.

This forum has been infiltrated beyond even my jaded interpretation led me to believe. Spooky.

I'm gone again, at least for awhile until I think this shit over.

Sadly, It's hard to take Anything at face value anymore, and I have to think over what that means

[-] 1 points by KevinPotts (368) 1 year ago

"This forum has been infiltrated beyond even my jaded interpretation led me to believe."

I’ve only been active here on this Forum for a relative short time and believe me, I’ve noticed the infiltration and could easily spot the Trolls from day one. This Forum gives us an outlet to continue the conversation -to continue to dissent against corruption -to continue The Revolution, but it also gives those-who-are-bound-and-determined-to-oppose-us-and-to-defend-and-maintain-the-status-quo an easy outlet to infiltrate and to sabotage and misrepresent everything the Movement is trying to accomplish. In the name of Occupy they attempt to suppress everything Occupy. It’s like a real life version of that scene from the John Carpenter movie “They Live”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Lwlx3GnLGs

Spooky Indeed.

[-] 0 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 1 year ago

Am I a troll? Could it be one mans troll is anothers freedom fighter?

[-] 0 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 1 year ago

And who are these trolls you can easily spot.? How can you spot them so easily? What do you believe "occupy is"? I suppose it ain't easy when you the site believes in freedom of expression and allows even opinions we don't agree with but we must deal with that.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1402) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

Not sure how or why you reached this misconception, but once again I'm sorry you have.

[-] 0 points by oldJack (14) 1 year ago

There's a thread just for you where many users have showered you with the attention you need to come back. Please, don't go!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIAnkrPgTvY

[-] -1 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 1 year ago

Forcing the people to buy from corporations is fascsism. Expanding bombing campaigns under the cover of the boogie man is fascism.

Appointing Monsanto execs to the FDA and allowing GMO to continue isnt fascsism- its just really fucked up. Same for removing the people's rights.

This isnt a R/L thing. Its a US Gov thing.

[-] 0 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 1 year ago

We must demonstrate against the compromise (forced on us by republicans) to buy private health insurance. We should look to VT, MT, and other states who are starting the process to implement single payer systems. That will put private health insurance out of business. Thankfully the healthcare law has the flexibility to do so. (repubs tried to prevent that and failed)

We must demonstrate against all war. Demand that we declare an end to the war on terror and the drone assassinations. It's up to us. WE are responsible for these crimes and must demand they end. I see the current war mongering as a uniquely republican problem (since they began it all) but I know we must protest ALL politicians.

GMO/Monsanto. Same thing. WE must take responsibility. The people must be informed and rise up.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1402) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

Where were you when RepubliCons instituted all these and much much more transgressions you phony piece of whiny shit. Don't bother me today, there is a bunch of trashy and or oldjack shit going on.

[-] 1 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 1 year ago

Phony piece of whiny shit? My the internet makes people tough.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1402) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

What ev

[-] 0 points by Theeighthpieceuv8 (-32) from Seven Sisters, Wales 1 year ago

It was all bullshit intended to garnish support.

[-] 1 points by WSmith (1402) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

He believed in these Rights and so did we, openly and honestly.

Can you say anything like that from the Right???

[-] 0 points by Theeighthpieceuv8 (-32) from Seven Sisters, Wales 1 year ago

I believe I just did; did you not hear? And it's a statement from "me," not from the "Right."

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1402) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

The Grover Norquist Pledge? The SCOTUS CU Ruling? Shock Doctrine? ALEC?

[-] 0 points by Theeighthpieceuv8 (-32) from Seven Sisters, Wales 1 year ago

All of the above "rights" as detailed by FDR can be lumped under one heading as those unalienable - life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - with emphasis on the latter. It is not a right of possession, it is a right of pursuit. You have the right to a boat, yes you do, but that doesn't mean that you have contracted with government as an entitlement; it doesn't mean you are "entitled," to a Federally provided boat.

When Roosevelt states the following, "I ask the Congress to explore the means for implementing this economic bill of rights - for it is definitely the responsibility of the Congress so to do" he merely reminds Congress of the right of revolution inherent in all who voluntarily submit to government in the promise of economic protection hence their role and responsibility in promoting the general prosperity.

This is not a statement from Grover or from the Republicans in Congress; it's not a statement from any Justice of the Supreme Court or from the Jews in Hollywood; it's not a statement from the Right, it's a statement from Right Here - it's a statement from 'me'.

Political hacks, everywhere... and none of them are good for the American people.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1402) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

OK!

[-] 0 points by bensdad (8977) 1 year ago

I see Obama making a major push towards OWS goals
not everything we seek - but he is moving.
While we can kvetch that he should have started this 4 years ago -
things are moving

do you see progress beginning?

[-] -1 points by WSmith (1402) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

Thanks for digging.

I am only Jewish by multiple osmosis, I'm Irish, West LA Irish.

I see a nation thankful for dodging a very dirty GOP bomb.

Do you see progress?

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 1 year ago

just two moves - which could not have happened two years ago -
no negotiation on the debt ceiling
immigration reform


different question - if Hillary wins in 2016 , will she push single payer?

[-] 2 points by owsarmy (271) 1 year ago

She will, But WE must pressure all politicians now. We cannot wait

[-] 1 points by WSmith (1402) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

"Hillary Care" was and will be SP!


Citizens United will not stand

Green Energy will be expanded

We will end the Bush/Cheney War on Terror, and return to police response to terrorist attacks

We need to push for election reform ~ Instant Runoff Voting

Our Domestic Terrorism problem needs to be addressed before we have another Oklahoma City, or much worse!

http://occupywallst.org/forum/insane-america-meets-sane-america-over-gun-control/

[-] -1 points by DeathsHead1 (-111) 1 year ago

It's nice to see that OWS is still owned lock, stock, and barrel by the democrat machine.

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (22348) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Problem solver? Wow you have been so quiet. Such restraint. Hah.

[-] -1 points by WSmith (1402) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

It's not Dems or OWS' fault that Facts, Truth, Justice and the American Way have a Liberal and Progressive BIAS!!!

Just like Corruption, Greed, Deception, Fascism, Fraud and Totalitarianism have a RepubliCon BIAS!!!

[-] 0 points by DeathsHead1 (-111) 1 year ago

You are a seriously deluded person. I feel sorry for you.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1402) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

You just think the truth is deluded.

[+] -5 points by Shayneh (-482) 1 year ago

Hey, Obama is trying - so far he spent over 5 trillion during his first term - the GDP is flat so, what more needs to be said.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (22348) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Daymn - R U Tea-Party? or just a straight Koch sucker?

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1402) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

"straight"?

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (22348) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Linear?

[-] -1 points by WSmith (1402) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

A paradox conundrum, someone will be insulted any way you go with Koch sucker. Abject?

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (22348) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Who the hell wants to be connected to koch?

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1402) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

As always with the Cons, follow the money.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (22348) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Ummm? OH - sorry - you meant anyone who worships mammon. It is getting late - that is my excuse and I am sticking to it. ( for not immediately recognizing the drift of your comment )

[-] -1 points by WSmith (1402) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

You do know that the Obama Administration's inclusion and correction of the phony and fraudulent books kept and left by the Bush-Cheney Administration accounts for the vast majority of what you nuts call "Obama's spending," don't you? Why do you people/Zombies throw bombs and then complain about the destruction and carnage? We can see you!!!