In 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt took the oath of office and took on the task of saving the country.
Years of bad governmental economic policy had put a large portion of the nation's wealth in the hands of very few. The economy was tanking.
The real number of unemployed was likely twice as high as the official 20 percent rate. FDR wanted to let the country's citizens know that their government cared about them and that he was going to try to find a way to help them out of their plight.
Construction of public projects such as dams, bridges and public buildings created jobs. Social Security benefits and unemployment insurance were put in place to provide a safety net for the needy and for the economy as a whole.
For his efforts, FDR was denounced as a traitor to his class and attacked by demagogues like Father Charles Coughlin, who called for his impeachment because he was "leaning toward socialism."
In January 2009, Barack Obama took the oath of office just as years of bad governmental economic policy were putting a huge percentage of the nation's wealth in the hands of very few, and the economy was tanking.
The real number of unemployed was likely well more than the official 10 percent rate. President Obama wanted to let the country know that the government cared about its citizens and was going to try to find a way to help them out.
Following FDR's example of combining good social policy and good economic policy, providing a social safety net for those in need and using governmental funds to stimulate the economy, President Obama has kept the Great Recession from becoming another Great Depression. And for his efforts, he is denounced as a socialist.
The titular leader of the Republican opposition, Congressman Paul Ryan, has a different priority. He worries that the unemployed are being coddled and that America's safety net has become a hammock that "lulls able-bodied citizens into lives of complacency and dependency." Oh, as a side note, he wants to cut the taxes of the super rich.
The Ryan "deficit reduction" plan is to blame the victims, give Medicare as a prize to the insurance industry, privatize Social Security and require those who have less to give more.
In the upcoming budget negotiations, don't be taken in. Congressman Ryan is not interested in sharing the pain, or even in fiscal responsibility.
He wants to repeal the 1930s. He wants to take it all back.