Posted December 17, 2013 at 8:00 am, in From the USW International President
It was a hard knock life at Christmas in 1933, and it’s a hard knock holiday 80 years later.
In the musical “Annie,” set in 1933 during the Great Depression, the cast sings about it:
“The children don’t grin;
The Santas are thin. . .
And all through the land folks are bawling
And filled with despair
‘Cause cupboards are bare.” ~ New Deal for Christmas
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who helps rescue Annie in the musical fantasy, saved the country in real life with his New Deal. In response to massive unemployment, bread lines, homelessness and misery, FDR gave America Social Security, unemployment insurance, minimum wage, public works jobs and collective bargaining. He gave hope to everyday Americans.
In the decades since then, Republicans have tried relentlessly to destroy the New Deal. They weakened collective bargaining rights in 1947. They delayed minimum wage increases and opposed stimulus to create public works jobs in the Great Recession. They want to privatize Social Security and voucherize Medicare.
Now, while millions of Americans continue to suffer from the Great Recession, Republicans have redoubled their efforts to kill the New Deal. They’re intent on crushing the social insurance programs that enable Americans to care for one another when tragedy or natural disaster or hard times hit. Republicans want to enshrine in law their belief that workers must display devotion and loyalty to employers, but corporations bear no reciprocal responsibility to pay living wages and keep pension promises. Theirs is a raw deal. (more…)