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Bernie Sanders on FDR | Bernie Sanders


A few hours ago, a few hours ago I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Franklin Delano Roosevelt homestead. And I was happy to be there because in my view, FDR was one of the great presidents in the history of this country. He was a great president because he came into office in 1933, in a nation which was experiencing the worst depression in the history of our country and he looked around him and he saw millions of people unemployed and hungry. He saw farmers losing their farms. He saw people struggling every single day to get the healthcare they needed or education for their kids. And he came forward and he said, you know what? We are going to transform the way government works in America. And that is what he did. Before his becoming president, before his becoming president, the general culture was, well it is too bad that people sleep out on the street or that people are hungry or that people die because they don’t have access to healthcare but it is not the government’s responsibility to do anything about that. And he said, wrong. In a democratic, civilized society we will do something about that. And he put together a number of programs which created many millions of jobs for people who needed those jobs. In 1944, in a speech which sadly has gotten very little attention, it was his State of the Union speech in 1944, President Roosevelt outlined what he called a second Bill of Rights. This is one of the most important speeches ever made by a president in my view. In that remarkable speech, this is what Roosevelt stated– and I quote– We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. Now think about it for a second because that is a very profound thought. And what he said, is if people are working at two or three jobs, if people do not have adequate access to healthcare, if people are not able to get the education that they need, if people are living in poverty, are they really free people? There have been a number of studies, I don’t know if you have seen them, that have come out recently which have shown that low-income people have a life expectancy significantly lower than wealthy people. In other words, poverty is a death sentence.

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