The reason for America’s independence, for America’s existence as a sovereign state is stated perfectly from these words from our Declaration of Independence where it states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
The preamble to our constitution codifies in summary that: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
The Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the constitution ensured the rights of the states and the individual from an overreaching federal government. It is now time for a 2nd Bill Of Rights to ensure the rights of the federal government, the states, and the individual from the unfettered power of un-elected corporations.
A 2nd Bill Of Rights was first put forth by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s (FDR) in his State of the Union Speech to Congress on January 11, 1944. It includes: The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation; The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation; The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living; The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad; The right of every family to a decent home; The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health; The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment; The right to a good education.
Currently two distinct notions are in effect. The first is the realization that there was a time that our government irrespective of “intramural fights” and rancor was on the path to the letter and the spirit of FDR’s 2nd Bill of Rights. The second, destructive corporate induced polices are successfully effecting the dismantling of America’s social construct.
We got unions to ensure that good wages and working conditions were afforded working Americans enabling them to move into the middle class; policies to ensure the continuity of farming; anti-trust regulation to mitigate the power of monopolies; banking regulations to ensure a healthy financial sector; environmental, food, and other regulation to ensure a healthy and safe population; Medicare to ensure our elderly would always have medical care; Social Security to ensure the retired and disabled could maintain a fairly decent standard of living; a robust education system that ensured all could get a high school and college education ensuring an equal access to the middle class; and policies that ensured home ownership a reality for most.
Though not fine-tuned completely, over the years until 1980, FDR’s 2nd Bill of Rights for all practical purposes was realized. While it is true that many problems persisted, the blueprint to the perfect American social construct was codified.
In every endeavor there are setbacks. Some are unforeseen while some are self-inflicted. Ironically our current economic collapse was unforeseen by a citizenry, some willfully ignorant and some simply apathetic, but self-inflicted indirectly by our corporate class.
After-all it is the corporate class that championed President Reagan's supply side economics that began our budget deficit explosions; corrupted politicians that effected destructive regulations that allowed a financial sector to create the financial instruments that ultimately collapsed the world economy; waged the systemic destruction of unions and with it a destruction of middle class wages; un-patriotically exports American jobs for the obscene profit maximization at the expense of reinvesting in America, the country that provided the wherewithal for its success; distorted our tax code that accelerated the wealth and income disparity, crippled the upkeep of our infrastructure, crippled our healthcare delivery system, and is destroying our public education system.
The need for FDR’s 2nd Bill Of Rights still holds true today. Our Declaration of Independence sought a country that promoted liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our Constitution dictates that our government ensures there are no obstructions to said pursuits. We have had over 30+ years of systematic erosion because “We The People of The United States” have allowed it by continuing the re-election of corrupt and corporatists politicians. It is time to force our politicians to support the working and middle classes.