By David Woolner

FDR’s 47 Percent: Will The Democrats Finally Heed Their Voices?

December 3, 2012 3:56 pm Category: Memo Pad 41 Comments A+ / A-
FDR’s 47 Percent: Will The Democrats Finally Heed Their Voices?

President Obama should use the fiscal cliff to shift the debate away from deficits and take on the inequality that’s undermining our democracy.

It has been well said that “the freest government, if it could exist, would not be long acceptable, if the tendency of the laws were to create a rapid accumulation of property in few hands, and to render the great mass of the population dependent and penniless…”

We believe in a way of living in which political democracy and free private enterprise for profit should serve and protect each other—to ensure a maximum of human liberty not for a few but for all…

Today many Americans ask the uneasy question: Is the vociferation that our liberties are in danger justified by the facts?

…Their answer is that if there is that danger it comes from that concentrated private economic power which is struggling so hard to master our democratic government.—Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1938

In his remarks on the so-called “fiscal cliff,” and in numerous campaign speeches, President Obama has repeatedly remarked that “we can’t just cut our way to prosperity,” and that “if we’re serious about reducing the deficit, we have to combine spending cuts with revenue. And that means asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more in taxes.” The president has also said that he is “not wedded to every detail” of his current plan to reduce the deficit and that he is open to compromise. But he also has made it plain, as he did in his recent remarks at the White House, that he will refuse to accept any approach that isn’t balanced; that he is “not going to ask students and seniors and middle-class families to pay down the entire deficit while people like me making over $250,000 aren’t asked to pay a dime more in taxes.”

For the millions of Americans who remain out of work, or are struggling with hourly wages that when adjusted for inflation stand where they were in 1978, this is welcome news. But the president’s focus on taxes and the deficit is only part of the story. What the country really needs, according to most economists, is more stimulus, for the best way to reduce the deficit is to expand the economy, which would of course result in more government revenue.

The president has certainly made reference to this, and he has included a modest $50 billion in stimulus spending in his recent budget proposal to Congress, but for the most part the public discourse on how to avoid the “fiscal cliff” and fix our economy has been centered not on jobs or the vast structural inequality that now separates the top 1-2 percent from the rest of us, but on the deficit. This is unfortunate, for it means, in essence, that the country’s economic agenda is still very much in the hands of the conservative right; that we are still focused not on the cause of our economic woes—a collapsed economy brought on by the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression—but on the by-product: the vast fall-off in federal, state, and local revenue that naturally came about as a result of this collapse.

A far better exercise would be to move away from the right’s obsession with the deficit and open up a conversation with the American people about a far more critical issue facing the nation: the ever-widening gulf between the rich and the rest of us and the very real consequences that this disparity in income has had on our economy and indeed on the very nature of our democracy.

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FDR’s 47 Percent: Will The Democrats Finally Heed Their Voices? Reviewed by on . President Obama should use the fiscal cliff to shift the debate away from deficits and take on the inequality that's undermining our democracy. It has been well President Obama should use the fiscal cliff to shift the debate away from deficits and take on the inequality that's undermining our democracy. It has been well Rating:

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Comments

  • nobsartist

    6% medicare and social security on ALL income, earned and investment.

    Accept nothing less.

    Plus a minimum of 39% on ALL income over 1 MILLION.

    • MRD1056

      and take the cap off social security and it would be sustainable forever. You stop paying into social security after you make $110,000 a year. Lift that cap and make the everyone pay on every dollar you make and it would be solvient forever.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Myers/100001512942781 Jim Myers

        Replying to MRD1056 -

        Plus, it would mean that a secretary, who works for a Billionaire, would not be forced to pay approximately 15% of her base salary in Social Security taxes , (The employees half and the employers half), while the Billionaire only pays Social Security on an extremely small share of his or her gross income in Social Security taxes.

      • nobsartist

        Thats what I call fair.

      • sumner41

        TAX THE CRAP OUT OF GOODS MADE OUTSIDE THE STATES. PUT AMERICAN BACK TO WORK. American corps. have more than enough work, but are allowed to produce it for slave wages,etc. outside the states. The recent Bengldesh fire is a great example. Such conditions,etc, were OUTLAWED HERE. Which is why corps. moved jobs there (Disney,walmart,etc) You CANNOT REDUCE THE WORKFORCE BY MILLIONS AND EXPECT IT NOT TO IMPACT THE FICA TAX (SOCIAL SECURITY). Not to mention raiding s.s. for other reasons

      • idamag

        MRD, that is right. When a person makes over $120,000, that person no longer pays into Social Security. However Social Security is paid on the highest quarter and therefore that person takes more out than the person who makes under $120,000.

      • lunibin

        All very good ideas but the problem as I see it, is not making SSI solvent, rather getting it administered properly. Get it out of the hands of the politicians who see any amount of money as their personal re-election fund. There’s no accountability to what happens with the SSI funds. Would any of us put up with the person administering our 401k if we found out our account is full of I.O.U’s? Of course not!!!! So why should we put up with it now?? Increasing the amount of money allotted the problem only lends to tempt our representatives to spend more.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

      The only problem I have with the proposed 3% tax rate increase is that it is not progressive enough. Additional tax increases should be levied on those earning over $1M, and those earning over $100M.
      Billionaires don’t invest because the tax rate is 3% higher or lower, they invest when there is a high probability of a good return on investment. It is also worth remembering that not all investors are job creators. Wall Street investors are good at accumulating wealth, but they do nothing to spread the wealth…other than building an occasional car elevator in their mansions, grooming dancing horses, and enjoying shopping sprees in Paris, Rome, Madrid or London.

      • sumner41

        It should be added That Those above a 1/4 million RARELY “EARN” anything. They PROFIT FROM THOSE WHO ARE THE TRUE EARNERS,THE WORKER. These “suits” would be broke without someone to ACTUALLY PRODUCE A PRODUCT THAT COULD BE SOLD.

    • elw

      You should run for office

    • samboot

      let’s just go down the slope then everyone has skin in the game

  • old_blu

    I see where the Republicans at least put something on the table yesterday, of course they knew without a tax raise on the wealthy it was just a token, so they look like they are trying, they are trying to use the debt ceiling for leaverage, but you know in a couple of months when that comes up they are going to hold all Americans hostage just as they did before.

    I really don’t think they care about Americans, or what’s best for America. Why wouldn’t they want to raise taxes on the top two percent?

    • neece00

      Hi there friend, the interesting thing is that most of the American people do want the top 1% to pay more. At least we would like them to pay their fair share which is more than 14%.

      • old_blu

        Good morning to you my friend I thought I was the only one up this early. (i live in the north west) I’m glad at least the Republicans are doing something.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/RFEPMKNCBVGJYV2X7LBNDGRUEY William

          pretending to do something

          • old_blu

            You’re absolutely right about that.

        • neece00

          Well, I am in the east and I am up much earlier than you and already at work.

      • RealityBitesU

        Naw. 14% is way too low. Even though many now pay in the single digits. It should be 35%.

        • Sand_Cat

          I like the old 90%.

        • neece00

          I would even be happy if they paid what I paid last year and that is 28%.

      • idamag

        Neeceoo, and with all the loopholes the rich managed to get passed, they often pay nothing.

        • neece00

          Thanks and you are right, on top of a lower amount they pay, they get to add loopholes that mean they pay nothing.

    • Happy2bback

      Beause many of them live there.

      • old_blu

        Exactly!

    • Sand_Cat

      A small correction: they care deeply about “America” and “Americans”: they hate them passionately.
      The Bill of Rights”? Coddling criminals, whiners, and “takers.”
      Executive powers? A mild suggestion when one of them is president.
      The military? Look at what happens when they come home damaged by all the wars the Republicans so love.
      Those who built America and are now ready for a well-deserved rest? Let them eat cold cat food in the alley, provided Republican patrons can’t make money using it.
      Health Care? Best summarized by a Florida Congressman (Don’t get sick, or die quickly if you do).
      Public welfare, and safety? Bring back the OK Corral on every street corner until they can push through the “right” of nut-jobs to their own nuclear arsenals. I’ve already gone on more than needed. You all know the drill.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elisabeth.gordon1 Elisabeth Gordon

    Money does not change people, it reveals their true character. I think we can all agree that the people working against the best agenda for this country’s success have none.

  • MRD1056

    This is a great article and one that needs to be sent to every congress person and the president. One of the best ways for income equiality is to organize and form unions. The most prosperious time in this country is when organized labor was at its peak.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.czaplewski.1 John Czaplewski

    People who have money can afford to buy credibility. But money can’t buy character, that is something money can’t buy…

  • sumner41

    FDR was correct and served the PEOPLE. Which is why he was elected 4 times despite the dismay of the wealthy. Our senators and congress have allowed the days of the depression to return by deregulation and removing the glas-segal act. As well as greatly reducing taxes on the wealthy. The truth be told the wealthy DID NOT FOR THE MOST PART EARN THAT MONEY. It was money that should have been paid to the true EARNERS, the worker. Congress and the senate ALLOW products that are MADE OUTSIDE THE U.S. to come into the country almost tax-free (for their MASTERS in corps.) The ploy was”SAVING MONEY” it costs too much to be made here. BUT WHERE IS THE SAVINGS? IN THE POCKETS OF CORPARATIONS THAT USE DARN CLOSE TO SLAVE LABOR. NOW THE PLOY IS TO “SAVE MONEY” by gutting social programs also created in large part by FDR. And HOW WILL AMERICA BENEFIT? It will not. Just as TAX BREAKS FOR THE WEALTHY UNDER 8 YEARS OF BUSH DID NOT. They are pushing the same agenda. IN 8 YEARS OF BUSH,THERE WAS LITTLE TO KNOW JOB CREATION DESPITE THE WEALTHY PAYING LESS TAXES. There is NO RATIONAL REASON THAT CONTINUING THIS PRACTICE WILL DO SO NOW.

  • RealityBitesU

    Beautiful. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was one of the greatest Americans and Presidents that ever has graced this earth.

  • RealityBitesU

    Anyone ever read Huey P. Long’s ideas on the danger of the concentration of wealth and his plan to change that? It was he who FDR said “I may have to adopt some of his ideas”( in order to steal some of his thunder and quell down his stirrings of the people). Share Our Wealth platform and the Everyman A King, But No One Wears The Crown book are both interesting reads. T. Harry Williams Biography of Huey is a great book.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/Y4RZ2U6A7BHLQIS2F5AEYDYI64 raymond

    The time has come to put an end to this hording of vast wealth by 2 % of Americans. I am not saying to take from the rich and give to the poor like Robin Hood. It is time for the wealthy in this nation to rise up and take responsiblity for there wealth and give some of it back to Country that has made them wealthy. Some of them earned it some of them inherited it. But Americans make it possible the poor and middle class. Greed will distroy this nation and then where will the wealthy be? If it was not for the middle class and poor who would fight our wars and protect those 2%.?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/Y4RZ2U6A7BHLQIS2F5AEYDYI64 raymond

    If I get a bonus it is taxed at 30% and I am low middle class. Any one with windfall profits should pay more.

  • elw

    Good, honest and strong words from the past that still apply. It also shows we have been fighting this fight for close to a century. The Republicans will not go down easily, so lets give them a good fight. It is time for the rich to pay their fair share and to stop putting their poor, unworkable policies on the back of the Middle-Class. Go for it President Obama, fight them with everything you have. I will stand behind you and so will many others.

  • idamag

    This morning, on Washington Roundup, newspaper article: The GOP presented a plan to keep us from going over the fiscal cliff (like they really cared). It includes raising the eligible age for receiveing Medicare, eliminating cost of living hikes to Social Security, More tax reductions to the upper wage earners and closing loopholes. The loopholes were not defined. I know they proposed eliminating the earned income credit and at one time the mortgage deduction. The President turned it down.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/RFEPMKNCBVGJYV2X7LBNDGRUEY William

      That’s some plan alright!!!

  • Jack Wormer

    Based on their respective ages, soon there will be a massive exodus from this earthly plane by those of the 1%-ile class – and then they will come face to face with their impossibility …………
    TO TAKE IT WITH THEM!

  • HGLtraveling

    Being economically challenged creates the GREATE DIVIDE between those whoselives are valuable to this country and those whose lives are not. While it’s been said that “WORDS CAN’T KILL” there are 4 words that can kill. “NOT A COVERED BENEFIT” have been words that have killed and disabled milliions of Americans who canot afford to pay for healthcare out of pocket. And Obama Care does not appear to change that much, because bad health care is–in many instances–worse than none at all. In less all citizens can chose the kind and form of health care they need, equal rights will remain a myth!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/RFEPMKNCBVGJYV2X7LBNDGRUEY William

      The worst thing that happened to Obama Care is they let the Rep Party take out the public option, and then they didn’t vote for it anyways. I’ve had private insurance most of my life “Blue Cross, Etna, Etc” When I could no longer afford it I went into the VA System and it is the best coverage I have ever had. Now the Rep Party would like to turn it into a voucher program which should show you that they really don’t care about Vets. When you are of no further use to them they just want you to go away, that’s why they are always the first to cut benefits to prevent tax increases on the only people they care about, THE RICH.

  • jstsyn

    Well said. If everyone does not get it things will not change. The wealthy have put enough away for a while, it is time to do what we did years ago. Bring in the unions and fight the robber barons.

  • howa4x

    The president can’t compromise on his basic values. He tried that before and it got him nothing. We can easily cut 400 billion out of defense. We are leaving Afganistan and have no real enemy except small regional threats that can be handled by drones and special forces. Un known to Romney is that Russia is a trading partner, and so is China who are both buying T-bills. SS can be made solvent with a few fixes and there is over 700 billion of waste fraud and abuse in medicare/medicaid that can be taken out of the system, without harming one patient. We are the only country that dosen’t try to bargin with big pharma for their drugs and are the only fools to pay full price. I don’;t see where the fiscal cliff really is except for the bond markets. So what’s your deal republicans?

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