Blog Archive

Friday, November 07, 2008

How Obama Could Follow Roosevelt: Finding Counterparts to New Deal Programs

First listed is the New Deal Program, what it was, and how to perhaps modernize it.


·Tennessee Valley Authority- One of the few programs that’s still around, though only in skeleton form. It’s the nation’s largest public power company. This would be easy to revitalize or consolidate with another program, as its main aim was building an electrical power info structure.

o Basics: PUCHA regulated the large, near monopolistic power companies, and focused on setting up locally owned and run power co-ops.

o How it can be updated: Form an initiative to encourage, tax breaks to small businesses, to allow local ownership and control of power, as well as providing means for an updating of those power means through the building of solar, wind, hydro, and other alternative power plants. Making the US energy independent.

· Public Works Administration

o Basics: A Massive project to build infostructure, from low-income housing, to bridges, roads, and other vital efforts.

o Updating it: Shouldn’t be too hard, we need a massive info-structure overhaul, and this would be an easy way to set up jobs to rebuild that infostructure. As well as updating our rail system to accommodate high-speed commuter rail. Rebuilding New Orleans, its levee system and restoring its wetlands would be top priority.

· Rural Electrification Administration (REA)

o Basics: Provided water and waste, electric, and telecommunications to rural areas.

o Updating it: Telecommunications, especially broadband, to rural and inner-city communities and especially getting these schools technologically (computers) on equally footing.

And extension would be to deregulate the FCC and other organizations which have limited public access to radio and television.

· National Recovery Administration

o Basics: In principle a way to reduce “destructive competition.” Set up a minimum wage and work hours.

o Updating: Well, no, the NRA was unconstitutional and a mess. However, large reforms can be made as far as raising the minimum wage, equal pay for women, as well as setting up a list of rights for workers, most importantly the right to unionize. Sick days, maternity leave, and child-care.

· National Labor Relations Act

o Did I mention that we need to make being a member of a union a civil right?

· Works Progress Administration

o Basics: Largest employer of all of the acts, set up a sort of VOTECH organization, with an emphasis on educating the father to a vocation (building schools,farming, ect.) to provide for their families.

o Updating: Expand the VOTECH opportunities. However, with an emphasis on education and jobs in the technological sector.

An extension of this would be the repeal of No Child Left Behind, once again restoring local control and oversight of school achievements. Encouraging volunteers to be active in their local schools (parents, retirees, etc.)

· Farm Security Administration

o Basics: Rehabilitate American farms

o How it can be updated: Rehabilitate America’s manufacturing industry by modernizing and making American manufacturing competitive. The first step should be in the automobile manufacturing sector, by modernizing assembly plants and fitting them to create hybrid and electric cars.

An extension could be to end the hardly legal no-bid contracts given to Halliburton in Iraq, and diversifying those contracts to more businesses to rebuild Iraq.

· National Youth Administration (NYA)

o Basics: Out of school youth would be paid to perform community work projects.

o Updating: This is where Obama’s college/volunteer program would go.

· Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)

o Basics: Basically set up a force of young men who lived a regimented lifestyle working on public works projects.

o Updating: The Peace Corps, a volunteer service/ tax voucher program. This could also be used to create a “green army,” to work towards reducing carbon emissions and moving towards alternative energy focusing on smaller scale modernizations and energy conservations techniques.

· Indian Reorganization Act

o Basics: Reversed the Dawes act and returned Native lands to private, local tribal control

o Updating: Has been a topic of recent controversy as states like Vermont have sought to prevent tribes which have been recognized since the act, to having a tribal control over their lands. Basically, it needs to be updated and re-asserted.

· Public Works of Art Project

o Basics: hired and sponsored artists to create murals, public sculpture, etc.

o Updating: While this could not be done today, something should be done to change the anti-intellectualism of the past 8 years, and an art initiative could be a large step forward in doing that.


This is all, of course, speculation. It looks as if Obama's plan is less radical and more centrist focusing more on tax cuts and small business growth.

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