When Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated in March, 1933, the United States was at the nadir of the worst depression in history. 25% of the workforce was unemployed. 2 million were homeless. By the evening of the March 4th inauguration, 32 of the 48 states had closed their banks. The New York Federal Reserve Bank was unable to open on the 5th, as huge sums had been withdrawn by panicky customers in previous days. Beginning with his inauguration address, Roosevelt began blaming the economic crisis on bankers and financiers, the quest for profit, and the self-interest basis of capitalism: "Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men... The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit." FDR saw "social values", americans helping americans, redistributing the wealth so that all are provided for to help get us out of the economic depression (through national agencies he created such as the Works Project Administration and the National Recovery Administration), as a much greater public good than "the self-interest basis of capitalism" or "mere monetary profit". Roosevelt was not big on an economic philosophy that centered mostly around a (Milton Friedman-style) Market Economy. He would have certainly loathed the capitalism we have today where a corporation hires workers as a labour commodity to produce material wealth and boost shareholder profits. His inauguration on March 4, 1933, occurred exactly in the middle of a bank panic. Roosevelt thought that the Depression was caused in part by people no longer spending or investing because they were afraid. Fear played a large part in moving a stock market crash and a recession into banks collapsing and a Great Depression. This was the backdrop for FDR's famous line on March 4: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." FDR was governor of New York when he began campaigning for president in the 1932 election (he had built up a strong political base as governor of the nation's most populous state. He built a national coalition with personal allies such as newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst and Irish leader Joseph Kennedy, Sr.). After Texas, when Roosevelt clinched the democratic nomination, he said in his acceptance speech: "Throughout the nation men and women, forgotten in the political philosophy of the Government, look to us here for guidance and for more equitable opportunity to share in the distribution of national wealth. I pledge you, I pledge myself to a new deal for the American people... This is more than a political campaign. It is a call to arms." ------------------------------ It's pretty clear that Barack Obama does not share the socialist-leaning philosophies of FDR, at least, not to FDR's extent. Hopefully, when the state stimulus monies kick in, we will get this economy moving again. Both economist Paul Krugman and Naomi Klein feel that the Wall Street and bank bailouts -- all those hundreds of billions of dollars going to Bank of Ameica and Citigroup and AIG to prop up the collapse of an internationally-connected financial system -- will be remembered as the greatest monetary heist in history. The greatest tranfer of public wealth into private hands. Paul Krugman thinks the stimulus package (Obama's plan to support jobs and output with a large, temporary rise in federal spending), as opposed to a Wall Street Bailout (propping up the very people who got us into this mess in the first place) is a good thing. Krugman, in fact, thinks the stimulus package needed to be 2 to 3 times bigger, giving monetary aid directly back to the people, not corporations. Via work programs and social services the way FDR did. Why is the redistribution of wealth going to corporations? I'm starting to lose heart in Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke's explanations of how it's needed to prevent an international collapse. Those hundreds of billions of dollar are OUR money, taxpayer money. Corporations make billions of dollars in profits (from american citizens), and when their bad, even criminal, business practice lead the corporations to collapse, they double-dip, they come right back to the american citizen to give them more money. We should NOT be redistributing our money back in their direction. We should be redistributing it back to help average americans, which is the mark of true liberalism, the FDR solution. And when is this system of governmental regulations we were promised going to kick in? Without regulating capitalism, we are back to square one. We are back to corporate greed and what FDR, one of our greatest presidents, called the self-interest basis of capitalism.