FDR’s Legacy 65 Years Later

by Ryan on April 12, 2010

in Anything Else,Health Care,History,Nostalgia,Politics

Two critical things happened in American history today:  the first is that today marks the 149th anniversary of the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, SC, which began the Civil War in 1861.  Seven states had already seceded and four others were about to go as well, leading to the largest trauma in our nation’s history.

The other is the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945.  Long regarded as one of the best presidents in our history, a sober look at his record shows that Roosevelt caused much harm to this country.  At best he was an able and inspirational wartime President, at worst he was the American Dictator, elected four times and seemed to stick around until this day, 65 years ago when nature did what American politics would not do — he left office, dead of a “terrific headache” caused by a severe brain hemorrhage.

I’m not going to write a treatise on the good and the bad of FDR, but I will entertain a few thoughts about his legacy.  By shattering the “old faith” the masses had of pure American rugged individualism, FDR ushered in an Entitlement Era in which government intrusion into our lives took a benign face:  a permanent solution (perpetual government entitlements) to a temporary problem (the Great Depression).  We chugged along for a while until this “new faith” was severely tested in the 1970s, which illuminated some of its fatal flaws.  Yet little was done to truly rein-in the government in a more permanent way, except perhaps the inspiration of Ronald Reagan on today’s debate about the role of government in our lives.

Today, the old faith that the government is the benign helper is showing its fundamental flaw in ways obvious in hindsight but unimaginable to the old New Dealers:  the Entitlement Era may sound nice, but it’s completely unsustainable.  Simply, we’ve promised more than our ability to provide and a day of reckoning is fast approaching no matter how earnestly we try to postpone it.

President Obama is trying to solve today’s problems in a new era of globalization with an old paradigm doomed to fail as spectacularly as it was perceived to have helped some 77 years ago.  This Entitlement Crisis of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and now Obama Care has the potential to be as convulsive as anything this country has seen in 80 years.  The old faith will ultimately collapse under its own weight, pushing our nation further into crisis.

And we get to thank the American Dictator, FDR, for getting it started with false promises of economic security in exchange for maintaining power those many decades ago.  It’s a Faustian bargain our politicians still play today.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

TESS April 13, 2010 at 7:49 am

Today we are being led by ‘false hope’ from a president that
does not seem to love this country. We must band together
and show President OBAMA that the United States is not
backing down and we MUST retain our leadership in this
harsh world if peace is to come to all men and all countries.

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