This is not 1932, you might say when we compare today’s financial disaster with the Great Depression. No, it’s not. But, there are similarities. You know, things like the stock market crashing and banks failing.
This time is also different in that the government is pumping money into the banking system to keep it viable. However, there are those who say that’s the wrong way to go.
Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1932, Whistlestop Campaign, New Albany, IN (Courtesy: Franklin D. Roosevelt (Library)
They are not opposed to the government intervening in the crisis, but they think the intervention needs to give relief to the average American, not just the banks. They point out that this is a good time to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure. That harkens back to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s public works programs.
“There is no way a modern economy can function without good roads, telecommunication, rail transport and an educated labour force,” Allan Mendelowitz told , a member and former chairman of the Federal Housing Finance Board, told Adrianne Appel of Inter Press Service.
Using money for those things provides jobs, which means that people will have money to spend, and since our economy depends heavily on consumer spending, it makes sense to target working Americans when deciding on where to prop up the economy.
Appel’s article reports that critics of the Bush administration say he waited until he could wait no longer to do something to stop the economic bleeding. They don’t believe he really wanted to do it because it flies in the face of the ideology he has been espousing. But, he really has no choice if he wants to prevent another Great Depression. But, the way he is doing it follows his philosophy of giving to the wealthy and hoping it will trickle down to the rest of us.
“Just think if we used those billions directly on jobs,” said Lewis Pitts, a public interest attorney in North Carolina.
“In the developed world we have the worst income distribution of any country. A smaller and smaller portion of our population has a larger claim on wealth. This manifests in that the working poor have less and less income and have a harder time making ends meet,” Mendelowitz said.
So, in that sense, we are back to 1932.
Congressional Democrats plan to start working on help for the average American, planning to allot $150 billion for roads and other infrastructure programs. But, Senate Republicans would probably filibuster any attempt to do that, or, if they didn’t, President Bush would probably veto the bill. That would mean a delay, but he’ll be gone in January and, if Sen. Obama is president, it will probably become law. McCain? It’s hard to tell. He did buy into the Bush economic program, but he is not, as he says, Bush, and he does have a habit of changing his mind.