Restoring our Economy and Building a Movement
By Gaylan Z. Prescott
Your local union’s Rapid Response network just became more important than ever before. While we’ve elected a Congress and a President that have promised to work for working families instead of Wall Street, they have inherited the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Topping that off, these pro-worker politicians face an active group of obstructionist anti-labor politicians who would sabotage logical efforts to restore the economy rather than admit their “voodoo economic” policies led us to this place.
With more urgency than ever before, our Rapid Response effort needs you to once again make the call when asked, write the letter when it’s needed, and attend the rally when called upon to do so. It will only be with your continued efforts that we can send our elected officials the message that they must mobilize government to build a nation better equipped to fend off greedy investment bankers, self destructive foreign policies, and the devastating effects of market manipulations that lead to such things as $4.50/gal gasoline and tripling electricity rates.
Consider today the benefits that continue to flow from the investments that were made as a result of the New Deal policies enacted under the leadership of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The New Deal government provided a desperate nation safety from bank defaults with deposit insurance and bank regulation, passed the Social Security Act, put people to work building trails to access our national parks and forests, as well as building post offices, libraries, park buildings, hydro electric dams, agricultural irrigation systems, and city sewer and water systems. FDR’s Rural Electrification Project brought energy to homes that otherwise would never have enjoyed the benefits of electricity – spurring an ever-expanding U.S. industry of refrigeration, cooking, lighting, and heating appliance manufacturing.
With another critical element of FDR’s New Deal, the government grew demand by recognizing workers’ right to organize for collective bargaining and to demand fair compensation for the wealth they created. By passing the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, the government helped to grow workers’ economic power and security – thereby growing the economy and minimizing the wild fluctuations that had previously caused depression after depression.
For more than four decades, New Deal policies provided workers with ever-increasing economic power and security. Unfortunately, with precious few exceptions, during the last 30 years, our nation’s political leaders have rejected the lessons of the New Deal and instead embraced the mythology of supply-side economics. We witness first-hand today the wisdom of promoting “self above all else” economics and unregulated markets.
Powerful forces are now at work to prevent the nation from enacting real changes; changes like infrastructure investment and passage of the Employee Free Choice Act to re-build America and restore worker economic security. Only by working together now to move government to work for us can we rejoin our nation to the course of providing real freedom and economic security to her citizens.