Sept. 30, 1934, Fireside Chat, President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Sept. 30, 1934, Fireside Chat, President Franklin D. Roosevelt September 30, 2011

To those who say that our expenditures for Public Works and other means for recovery are a waste that we cannot afford, I answer that no country, however rich, can afford the waste of its human resources. Demoralization caused by vast unemployment is our greatest extravagance. Morally, it is the greatest menace to our social order. Some people try to tell me that we must make up our minds that for the future we shall permanently have millions of unemployed just as other countries have had them for over a decade. What may be necessary for those countries is not my responsibility to determine. But as for this country, I stand or fall by my refusal to accept as a necessary condition of our future a permanent army of unemployed. On the contrary, we must make it a national principle that we will not tolerate a large army of unemployed and that we will arrange our national economy to end our present unemployment as soon as we can and then to take wise measures against its return. I do not want to think that it is the destiny of any American to remain permanently on relief rolls.

Read the entire speech. It’s kind of relevant.

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  • Anonymous

    Excellent.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent.

  • Apocalypse Review

    Thanks, I forgot all about Britain’s hardships after going back on the gold standard and throwing millions out of work in the miner’s strikes in the years that followed.

  • Apocalypse Review

    Thanks, I forgot all about Britain’s hardships after going back on the gold standard and throwing millions out of work in the miner’s strikes in the years that followed.

  • To quote today’s xkcd, “If your quick with a knife, you’ll find the invisible hand is made of delicious invisible meat.”  

    The question here is, who is eating whom?  

  • To quote today’s xkcd, “If your quick with a knife, you’ll find the invisible hand is made of delicious invisible meat.”  

    The question here is, who is eating whom?  

  • Albanaeon

    With a little side cartoon of Leo yelling down the pit, “Now hurry up and bootstrap your way back up here so we can do this again!”

  • Albanaeon

    With a little side cartoon of Leo yelling down the pit, “Now hurry up and bootstrap your way back up here so we can do this again!”

  • Lori

    My one quibble is that I think it can be argued that the Tragedy of the Commons is and always has been the Tragedy of You’re a Dick. 

  • Lori

    My one quibble is that I think it can be argued that the Tragedy of the Commons is and always has been the Tragedy of You’re a Dick. 

  • Beepymusics

    You are correct to say that this interconnectedness makes it hard to start over if you want to, but it also makes things like being a serial rapist harder.

  • Beepymusics

    You are correct to say that this interconnectedness makes it hard to start over if you want to, but it also makes things like being a serial rapist harder.

  • Lori

     You are correct to say that this interconnectedness makes it hard to start over if you want to, but it also makes things like being a serial rapist harder.  

     

    I’m not sure that, on balance, this is true. Yes, modern technology can result in catching criminals of all sorts who move from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. That doesn’t seem to be vastly reducing the number of rapes though. That’s because there are a great many factors at work beyond the CSI-stuff. 

    My issue is not with interconnectedness per se, it’s with the way we’re using it. We’ve turned the tools of interconnectedness into weapons against people we shouldn’t be fighting. That has jack to do with catching rapists. 

  • Lori

     You are correct to say that this interconnectedness makes it hard to start over if you want to, but it also makes things like being a serial rapist harder.  

     

    I’m not sure that, on balance, this is true. Yes, modern technology can result in catching criminals of all sorts who move from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. That doesn’t seem to be vastly reducing the number of rapes though. That’s because there are a great many factors at work beyond the CSI-stuff. 

    My issue is not with interconnectedness per se, it’s with the way we’re using it. We’ve turned the tools of interconnectedness into weapons against people we shouldn’t be fighting. That has jack to do with catching rapists. 

  • “You are correct to say that this interconnectedness makes it hard to
    start over if you want to, but it also makes things like being a serial
    rapist harder.”

    This crossed my mind as well. I think it does make serial criminals easier to catch, but it has lots of negative consequences. It makes it necessary for anyone wishing to start over with a clean slate to become a criminal (obtain a false ID, falsify documents, etc). It makes it so that if anyone is discovered to have done this, people will assume they are a serial rapist/criminal/embezzler/whatever, no matter what the actual reason was for wanting to start over. It makes it more difficult to escape an abuser or a stalker, and easier for past abusers/stalkers to track you down again. It makes it more difficult in general for people to escape bad economic situations. It makes it impossible to get a job or a place to live if the law decides you aren’t who you say you are.

    I’m not sure the one benefit really offsets all that.

    It kind of reminds me of the “real name only policy” blowup Google+ is having right now…there’s a big debate around the internet over whether people should have to declare their real identities online (thus preventing people from “starting over”, in a sense), or whether they have the right to use an avatar or separate online identity.

  • “You are correct to say that this interconnectedness makes it hard to
    start over if you want to, but it also makes things like being a serial
    rapist harder.”

    This crossed my mind as well. I think it does make serial criminals easier to catch, but it has lots of negative consequences. It makes it necessary for anyone wishing to start over with a clean slate to become a criminal (obtain a false ID, falsify documents, etc). It makes it so that if anyone is discovered to have done this, people will assume they are a serial rapist/criminal/embezzler/whatever, no matter what the actual reason was for wanting to start over. It makes it more difficult to escape an abuser or a stalker, and easier for past abusers/stalkers to track you down again. It makes it more difficult in general for people to escape bad economic situations. It makes it impossible to get a job or a place to live if the law decides you aren’t who you say you are.

    I’m not sure the one benefit really offsets all that.

    It kind of reminds me of the “real name only policy” blowup Google+ is having right now…there’s a big debate around the internet over whether people should have to declare their real identities online (thus preventing people from “starting over”, in a sense), or whether they have the right to use an avatar or separate online identity.

  • My one quibble is that I think it can be argued that the Tragedy of the Commons is and always has been the Tragedy of You’re a Dick.

    It always has been.  It is perhaps the single biggest issues that communism has, unfortunately.  When one is tied into a vast system where individual effort is insignificant in the face of the collective effort, it becomes easy for a person to just stop trying and ride the wave of effort produced by everyone else.  Maybe that one effort will not be missed, but if enough people have the same mentality, well, you can see why that becomes a problem.  

  • My one quibble is that I think it can be argued that the Tragedy of the Commons is and always has been the Tragedy of You’re a Dick.

    It always has been.  It is perhaps the single biggest issues that communism has, unfortunately.  When one is tied into a vast system where individual effort is insignificant in the face of the collective effort, it becomes easy for a person to just stop trying and ride the wave of effort produced by everyone else.  Maybe that one effort will not be missed, but if enough people have the same mentality, well, you can see why that becomes a problem.  

  • … I may need to draw this, because I’m laughing pretty darn hard right now ><

  • … I may need to draw this, because I’m laughing pretty darn hard right now ><

  • I pasted the picture because these days, it apparently is more important to focus on relatively transient and minor issues than on the deeper structural problems that people like FDR focussed squarely on and made their mission to solve.

    It worked, too, as we got the Great Compression:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Compression

  • I pasted the picture because these days, it apparently is more important to the media to focus on relatively transient and minor issues than on the deeper structural problems that people like FDR focussed squarely on and made their mission to solve.

    It worked, too, as we got the Great Compression:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Compression

  • P J Evans

     There are still people around – people too young to remember, at that – who nearly froth at the mouth when you bring up FDR.

  • P J Evans

     There are still people around – people too young to remember, at that – who nearly froth at the mouth when you bring up FDR.

  • http://www4.picturepush.com/photo/a/6667357/img/6667357.jpg

    Some of the more determined Republicans haven’t changed in 70 years. Talk about people who’ve never learned to walk forwards!

  • http://www4.picturepush.com/photo/a/6667357/img/6667357.jpg

    Some of the more determined Republicans haven’t changed in 70 years. Talk about people who’ve never learned to walk forwards!

  • Sad but true.  I think in a lot of ways it’s because they’re too young to have been their first hand, and also don’t study history with any kind of critical eye.

    I mean I’m only 28, obviously my knowledge of FDR is entirely second hand – but I study history as a hobby and also because I feel it is *essential* to being a good voter to understand what it was that came before – because what came before almost invariably has ties to what is happening *now*.

    I mean the Civil War ended around 146 years ago.  It still has a very, very direct impact today on our national politics.  It should be no surprise then that something that happened a mere 70-80 years ago has a powerful impact.

    Blergh, I’m not even sure what my point is except “Yes, there are people that stupid, and yes, it drives me up the goddamn walls.”

  • Sad but true.  I think in a lot of ways it’s because they’re too young to have been their first hand, and also don’t study history with any kind of critical eye.

    I mean I’m only 28, obviously my knowledge of FDR is entirely second hand – but I study history as a hobby and also because I feel it is *essential* to being a good voter to understand what it was that came before – because what came before almost invariably has ties to what is happening *now*.

    I mean the Civil War ended around 146 years ago.  It still has a very, very direct impact today on our national politics.  It should be no surprise then that something that happened a mere 70-80 years ago has a powerful impact.

    Blergh, I’m not even sure what my point is except “Yes, there are people that stupid, and yes, it drives me up the goddamn walls.”

  • Rayford is probably busily spit-shining his bosses shoes.  Inside he’s grumbling about it, but he’s doing it anyway.

  • Rayford is probably busily spit-shining his bosses shoes.  Inside he’s grumbling about it, but he’s doing it anyway.

  • Oh yeah, for some fun, watch this old ad from 1940:

    http://www.archive.org/details/TruthAbo1940

    The more doctrinaire Repubs haven’t changed their tune in years. They still love trashing Democrats for spending money on poor people while dressing themselves in the flag.

  • Oh yeah, for some fun, watch this old ad from 1940:

    http://www.archive.org/details/TruthAbo1940

    The more doctrinaire Repubs haven’t changed their tune in years. They still love trashing Democrats for spending money on poor people while dressing themselves in the flag.

    Oh, and I found an interesting book on the Internet Archive that discusses the “Republican Ascendancy” from 1921-1933 and it has some very unflattering things to say about the 1920s in the USA. :P

    http://www.archive.org/details/republicanascend017977mbp

  • Lori

    Earlier today, Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, lead an event at the Brookings Institution on addressing the jobs crisis. (Transcript & video link here: http://www.brookings.edu/events/2011/0930_jobs_trumka.aspx)

    At the event he was asked about the Wall St. protests, which many unions will be joining next Wednesday. His response:

    I think it’s a tactic and a valid tactic to call attention to a
    problem. Wall Street is out of control. We have three imbalances in this
    country—the imbalance between imports and exports, the imbalance
    between employer power and working power, and the imbalance between the
    real economy and the financial economy. We need to bring back balance to
    the financial economy, and calling attention to it and peacefully
    protesting is a very legitimate way of doing it.

    http://www.thenation.com/blog/163737/afl-cios-trumka-hails-occupy-wall-street-protests

    This is what I was talking about in my earlier comment. Capitalism is supposed to be a 3-legged stool; with the needs of capital, workers and consumers in balance. What we have now is a bar stool, only capital matters, but that’s not how it’s supposed to work.

  • Lori

    Earlier today, Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, lead an event at the Brookings Institution on addressing the jobs crisis. (Transcript & video link here: http://www.brookings.edu/events/2011/0930_jobs_trumka.aspx)

    At the event he was asked about the Wall St. protests, which many unions will be joining next Wednesday. His response:

    I think it’s a tactic and a valid tactic to call attention to a
    problem. Wall Street is out of control. We have three imbalances in this
    country—the imbalance between imports and exports, the imbalance
    between employer power and working power, and the imbalance between the
    real economy and the financial economy. We need to bring back balance to
    the financial economy, and calling attention to it and peacefully
    protesting is a very legitimate way of doing it.

    http://www.thenation.com/blog/163737/afl-cios-trumka-hails-occupy-wall-street-protests

    This is what I was talking about in my earlier comment. Capitalism is supposed to be a 3-legged stool; with the needs of capital, workers and consumers in balance. What we have now is a bar stool, only capital matters, but that’s not how it’s supposed to work.

  • chris the cynic

    For a class I had I was required to write an op-ed* I decided to do it on debt and taxes.  My point was that as a percent of GDP the debt was higher before (World War II was expensive and after it was over we were in deep debt) and yet it wasn’t apocalyptic and didn’t force us to cut back on government, instead we expanded making government bigger and better.  The difference being taxes.  (The top marginal tax rate averaged 90 percent over the period I looked at.) 

    Ok, so onto the point of this post: when my father read what I had written he assured me that it was very radical because I was asking people to remember all the way back to the 50s and 60s.  Gasp.  He then shared this quote from Utah Phillips, “The long memory is the most radical idea in America.

    * I was required to write it, not send it into a paper.  I did eventually send it to the local paper in part because my teacher’s feedback was something along the lines of, “Put a comma here, I like this bit, for the love of God get this published.”

  • For a class I had I was required to write an op-ed* I decided to do it on debt and taxes.  My point was that as a percent of GDP the debt was higher before (World War II was expensive and after it was over we were in deep debt) and yet it wasn’t apocalyptic and didn’t force us to cut back on government, instead we expanded making government bigger and better.  The difference being taxes.  (The top marginal tax rate averaged 90 percent over the period I looked at.) 

    Ok, so onto the point of this post: when my father read what I had written he assured me that it was very radical because I was asking people to remember all the way back to the 50s and 60s.  Gasp.  He then shared this quote from Utah Phillips, “The long memory is the most radical idea in America.

    [added]
    Actually I think he might have said it was, “The long memory is the most radical thing in America,” and attributed it to Clair Spark, but I’m not completely sure on that point.
    [/added]

    * I was required to write it, not send it into a paper.  I did eventually send it to the local paper in part because my teacher’s feedback was something along the lines of, “Put a comma here, I like this bit, for the love of God get this published.”

  • That is fantastic – I’m glad your teacher pushed you to get it published too that’s a great thing.

    And yeah, it’s scary just how rebellious and radical a concept like history is in this country.  Which is a damned shame.  The irony that so many people who allow themselves to be duped so easily for a willful lack of understanding history, are the same people who VERY LOUDLY proclaim how much they love their country AND how individualistic they are is… just sad honestly.  It’s not even funny anymore.

  • That is fantastic – I’m glad your teacher pushed you to get it published too that’s a great thing.

    And yeah, it’s scary just how rebellious and radical a concept like history is in this country.  Which is a damned shame.  The irony that so many people who allow themselves to be duped so easily for a willful lack of understanding history, are the same people who VERY LOUDLY proclaim how much they love their country AND how individualistic they are is… just sad honestly.  It’s not even funny anymore.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, great. Now you’ve got me contemplating the thermodynamics of the Great Compression and the Great Divergence. There goes my Saturday…

  • Anonymous

    Oh, great. Now you’ve got me contemplating the thermodynamics of the Great Compression and the Great Divergence. There goes my Saturday…

  • Lonespark

    Yes. 
    This.

  • Lonespark

    Yes. 
    This.

  • Lonespark

    You’re…not wrong.  Certainly.  But you do reach a point where people who use information are flooded with it and can’t get to the useful information quickly enough.

  • Lonespark

    You’re…not wrong.  Certainly.  But you do reach a point where people who use information are flooded with it and can’t get to the useful information quickly enough.

  • Lonespark

    Yeah, and rape is a bad example, because of all the social factors that go into defining/preventing/discouraging/punishing it.  I suppose it is harder to…abandon a bunch of families in different states, maybe?  But not impossible.

  • Lonespark

    Yeah, and rape is a bad example, because of all the social factors that go into defining/preventing/discouraging/punishing it.  I suppose it is harder to…abandon a bunch of families in different states, maybe?  But not impossible.

  • Lonespark

    Oh please do.  Maybe make t-shirts?

  • Lonespark

    Oh please do.  Maybe make t-shirts?