I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished. — President Franklin D. Roosevelt, January 20th, 1937
The Change In American Lifestyle
The lifestyles of poor, near-poor, and working-class Americans have greatly improved since the depths of the Great Depression. Indeed, long lines of people waiting to be fed in soup kitchens have been replaced by mile-long lines of families in cars, waiting hours for cartons of food.
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Today huge numbers of Americans sleep in vermin infested homeless shelters, bus and train stations and terminals, public parks, and on city sidewalks. We’ve surely come a long way from hobos gathered around the flames of cans of burning garbage and sleeping in freight trains.
Today we have food stamps, public housing, housing subsidies, greatly scaled-down public assistance programs, Medicaid, Medicare and Obamacare. One in five American children grows up in poverty, while tens of millions of Americans cannot find jobs that enable them to adequately support their families.
Still, the large majority of Americans are much better off than their grandparents or great grandparents were during the Great Depression. But, perhaps, no better off than their parents’ generation.
And yet, we lead the world with idiotic slogans such as “Make America Great Again!” “We’re number one!” and “USA! USA! USA!” Yeah, if we repeat them often enough, maybe we’ll convince ourselves that we are as wonderful as we say we are.
A New American Bill Of Rights
So long as the obstructionist Republican party holds nearly veto power in Congress, we won’t be able to adequately meet our nation’s basic economic needs. Here’s my list of those needs – a veritable new American Bill of Rights for all Americans.
- Decent universal healthcare insurance.
- Enough food.
- Decent housing.
- A job for everyone ready, willing and able to work.
- A $15-an-hour minimum wage.
- Free or affordable universal preschool and daycare.
- Free vocational training for teenagers who are not going to college.
- Free community college and affordable public university.
- Complete overhaul of our criminal justice system, making it color-blind.
- Universal background checks and the banning of automatic weapons.
In addition, we need to rebuild our outdated national infrastructure and take whatever measures are needed to slow – and eventually halt – global warming.
If the Republicans regain control of the federal government, they too will promote their own policies and goals. If successful, they will not just end our democratic system of governance, but they will even manage to destroy our planet.