What Obama Can Learn From FDR

Friday, January 09, 2009

Just days before the Obama inauguration, we look back at the first one hundred days of FDR’s presidency...which also came at a time of economic crisis. Adam Cohen is author of Nothing to Fear.


Adam Cohen

Comments [13]

markbnj from or

I hope you come to my blog, and comment there.

either with or without an email id...

Jan. 09 2009 01:24 PM
markbnj from or

part 2 of comment.
(re: my proposed mandatory conscription plan)

Think of this as a program to get our next generation involved in our communities.

And it is also (I believe) community based....

and (for example) a great way to take kids who want to do construction, and teach/mentor them into a system that will also allow them to earn

what I call a LIVING wage. (see here: )

The last scenario (d) exists today when we have a "so-called" volunteer army.
BS. it isn't volunteer, and it ISN't FAIR.

The issue of fairness is why I feel this should be quite MANDATORY.

Everyone ABSOLUTELY needs to be in the program.
Either military or non military.

And, to help get this started, it will have a FIVE year period to be phased in (only kids 12 or younger will eventually be 'conscripted.'

and the reason for that is so that the ENTIRE country can start to learn (as well as the kids) WHY we need to start to serve our COUNTRY, and what will happen in their future.

PS: both the military and non-military options could lead to full time, full careers...

So the bottom line: is;

we need to do what john Kennedy asked us to do,
'ask not what our country can do for US, but what WE can do for our country'

Jan. 09 2009 01:22 PM
markbnj from or

#10 before you criticize my program go and READ it in detail.
(look here: )

There are 4 options. going/not going college

and military and NON/military options.

a) if you are going to college (non-military)

you will wind up performing your service AT your school, during vacations, with a group of your school peers (say 30-60 days a year...) This is PAID time, and will ALSO help offset the COST of your education

b) if you are going to college (military)
it will be similar to ROTC, which may mean you might be assigned (for grad school for example?) to Medical school, or accounting, or whatever....

I dont want to take away choice.

scenario c) not going to school/trade school, (non-military)

a group of 30-60 people from your neighborhood will become a "class" that will go to another area for service for training.

got aptitude for numbers???

The concept goes as far as establishing a
Service Academy (just like West Point)
which will do advanced training if wanted.

Want to be a plumber?

Think (example again) of building houses for communities... (habitat for humanity).

the kids wanna be plumbers will become plumbers trainees on their eventual job site.

The kids wanna be mechanics... likewise...

It's a response to a REAL problem we have, in this country, in which SOME of the population
has NOT had the opportunity/chance/learning/advantage to get the foundations they need for future earnings.

Dont think of this as mandatory service.

(see part 2)

Jan. 09 2009 01:21 PM


>>>I think we need a new mandatory conscription program for 17 yr olds (or HS graduates) that will:<<<

What happened to living in a free society. What if my talents lie elsewhere? What if I have a scholarship to Harvard or somewhere else.

What if I am able to get a job in the private sector.

Why not make it voluntary?

Jan. 09 2009 01:00 PM
markbnj from or

#6 The demand for stuff approaching to WWII did help, but it did NOT reslove the pblms.

it WAS roosevelt's policies (think WORK PROJECTS administration (where writers Wrote, artists painted, and photographers photograped.)

I think we need a new mandatory conscription program for 17 yr olds (or HS graduates) that will:

a) help them to get a trade (or work in service to the country if they are attending college).
b) help our country by mass - service projects (think WPA)
c) help change our 'me me me' society into a
WHAT's good for US society...


many of MY programs came directly from ideas from FDR's FIRST 'new deal'

the second new deal (yes we WILL see this again, Leonard) MUST all be worked on at once otherwise dropping one ball while juggling...

and mandatory conscription (military or non-military) is key to changing our hopes and changes.

Jan. 09 2009 12:38 PM

I believe it was called the Agricultural Adjustment Administration

Jan. 09 2009 12:37 PM

What about the burning of crops and slaughter of livestock to keep process artificially high during the Depression? Why did the government do that when people didn't have enough to eat back then?

Jan. 09 2009 12:35 PM
Moiz (like boys with an 'M') from NJ


Can you ask your guest if there is any truth to the claims that it was WWII that got us out of the depression, rather than FDR's policies.

Jan. 09 2009 12:29 PM
Carlos Ocon from Red Bank NJ

What role does guest think welfare reform may have had in current crisis?

For example, this reform did withdraw some amount of aggregate demand from the economy.

This clearly is not among the major causes of this current situation, but it may have contributed significantly nonetheless.

Jan. 09 2009 12:18 PM
markbnj from or

#1: Jerry: the stock market crashed PRE-dated the depression, but the fact that so much capital was tied up and lost DID affect and eventually lead to the depression

#2 Adam. Great job on the book..


It IS a depression. It WONT be OFFICIALLY a depression until we get to the 25% unemployment number.

We're IN in NOW. unemployment has risen from 5% to 7% in ONLY two months.

We;re NOT going to be at 25% until sometime in late 2010 or early 2011.

But Bernanke HAS been doing as much as he could do to prevent it.

Too little, too late...

And yes, I am sorry we;re in it.

And I also predict the down will bottom out at
6570 sometime june 2011 ish.

AND my ENTIRE blog is dedicated to MINIMIZING the effects of this second depression on Our country.
it's a 12 step program that includes:
living wage
job training
nationalized health care
public work spending...
mandatory service to our country (military/non military)
as well as:
political $$ reform
TRUTH and Reconciliation commission...

blog at

Jan. 09 2009 12:18 PM
Paulo from Paterson, NJ

If you're going to talk about the gold standard issue, you should bring up the coup attempt.

Jan. 09 2009 12:17 PM
BRF from Brooklyn

Did your guest just say that Mark Twain explained an FDR fireside chat? Eh?

Jan. 09 2009 12:14 PM
Jerry from Elmhurst, Queens

Your guest seems to imply that the stock market crash caused the Great Depression.. Most economists would say this is not true.

Jan. 09 2009 12:12 PM

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