Second Bill of Rights

In his Second Bill of Rights  in 1944, Franklin Roosevelt opined that citizens have a basic right to employment that pays a living wage; freedom from unfair competition and monopolies; decent housing; basic medical care; adequate education, and Social Security.

How much of this has been accomplished?

  1. Employment that pays a living wage: Sorta, kinda.  Current efforts to raise the federal and some states’ minimum wage offer hope here.
  2. Freedom from unfair competition: Not so much.  According to the United Mine Workers, NAFTA is largely seen as a failure by organized labor because jobs have decreased instead of increasing as promised.
  1. Decent housing: Also not so much.  A recent report on CNN painted a dismal but at the same time marginally hopeful picture of the housing situation in Detroit.
  2. Basic medical care: Getting better.  Despite the efforts of a number of Republican governors to hamstring the Affordable Care Act, it was announced that over 100,000 have signed up under it.
  3. Adequate education:  Again, sorta, kinda.  One of our former students only recently paid off her $40K education loan.  She’s a crackerjack programmer.  Today, she’s driving a bus part-time.
  4. Social Security: Troublesome.  It remains the “third rail” of American politics.  But proposals continue to circulate to change, by slowing down, the way in which increases in Social Security benefits are calculated.

After almost 60 years, the Second Bill of Rights still waits in the wings.

Michele Petrovsky, Webmaster at Tools4Change Author of, Cathedral or Bazaar?  Fix Higher Education – Teach by the Seat of Your Pants , Donkey Dharma, and Quick Guide to Linux Glen Mills, Pa.

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