Franklin Delano Roosevelt: He Towers Over All Presidents of Modern Times

Today’s the birthday of  Franklin D.  Roosevelt.

When our country the Greatest  Depression was dealt,

He found a fresh deck and he opened the seal;

Rebooted  the game with what’s called “The New Deal”.

New Deal programs with the deepest impact on American life: (1) Social Security Act; (2) Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; (3) Securities Act of 1933; (4) Federal Housing Administration; (5) Glass-Steagall Act (6) Tennessee Vally Authority; (7) Reconstruction Finance Corporation; (8) Homeowners Loan Corporation; (9) National Labor Relations Board; (10) Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938; (11) Surplus Commodities Program of 1936: precursor of Food Stamp Program.


“2012, Newsweek magazine asked a panel of historians to rank the ten best presidents since 1900. The results showed that historians had ranked Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama as the best since that year.” [the]


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  • I don't know how B.O. makes that list except for the remarkable feat of a minority being elected President. If anyone ran their household like Bush or Obama they would be bankrupt. They have run the country at 84% and 102% debt/GDP respectively.

    Oh, and I know Progressives don't care about silly numbers like that, it's just about intentions and the road it paves.

  • In reply to 4zen:

    We could do better if we cut spending on defense, eliminate subsidies to multinational corporations, and tax the wealthy at the same marginal tax rates that the rest of us pay.

  • I ain't going to get into the politics here. I do note that unfortunately, Glass-Steagall was repealed or gutted, and also the Public Utilities Holding Company Act.

    Of course, the Fair Labor Standards Act is about to be kicked around again.

    Another thing that has lasted in the Chicago area are the works of the WPA.

  • It seems with the short historical attention span of contemporary America and the trashing of FDR's legacy by Conservatives, he's fading from our collective memory. I think because of the positive impact he has had on American life and its future, he deserves to be remembered every year on his birthday in some significant way. I attempted to do that with this humble post.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Maybe getting into politics a bit, it seems like Republicans embraced him about 1983. I guess conservatives are not really willing to go back to the really good old days of the 20s. Of course, those who remember him are those who grew up in the Depression and are fading away fast.

    I brought up the WPA because the school murals and subways are still around Chicago, while other places are demolishing buildings from the 1960s.

  • This is a wonderful post. Thank you, AW.

    Maybe people forget how radical the New Deal was-- those kind of programs, WPA, TVA, FDIC, Social Security, etc. are almost unimaginable today.

    Pew Research reports the income gap is higher now than in the Great Depression. We need a new New Deal. Your modest proposals make alot of sense.

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    To, the contrary, nobody is suggesting abolishing Social Security or Medicare today, even not such cranks as Dennis Byrne, who take delight at every Affordable Care Act problem and rather that people be uninsured.

    And the country would have really gone into the toilet in 2008 if it weren't for the FDIC. People were on the banks, not the FDIC for protecting their accounts and raising the limit to $250,000.

    I also don't think we currently have the 25% unemployment rate they had in the1930s. Since I'm not going into politics here, I'll leave aside my opinion of the faulty economic reasoning of the $15/hour minimum wage movement.

    But if one wants to point out income inequality, the President didn't explain what to do about the gender based problem, if 48 years of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII have not worked.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack I don't believe you really think people who are against Ocare want people to be uninsured. It is this type of hyperbole that that creates are current state.

    No matter what your feelings are on policy their is no excuse on financial irresponsibility on any gov't program and Ocare does not do anything about medical costs. The Affordable Care Act is not affordable and the current lawyer priest class the runs our gov't will never do anything about their 40 billion dollar a year medical litigation cash cow.

  • Jack, we are in agreement!

    I'm not suggesting they're trying to get rid of those programs. But it seems such far-reaching consensus isn't possible today. There's so much political bickering and self-interest. Look at the stalemate on unemployment benefits. And the government shutdowns. Where is the vision of the future?

    That's all I was trying to say.

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    Congress must have finally gotten the message about the government shutdown, as they finally passed an appropriations bill and look close to passing farm and transportation bills.

    What seems to be the chasm is that both the President and the Republicans seem to be in favor of job creation, but neither has done anything about it, given that another ARRA (stimulus plan) is not being advocated by anyone, and other than tax reform, no one has suggested how to encourage the private sector. Of course, one would think that both could agree on tax reform, but no one has breached that chasm yet, either.

  • Jack, I believe the president had a job bill but Boehner wouldn't bring it to a vote. As far as what the Republicans call entitlements, they would make them similar to 401Ks and let Wall Street have a windfall.

    The proposed minimum wage is $10.10 not $15. This doesn't seem exorbitant by any stretch of the imagination.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    It depends what is defined as a "jobs bill." By accepting the theory resulting in the sequester, it wasn't a construction bill. There was the talk in the State of the Union about training and workforce development, but, unlike previous years, the President didn't say "this deserves a vote."

    Obama's and Quinn's proposals are for $10.10, but the organized group of picketers on the TV yesterday were for $15 (e.g. NBC5.1 report). While there is a point to a national standard, it was the latter's arguments I found fallacious. For some of the reasons, you can look at my comments on the [now departed] Chicago Muckrakers blog on "Illinois pension debate overlooks role of public-sector jobs in sustaining the middle class." Also, an advisory referendum in a couple of precincts is meaningless.

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