As part of his State of the Union address on January 11, 1944, President Roosevelt presented the nation with a 2nd Bill of Rights – economic rights that the government would have to guarantee for all Americans once the laws were passed. Take a look at the following video:
He listed 8 things that would bring economic security to our nation and hopefully, by extension, to the rest of the world. At the point that he gave this address in history, America was NOT planning on a Cold War with the Soviet Union or stockpiling tens of thousands of nuclear missiles or spending billions on a military budget every year. None of the 46 years of futility vs. the Soviet Union was set in stone, nor the explosion and entrenchment of the military-industrial complex in our national economy like it is today.
However, America was coming out of the war w/ its biggest national debt in its history (having borrowed $200 billion from the American people in war bonds – $170 billion held by U.S. taxpayers – and from American banks + $100 billion in income taxes). Congressmen were wary of spending huge amounts of money on peace time programs, especially for FDR, because his New Deal programs had had such a mixed track record of success and failure.
The reason I bring this issue up is b/c I think that the country has spent the next 73 years (and may continue) to try to achieve his goals. As we progress through the school year, we’ll return to these eight core principles and examine how we have failed and / or succeeded.
Your questions to answer:
1. Out of the 8 new rights listed above, which of them do you believe have been addressed in some way or another since 1944? Try to pick at least 2 and explain our country has tried to address them (if you choose #6, please try to do some research and not repeat misinformation that you might have heard on talk shows, i.e., it’s going to save billions, death panels, it forces everyone to buy insurance, etc.)
2. Which of these 8 rights should be the one that is immediately addressed or fixed by our Congress and President? Why?
3. Which one of these seems the least likely to be enforceable / possible to make an economic right (please don’t pick the farming right – it doesn’t affect too many people)? Why?
350 words minimum total for all three answers. Due Monday, October 16th by class.
Here’s Glenn Beck’s take on FDR’s 2nd Bill of Rights. Here.
To read a book review entitled: “FDR’s 2nd Bill of Rights: A New New Deal” click here.
A response to this book from Forbes magazine who say that only one Bill of Rights is quite enough. click here.
Here’s an analysis of how the 2nd Bill is going so far: Click here.
An article about how the 2nd BoR violates the Constitution, click here.