History Repeating - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1918066

History Repeating

“Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it” — George Santayana.

If you look at history, the Democratic Party’s approach to strengthening the economy has always worked.

After the Depression hit in the 1930s, Democrats argued that the best way to build the economy was to make sure that workers and consumers had enough resources to buy products and services — “demand-side” economics. This meant raising wages, providing a social safety net and improving education.

It worked. President Franklin D. Roosevelt set into motion a restructuring of government’s role in the economy known as the New Deal, which provided massive relief programs for the unemployed, established a legal minimum wage, and created Social Security, unemployment insurance and income supplements for dependent children, the aged poor, and persons with disabilities. These are all programs that enjoy massive support by the American people today.

After the country pulled out of the Depression and successfully funded the military mobilization necessary for World War II, this approach was once again embraced — not only by Democrats but also a Republican president. Dwight D. Eisenhower called for universal health care and a massive investment in infrastructure paid for by a tax system where everyone paid their fair share based upon their ability to pay.

At first, Republicans balked, calling Eisenhower a socialist and claiming these measures violated individual liberties. But by the following year, Republicans embraced this approach.

Nevertheless, by the 1980s, the Republicans forgot their history lessons and began to embrace “supply-side” or “trickle-down” economics, concentrating wealth in the hands of the richest Americans and corporations who would allegedly grow the economy by investing in new businesses that would create opportunities for the working class. It has never delivered the economic growth promised and has, in fact, worsened the living standards of most Americans.

Our economy once again took a hit with the appearance of COVID-19. To speed recovery, President Joe Biden and the Democrats passed the American Rescue Plan in March 2021, which dedicated $1.9 trillion to helping Americans and small businesses. Not a single Republican voted for it, and once again they dragged out the “socialist” bogeyman.

Yet economists agree that this plan was key to our current economic recovery. Since January, 1.7 million jobs have been added. Unemployment is at a near all-time low of 3.6 percent. And wages have increased.

Under the new Republican platform penned by Senator Rick Scott of Florida, if Republicans regain control of the government in 2022, they would raise taxes on the poorest Americans, continue to give tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, and seek to overturn all federal social net programs.

Is this what most Americans want? Is this what you want?

Andrea Klausner


Southampton Town Democratic Committee