Our View

Published 6:28 pm Tuesday, March 10, 2009

By Staff
Lessons can be learned from Great Depression
From 1921 until 1933, 12 long years, the Republicans controlled the White House and did nothing. When Franklin D. Roosevelt assumed the presidency in 1933, he took over for a Republican administration that had brought us to the brink of total financial ruin. The Great Depression, began on Tuesday, October 29, 1929 as the stock market began a steady plunge into the abyss. The United States and the economies of the industrial world followed suit and came to a crashing halt.
In Roosevelt's first inaugural address on March 4, 1933 he spoke of the “only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Mr. Roosevelt got it! Here was a man confined to a wheelchair, a man who needed assistance to stand and “walk” anywhere, a man that had a vision for the United States and built us a legacy that succeeding Republican administrations have spent years trying to tear down, a man that made the Republican Party so angry by his sheer popularity they created the the 22nd Amendment just to prevent anyone else from being elected to more than two terms as president … oops, sorry Ronald Reagan. He initiated programs such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to protect our money in the banks. The Tennessee Valley Authority , which furnishes hydro electricity to much of the southeast, and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, which was to oversee and regulate the stock exchanges and the nation's commerce. His most important and far reaching legacy is the Social Security system which has benefitted millions of Americans since its inception.
As for reinstituting the Civil Conservation Court (CCC) just for teenagers, this is ludicrous and laughable. Disenfranchisement means being left out but apathy is choosing to be left out. Just look at the last city election and the number of voting compared to registered voters … laughable.
First there is the obvious child labor issue … how young would you have them begin working … 13, 14? How do they get to work … their mother is already working 2 jobs and their father, if he is in the picture, hopefully has at least one job. Where are you going to get the money to pay them “the minimum wage – if not more”, from their already overtaxed and overworked and overburdened parent(s)? Get real and get a job.
I also love the way you say “A modern CCC could keep teenagers busy painting their schools, laying sidewalks and bicycle trails, planting trees, maintaining public transportation entities, and serving in other capacities that utilize our nation’s youth to build our country up for the future they will inherit.” We already have workers doing these jobs to support their families … would you fire them as being unnecessarily redundant since you would now have cheap, unskilled teenagers to do the jobs. And your statement that “allowing states and municipalities to contract the young workers for local public works projects, and by requiring that sub branches of government give the youth agency priority for contracts on projects financed through federal grants” is priceless. Are you going to have these teenagers represented by a union to negotiate the contract? Alabama is a “right to work” state so exactly how will you do that since minors can not make binding contracts.
If you really want to learn about the Great Depression and understand how bad things were, may I suggest John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath”, a gut wrenching depiction of the heartache and struggles that the average American citizen went through as they struggled with everyday existence. It was first published in 1939 and was awarded both the Nobel Prize for literature and the Pulitzer Prize for it’s author. It is a good read. The novel focuses on a poor family of sharecroppers who are forced from their home as drought, economic hardship, and changes in the agricultural industry occur during the Great Depression.
Satayana said, “Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it." Enough said.
Dan Currie

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