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History repeats
by Jeff Blanck
Aug 25, 2008 | 642 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On TV the other night, I saw Harry Truman give his acceptance speech at the 1948 Democratic Convention in Philadelphia. The issues that were facing the country at that time were eerily similar to what the country is now facing.

Truman was a Democratic incumbent President, but he had to work with a Republican-dominated Congress. In his speech, he berated the Republicans for giving tax breaks to the wealthy and to corporations while the middle class was suffering. Truman also criticized the Republican Congress for not strengthening Social Security and for actually cutting people off.

On the issue of health care, Truman stated that he had been unable to provide health care benefits to all Americans because those bills languished in committees and were never brought to a vote. Truman was never able to get his desire for sole provider health care (Medicaid for all) into law. There was also a housing shortage crisis which Congress refused to act on, again by not passing any proposed legislation.

Congress did pass the Taft Hartley Act over Truman’s veto that severely restricted the protection of union workers from retaliation and abuse. And there was also lot of fear mongering going on not about terrorists, but about Communists.

Truman also blamed the Republicans for making hollow promises regarding Social Security, health care and the housing crisis. He said they talked of solutions but never passed any legislation for his signature.

That was 60 years ago. Today we are much worse off. The tax level for the wealthy elite and for corporations is at an all time low. This means that the average American has to make up the shortfall. And the shortfall now is in the trillions of dollars. Some estimate it at $175,000 per person.

Social Security can’t provide all the benefits it promised and it will run out of money. When it does it will not be able to offer any benefits to millions of workers who have paid onto the system. The Republicans have used it as a bailout fund rather than keeping the money secure.

Everyone knows we are in a health care crisis. If Congress had passed Truman’s single payer health care plan we would all have health care now. Instead, over 40 million Americans have no health care coverage.

And the housing crisis has come full circle. In 1948 there weren’t enough homes and now there is a glut due to foreclosures.

Today’s Republican fear mongers can’t push communism so now it is terrorism. But most experts agree that we are less safe now than before 9/11. They need to keep us afraid.

Many things were similar back then but the most significant differences between 1948 and now are that in 1948 the United States was respected around the world. Everyone wanted to buy American products and our economy was getting stronger. The world looked to us for guidance and support and we provided assistance to those countries in need.

Today we don’t have any country’s respect except a select few. We don’t make anything in America so we have nothing to sell. Our economy is in the toilet waiting for someone to flush. Who would have thought we would be in this situation just 60 years after World War II?

Apparently we didn’t learn from history and have not only repeated our mistakes but things are even worse now. We can’t afford to continue down our current path. Something has to change. The Obama/Biden ticket is our best chance for curing the ailments of our nation. McCain would just be more of what we have had for the past eight years. Let’s make history and not repeat it.

Jeff Blanck is an attorney in Reno and can be reached at:
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History repeats by Jeff Blanck

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