Art offers his perspective as a movement progressive activist.
As Obama puts the New Deal on the table for carving, while Senator Sanders calls for a primary challenger to the president over his violations of the principles of the Democratic Party, FDR’s grandson emerges again to tae Obama to task on capitalism run amok.
FDR’s grandson Curtis Roosevelt continues his critique of Obama in the Huffington Post. It is damning. He is most peeved that Obama has been so cozy with big banks and has allowed capitalism to become dysfunctional by not imposing good regulations:
The problem with capitalism is that it can quickly get out of control. An instrument of capitalism, such as a bank, for example, intended to provide a service, can move on to fleece those it supposedly serves. Since maximizing profits is considered a virtue, free enterprise can move with alacrity towards the kind of disaster that causes bankruptcy and job losses — even nationwide and throughout the world. That is the genesis of the Great Depression and the current (yes, still current) Great Recession.
There are only two solutions to limiting this exercise of greed: instituting restraints that are enforceable by law (with penalties that bite), or using fear to repress greed, just as we repress lust. When I was a lad, our fear of venereal disease was indeed considerable, just as it is with HIV today.
Repressing greed is difficult. In our present culture, greed is held aloft, admired as “success” or “winning.” Free enterprise is revered as if it were a religion. Criticism of capitalism is close to being unpatriotic (“Watch it, Buster!”).
But regulate it we must. He lays into Obama and his cozy Wall St. love affair and gives a slap at the end here:
The Justice Department .. lets the banks off practically scot-free. The Administration’s support for major banking reforms seems to be in name only, as it just pecks at the problems. We never hear the kind of plain statements condemning the business and financial communities for their misdeeds that Reich, Krugman, Rich, Sachs, and other columnists record in detail.
In contrast, FDR said, “Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion.” And my favorite: “Private enterprise, indeed, became too private. It became privileged enterprise, not free enterprise.”
Even Herbert Hoover remarked, shortly before his exit, “You know, the only trouble with capitalism is capitalists–they’re too damn greedy.”
Their comments are as relevant today as they were during the Great Depression. Must we hark back to Roosevelt and Hoover in our search for political leadership?
Bingo. We are looking back 80 years for leadership. Where are the leaders now? FDR can inspire new ones perhaps, but the Greatest Generation is dying out fast. We need leaders.