What a 21st Century New Deal Would Look Like

People consider the Great Depression (1929-1941) to be the only economic depression the US has ever had, but it’s the one where we still have living survivors and a great deal of history recorded about it so that we can benchmark current economic situations to it. There are six other depressions on record in the US since 1789:

  1. 1807-1810
  2. 1815-1821
  3. 1837-1844 (the Long Depression)
  4. 1873-1879
  5. 1893-1898
  6. 1920-1921

There have been 47 recessions on record since 1790. What the MSM (mainstream media) and politicians call The Great Recession of today is actually another Long Depression with unemployment reaching Great Depression levels.

Realistically, unemployment for June 2013 was 23.4% and for July 2013 it was 23.3% according to economist John Williams’ Shadow Government Stats website; he calls the government’s official jobs report and unemployment rate “nonsense” (btw, he reports that April & May 2013 were both at 23% unemployment).

The “official” government unemployment rate is much lower as a result of manipulation which began in the Reagan years, and has continued on with the GHW Bush, Clinton, GW Bush, and Obama administrations. No one believes the government’s “official” numbers. The economy and most working people have either been stuck or losing ground the last twelve plus years because of bad economic policies from the president and congress.

Is there anything that can get the economy moving?
The short answer is yes. Quite a bit in fact.

Spending powers the economy, and there are three areas that power growth, create jobs, and strengthen the economy: 1) the private sector; 2) people; and 3) the government.

Currently, the private sector and people aren’t spending, so that leaves it up to the government.

Fixing the economy can be accomplished with government investment to create jobs in medicine, science, technology, engineering, the Arts, and other areas. A comprehensive strategy similar to the New Deal programs like the WPA (Works Progress Administration) would focus on creating 28 million new jobs, provide stability, and get the country out of the Long Depression (click each for details):

1) JOBS

2) EDUCATION

3) SOCIAL SECURITY & MEDICARE

4) MILITARY & FOREIGN POLICY

5) PERSONAL INCOME & WORKPLACE RIGHTS

6) ACCOUNTABILITY

7) WAR ON DRUGS

 

WHAT KIND OF JOBS?
Here is a detailed breakdown of the jobs and number of openings to be created.

Education
– Public schools, colleges, and universities (500K teachers)

Family
– Pay full-time parents $52K/yr with pension & benefits to raise families (one parent per family)

Foreign Policy
– 1 year citizenship path for undocumented immigrants (4 steps: apply, background check, citizenship test, take the oath)
– Open Border policy for North America (200K jobs)
– Peace Corps / AmeriCorps (300K jobs)

Healthcare
– Free local community healthcare clinics & hospitals (4.5 million new doctors and nurses)

Industry
– Auto industry (1.5 million jobs)
– Aviation (500K jobs)
– Bicycle manufacturing and nationwide bicycle trails  (400K jobs)
– Energy (1 million jobs)
– Financial – federal and state-owned banks where needed (500K jobs)
– Green Energy jobs – solar & wind power conversion (400k jobs)
– Media (1 million jobs)
– Pharmaceutical (1.5 million jobs)
– Shipbuilding (500K jobs)
– Telecommunications – ensure world class high-speed internet + cell phone coverage is available to everyone at a reasonable cost (1.5 million jobs)
– Transportation – Explore alternatives & expand high-speed rail nation-wide as an alternative to flying & driving (2 million jobs)
– Utility companies – Establish power cooperatives, bury all above-ground power/telco lines (1 million jobs)

Infrastructure
– Emergency – Summer Fire Fighting, Floods, Hurricanes, Tornados (200K jobs)
– Environment – cleanup and regulation with EPA (1 million jobs)
– Expand/establish community libraries (400K jobs)
– Expand the Post Office and make it employee-managed (1 million jobs)
– Technology – expand open source movement software & hardware
– National Arts program including music, literature, painting, murals, and other areas (1 million jobs)
– National Historic Preservation (100K jobs)
– National infrastructure rebuilding for roads, streets, state/national parks, buildings (500K jobs)
– Downtown Revitalization – prevent bankruptcy, local businesses, build community transit (1 million jobs)

Military Veterans
– Returning and current Vets (2.3 millions jobs)
– Bring troops home and put them to work on national infrastructure projects (nation-building at home)

Regulation
– Increase regulation of industries and food, water, air, and medicine safety through OSHA, EPA, FDA, SEC, and Justice (1.5 million jobs)
– Reform intellectual property and copyright laws (100K jobs)
– Increase Public Defenders (500K lawyers)
– Fund and add to IRS collection & operations (600K jobs)

Research
– NASA expansion for major missions (500K jobs)

Worker Rights (Full-time & Part-time)
– 30 days paid Sick Leave
– 28 hour work week considered full time
– 7 weeks paid vacation plus 15 paid federal holidays
– Cancel/rework all trade policies like NAFTA, TPP, etc
– Eliminate H-1B work visas, instead corporations can use American workers
– Forbid all sub-contracting beginning in 2017
– Give workers the right to continue running factories which employers decide to stop operating
– Grant 120 days of parental leave to mothers and fathers, give mothers who return to work 1.5 hours per day to breast feed and give new fathers and mothers absolute protection from discharge for the first 2 years after the birth of their child
– Increase worker rights and job protections which forbid employers from firing any worker (including non-union) without just cause
– Limit work week to 28 hours and require that workers be given three successive days off from work a week
– Require businesses to share at least 17% of their profits with workers
– Require companies to pay workers severance if they lose their job for any reason
– Give private sector workers the right to join government workers pension plans
– Right to unionize

Time for Change
We’ve been through twelve long years of terrible economic times under Republicans and Democrats with no end in sight. Despite all the make-believe fighting in Washington, you’re really watching a carefully orchestrated game to make sure it remains business-as-usual and nothing gets accomplished.

The reality is that even if Democrats controlled all three branches of government (as they did in 2009-10) instead of two, they still would only offer half-measures instead of what’s needed to get the country back on its feet and moving again.

Today, corporate profits are at all-time highs, wages are the lowest they’ve ever been, and unemployment is at record highs. Don’t expect the Democrats or the Republicans to fix the mess they’ve made the past 30+ years; their wealthy corporate bosses won’t allow it.

The only way this will change is if someone comes along and upsets the status quo.

Movements Past & Present
Do movements work today? No, for the most part. Except for the Voting Rights Act enacted under LBJ (which the ideologically-driven conservative SCOTUS gutted this year), movements as a whole haven’t worked since the 1930s when we saw unionization and better work  & living standards result as part of the New Deal. That was a result of people putting boots on the ground and pressuring politicians to act. Movements need leaders, not nebulous, feel-good, give-me-money organizations.

So what do we do?
At some point soon, a new party must emerge based on FDR’s New Deal values along with 21st century progressive values. With the technology available today, it will take one presidential election cycle to make a party a viable contender. You don’t need to compete money-wise with the Dems and the GOP. As Jim Hightower points out, when progressive candidates get their message across, they win almost every time.

Besides, we all pretty much agree that money is the problem; then we get candidates like Obama and Romney who prove it. Money is the reason why things are terrible today and reliance on it means becoming another corporate party, instead of being public servants. Remember the insurgent campaigns of Robert Kennedy and George McGovern? They alone proved that the message is more important than money.

$200 and 200 hours
Acting on Ralph Nader’s suggestion, the best way to get people on board is to limit campaign donations to $200 and ask for 200 hours of volunteer service. This means the new party will be run by its members, not corporations or the elites.

People have a decision to make
Every four years, we’re given a choice of two candidates put up by the establishment and funded by wealthy donors. There really is no difference between the candidates, and those donations come with strings attached.

You can look back over the past thirty-plus years and see how this has unfolded: destruction of the middle class, record job losses, record unemployment, wealth transfer to the rich, two systems of justice, a system tilted in favor of the rich, and on and on and on it goes. America has lost its way thanks to these characters, and along with it, the prestige and prominence earned over the past century, as well as other countries’ goodwill.

In other words, these characters have been undermining and destroying America from the inside for their own profit and benefit. In any country, that is considered treason and an attack on its citizens’ welfare.

So the question is, are you going to let the Walmart heirs and the Koch Brothers of the world win this fight?

Think of how things are today, and realize that as bad as they are, they can get much worse if we continue to leave corporate subservient do-nothing Democrats and Republicans in charge.

Getting America back on track is not impossible. That alone should motivate anyone who loves their country, wants a better future, and who knows the difference between right and wrong, to act for change.