Monday, February 23, 2009

Button Up Your Overcoat, Baby. It's Cold Out There.

It's like the elephant in the living room. Nobody wants to talk about it, stir something up, so they just walk around it, or put a slipcover over it, pretend it's a sofa.

But here's the thing: what if those Wall Street Criminals, the Financial Cartels, have stolen so much money, looted so many businesses and moved the rest off-shore, that all of us plunge into severe poverty. For the rest of our lives? What then?

I don't want to hear about perseverance in the face of troubles. I'm too old to jump onto boxcars. And besides, where can we all go?

What are the new unemployment numbers? I think they said 7 million collecting unemployment compensation. And about 7 million more who have either exhausted their unemployment compensation or only have part-time work, when they want full-time. That means the real unemployment level is around 14%, and it's still early in the year. They've said to expect layoffs to continue through 2009. So if we get 20%, or 25 or 30%, will the Republicans finally shut the F**k up about whether we should help our own citizens?

FDR's Second Inaugural Address, January 20, 1937 (excerpts)

Old truths have been relearned; untruths have been unlearned. We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics. Out of the collapse of a prosperity whose builders boasted their practicality has come the conviction that in the long run economic morality pays. We are beginning to wipe out the line that divides the practical from the ideal; and in so doing we are fashioning an instrument of unimagined power for the establishment of a morally better world.

But here is the challenge to our democracy: In this nation I see tens of millions of its citizens - a substantial part of its whole population - who at this very moment are denied the greater part of what the very lowest standards of today call the necessities of life.

I see millions of families trying to live on incomes so meager that the pall of family disaster hangs over them day by day.

I see millions whose daily lives in city and on farm continue under conditions labeled indecent by a so-called polite society half a century ago.

I see millions denied education, recreation, and the opportunity to better their lot and the lot of their children.

I see millions lacking the means to buy the products of farm and factory and by their poverty denying work and productiveness to many other millions.

I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.

It is not in despair that I paint you that picture. I paint it for you in hope - because the Nation, seeing and understanding the injustice in it, proposes to paint it out. We are determined to make every American citizen the subject of his country's interest and concern; and we will never regard any faithful law-abiding group within our borders as superfluous. The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.

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