Last year, I explained with considerable relief that President Obama would never be as bad as Franklin Roosevelt.
Yes, Obama has imposed a class-warfare tax hike, pushed through Obamacare, and squandered $billions on a faux stimulus (perfectly captured by this cartoon). But that’s trivial compared to the damage caused by FDR (and Hoover).
Obama’s policies, to be sure, have contributed to an extremely weak expansion.
That’s bad, but FDR’s statism helped extend the Great Depression – by an additional seven years according to scholarly research! That’s a much worse track record.
But that doesn’t mean Obama doesn’t want to be as bad as FDR. Indeed, one of his top advisers seems very happy that the President’s second inaugural address was reminiscent of Roosevelt’s so-called Second Bill of Rights.
Here’s some of what Cass Sunstein wrote for Bloomberg.
Obama is updating Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Second Bill of Rights. …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.” …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.
…the Second Bill was meant to specify the goals of postwar America… Obama took more such steps. …Obama’s second inaugural did not refer explicitly to the Second Bill of Rights, but it had an unmistakably Rooseveltian flavor. …Obama emphasized “that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.” …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.
I guess we have to give Sunstein credit for chutzpah. We’re suffering through the weakest expansion since the end of World War II, and he wants us to be grateful for Obama’s policies since they supposedly “helped America to survive.”
Wow, I’d hate to see his idea of failure.
But here’s the good news. America will have gridlock for the next two years, and probably the next four years.
The bad news is that we won’t take necessary steps to reform entitlements, but the good news is that we won’t make things worse with the kind of statist policies outlined in FDR’s fake Bill of Rights.
Yes, I expect Republicans to screw up on some of the small issues and give the White House a few minor victories, but I can’t imagine them approving any big Obama initiatives, even if their opposition is driven only by partisanship rather than principle.