Tag Archives: Economic Freedom

The Film Archives: Jonathan Alter- How FDR Saved Capitalism, America & Changed The World

Source: The Film Archives: Jonathan Alter- How FDR Saved Capitalism, America & Changed The World

To understand the FDR Presidency I believe you have to understand the 1930s especially 1933 and the state of the union then. Franklin Roosevelt becomes President of the United States in March, 1933 during the Great Depression. The worst economic period in American history. With over 20% unemployment and poverty at around 40%. Businesses and banks collapsing everyday, more people getting unemployed everyday. Food lines, food banks, and soup kitchens, not just open but flooded wth people who just recently were employed and working middle class jobs. Being unemployed, bankrupt, and in poverty, were common experiences back in the early 1930s in America.

There was this feeling that American capitalism and private enterprise, was facing and collapsing and that it needed to be seriously reformed and perhaps even replaced. Not just socialism but communism, was looking okay and looking like a reasonable alternative to liberal democracy and capitalism in America by a lot of Americans back then. This is the state of the union that Franklin Roosevelt was facing when he becomes President of the United States in 1933 a situation that just five years ago looked impossible and that it would never even be taken seriously let alone be seen as a possible solution, now looked like a serious possibility in 1933.

This is the situation that Franklin ( does anyone call Franklin Roosevelt Frank or Franky? ) inherited when he became President of the United States in 1933 and it became about what should President Roosevelt and his administration do about it. Keep in mind, FDR wasn’t seen as a Progressive or Progressive Democrat even when he was Governor of New York. He was sort of all over the place on key issues back then including prohibition and foreign policy. It’s as President of the United States where FDR becomes the great Progressive Democrat that he’s seen as now and has been seen at least since the 1940s when the American economy finally returned to health and became strong again.

So FDR and his administration had some options and choices to make when he becomes President in 1933. One option was to do nothing and stick with the status quo which is what the President Herbert Hoover and his Administration were doing in the late 1920s and early 1930s when the Great Depression started.

Another option was to do what Communists and even Democratic Socialists back then were suggesting, which was to nationalize American business’s and then prop up failing ones to try to put people back to work. As well as severely raising taxes on the wealthy to put back into the economy though increased government spending that way.

Franklin Roosevelt wasn’t a laissez faire Ayn Rand Randian or a Socialist and certainly not a Communist. He believed in American capitalism but that it needed to be reformed which is the option that he chooses instead and how we got the New Deal and an expansion of the regulatory state that his cousin Theodore Roosevelt created as President thirty years earlier. The New Deal was the creation of the safety net in America. Where people could go to when they faced rough economic times. Like hing out-of-work or not making enough money to adequately feed themselves and their families. As well as pension insurance which is what Social Security is for people who don’t have a private pension when they retire or not a big enough pension to support themselves in retirement.

President Franklin Roosevelt was labeled as a Socialist and even Communist, in the 1930s and 1940s because of his push for the New Deal which was a progressive agenda filled with all sorts of progressive laws. And then later in the 1940s for his push for an Economic Bill of Rights, which was more of a socialist agenda and creating a British or Scandinavian welfare state for America. But as far as how President Roosevelt addressed the Great Depression and what he got passed into law as President, he was a Progressive. With the attitude being what needs to be done and what can done to make things better in America and create progress and what government can and should be done about that.




Slick Rick Nixon: Theodore Roosevelt- The Right of The People To Rule Speech- 1912


Source: KNOWOL

Teddy Roosevelt arguing that the people are smart enough to make their own decisions in life and have self-control and can self-govern themselves. Which is what individual freedom is about. The right to self-rule and be able to make our own personal decisions short of hurting innocent people with what we’re doing. Not arguing for anarchy, just the right for responsible people to govern their own affairs and not be subjects to big government over their own personal lives. This is a classic liberal democratic (meaning liberal democracy) speech that any true Liberal such as myself or any other true Liberal should and would be proud of.

Remember, Teddy Roosevelt was a true Progressive. But that doesn’t mean he was someone who didn’t believe in individual freedom and individualism. He just wanted those things to be for everybody and not just the rich, or the well-connected, and the powerful. And he also wanted a government referee not to run business and other private organizations, or to run individuals, but to protect innocent people like workers and consumers, from predators. Businesses that would force their workers to work in unsafe working conditions and produce unsafe products. Or to protect individuals from criminals who would physically hurt or worse innocent people.

I’ve argued before that Progressives are different from both Socialists and even Liberals. This is a speech by TR which separates Progressives from Socialists. Both Democratic and Communists, because when you have you heard any Socialist talk about the right for the people to rule themselves. And not be subjected to big government, because they believe big government is not qualified to make the most personal decisions for individuals. Things like education, health care, health insurance, retirement, just to use as examples. But also how we communicate with people or what we eat and drink and how much we eat and drink. Socialists don’t tend to believe in individualism, but true Progressives like Theodore Roosevelt do.

Rob Galloway: Teddy Roosevelt- Speech on Social & Industrial Justice


Source: AZ Quotes

Theodore Roosevelt speaking about the right to organize. Which I believe as a non-lawyer is guaranteed under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and our freedom of assembly. To join lawful non-criminal groups of our choosing.

As a Liberal I’m a big believer of freedom of choice and personal responsibility and the ability for people to make their own decisions and then have the responsibility to live with and deal with the consequences of their own decisions on their own, for good and bad. TR was not arguing that Americans should be forced to join labor organizations, but just have the right to make that choice for themselves.

So-called Liberals and so-called Progressives today, (Socialists in actuality) like to claim that they’re pro-choice. But what they tend to leave out is that they’re really only pro-choice on women’s reproductive rights and sexuality. They’re not even pro-choice on the right to  the right to organize, because they believe people should be forced to join labor unions because its in their best interest. (As they would argue) Apparently believing that they (big government and Socialists) are more qualified to make the most basic economic and personal decisions of three-hundred-million people that they’ve never met before. TR was arguing for the right to organize and that people should be able to make their decision for themselves.

David Brin: Greed, Oligarchy & Marx

img_9631Source: David Brin: Greed, Oligarchy & Marx

I’m going to quote Milton Friedman here in his 1979 interview on the Phil Donahue Show that you can see here as well. But Phil asked Professor Friedman essentially, what is greed and tried to explain why he believed greed was a bad thing. With Milton replying by saying, “what is greed? Do you think China, Japan, Russia and Europe don’t run on greed? Do you believe we as Americans aren’t greedy?” And he jokingly said which got a laugh from the audience, “it’s only the other guy whose greedy.” I would’ve added while everyone else is selfless. But Milton’s point there was perfect. Greed according to Webster’s, “is a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed.” Which could cover a whole lot of territory. I mean all we really only need to be able to move around, have enough food, a place to stay, security and health care, in order to survive and keep living.

I’m not making the case for excess and for people to make money off  of others in an unfair manner by essentially stealing what others worked for to collect for themselves. I’m saying that greed in of itself is not a bad thing and when managed properly is a very effective and necessary tool to have a strong economy where economic freedom is available for others. Because you have a society where everyone is incentivized to get educated, work hard, be very productive and then yes collect the fruits of their labor. Because government isn’t taxing people to excess and being greedy with other people’s money. Even if they want to help the less-fortunate. But instead everyone has the opportunity to live well and be successful. To be able to take care of themselves economically and create those opportunities for their kids as well.

What we shouldn’t be doing from the Far-Left is to say that rich people have a lot of money and the poor and the lower middle class (Donald Trump voters) are struggling just to keep their jobs and pay their bills. So the answer here to take heavily from the rich and have government take care of everyone else. Which is what Phil Donahue advocated for in the 1970s and 1980s and what Senator Bernie Sanders and other Democratic Socialists, advocate today. Because then you would create an economy where no one is wealthy and no one can be greedy, because everyone is poor. Unless they have a sweet job with the central government. Because now you’re punishing success and wealth and subsidizing poverty. With people thinking they can just live off of government. But no one left to pay those bills.

Again, greed by itself is not a bad thing. Like anything else when there’s too much of stand when it goes uncheck, when power becomes unbalanced and absolute with one group of people with no checks and balances, is when greed becomes a problem. When you allow people to not only get real wealthy, which by itself is not a problem, but then when you let them essentially write off all of their tax burden and stick the middle class with the taxes for the rich, is when greed becomes bad. As much as Gordon Gecko believes greed is good. (Great Wall Street 1987 line) Greed is good, but so is water, but with too much water you can drown and with too much greed you could drown the economy leaving very little opportunity for anyone who isn’t real rich which will be most of the population.

I’m not a Socialist, especially not a Marxist and I’m not an Randian (named for Ayn Rand) When it comes to economics. But a Liberal in the Jack Kennedy sense (the real sense of liberal) who believes in individual freedom economic and personal, but for everyone. That yes you want wealthy people and you want an upper class. But not just for the privileged few, but for a lot of the country. With a strong middle class that isn’t lower, but able to not just pay their bills,but to  live in a nice home, put their kids through college, put money away, health insurance for their whole family, retirement security, even be able to take a nice vacation with the money to finance that.

And instead of a country with lot of poor people and people one pay check and a lost job away from poverty, with very few rich people, you instead reverse that. With a country that has a strong middle class with people able to move up even from that, yes wealthy people but more wealthy people. And instead very few poor people with them having the ability to move up as well. With things like education, job training, infrastructure and economic development. You don’t get there by punishing wealth and subsidizing poverty. But instead encouraging wealth and subsidizing people and empowering people who need it to climb the economic ladder. So they too can be part of a strong middle class and ever do better than and become very rich themselves.

Mear Bhrach: Milton Friedman on Greed