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The ideological fight today also revolves around the same issues, as in 1936. The Republicans are espousing, as they did 76 years ago, smaller government, deregulation, trickle-down economics, deference to the wealthy, pro-business legislation, hostility to more federal spending, and accusations that Democrats are pushing for "Socialistic" planning. The Democrats, meantime, are running on 1936-like financial regulations, preservation of social reforms (for Obama, health care; for FDR in 1936, Social Security), assistance to small business, help for the unemployed, housing recovery, and berating the rich who are trying to block change.
The similarity between the two speeches—both in tone and targets—is striking.
FDR: "Nine mocking years with the golden calf . . . "
Obama: "It was a decade . . . when profits for many of these companies soared."
FDR: "We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking . . ."
Obama: "Our entire financial system was nearly destroyed."
FDR: "I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match."
Obama: "The share of national income flowing to the top 1% of people in this country has climbed to levels last seen in the 1920s. That is not fair. It is not right."
FDR: "Of course we will continue our help for the crippled, for the blind, for the mothers . . . "
Obama: "Two million mothers and young children would be cut from a program that gives them access to healthy food."
FDR: "Their solution for the relief problem is to end relief—to purge the rolls by starvation."
Obama: " . . . a cut that, according to one nonpartisan group, would take away health care for about 19 million Americans—19 million."
A side-by-side comparison of presidential records and the campaigns of 1936 and 2012 suggests how Obama might fare, too -- minus the landslide part. The resemblance starts, of course, with the poor quality of the underlying economy in those first four years.
The U.S. grew from 1933 to 1936, but neither the stock market nor the unemployment levels got back to where they had been at the market crash in 1929. Today, our data also sketch recovery, but neither the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDU) nor employment is back to pre-crash levels.
The most concerning thing at this point isn't necessarily the similarity to 1936, it is the timing and current weather pattern. Now that drought takes up most of the country, heat waves will become more frequent.
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney likened Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Adolf Hitler in a speech on Thursday to Jewish university students.
Generational Dynamics is based on the observation that although a society or nation may go to war often, these crisis wars, wars that create a visceral feeling of anxiety, terror and fury throughout the population, occur only occasionally. In particular, a crisis war occurs only when the generation of people who lived through the terror and anxiety of the last crisis war retire or die. This results in a cycle of crisis wars: Since the human lifetime is about 80 years, crisis wars tend to occur every 70-90 years in any society or nation. This chapter presents some basics to show how nations go from one major crisis war to another in roughly 80-year cycles. The number of years is approximate; it's usually 70-85 years, but some cycles run as little as 60 years or as many as 100 years.
For out of this modern civilization economic royalists carved new dynasties. New kingdoms were built upon concentration of control over material things. Through new uses of corporations, banks and securities, new machinery of industry and agriculture, of labor and capital - all undreamed of by the Fathers - the whole structure of modern life was impressed into this royal service.
Against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of government. The collapse of 1929 showed up the despotism for what it was. The election of 1932 was the people's mandate to end it. Under that mandate it is being ended.
The royalists of the economic order have conceded that political freedom was the business of the government, but they have maintained that economic slavery was nobody's business. They granted that the government could protect the citizen in his right to vote, but they denied that the government could do anything to protect the citizen in his right to work and his right to live.
Today we stand committed to the proposition that freedom is no half-and-half affair. If the average citizen is guaranteed equal opportunity in the polling place, he must have equal opportunity in the market place.
Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.
There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.
In this world of our in other lands, there are some people, who, in times past, have lived and fought for freedom, and seem to have grown too weary to carry on the fight. They have sold their heritage of freedom for the illusion of a living. They have yielded their democracy.
I believe in my heart that only our success can stir their ancient hope. They begin to know that here in America we are waging a great and successful war. It is not alone a war against want and destitution and economic demoralization. It is more than that; it is a war for the survival of democracy. We are fighting to save a great and precious form of government for ourselves and for the world.
We have nothing to fear but fear itself.
America will not forget these recent years, will not forget that the rescue was not a mere party task. It was the concern of all of us. In our strength we rose together, rallied our energies together, applied the old rules of common sense, and together survived.
In those days we feared fear. That was why we fought fear. And today, my friends, we have won against the most dangerous of our foes. We have conquered fear.