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posted: 10/3/2012 4:39 AM

FDR's 'New Deal' and Mussolini roots

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FDR's 'New Deal' and Mussolini roots

A Fence Post commentary of Sept. 17, "Republicans trying to have it both ways," rekindles the Great Depression era when this senior citizen was a schoolboy. I recall a teacher telling us that FDR's Social Security program reeked of socialism and bordered on invasion of privacy since we would have individual "dog tag" numbers to identify us through a lifetime. This was a rather heady comment from a teacher of that era when they were not always sure if they would get paid on time.

In reality, President Roosevelt's Social Security program has proved to be a useful economic life jacket for the suddenly unemployed but also one that has been abused and needs to get back on track to its original sole purpose by both Republican and Democrat efforts.

President Roosevelt's unprecedented three terms in office also ushered in many other social programs that are still in place today. He took masses of unemployed youth and enrolled them in the Civilian Conservation Corps, having them doing forestry work around the country. The Works Progress Administration had older unemployed men repairing and building infrastructure at $30 per month, while unemployed artists painted murals in public schools. Junk mail was introduced as a means of cheap advertising for small businessmen.

Along the way free medical care for the indigent became commonplace. All of these programs are still viable today in one way or another.

It is not commonly known by mainstream America that all of these ideas were original concepts of Mussolini's post World War I Italy. FDR, noting Italy was recovering from the Great Depression faster than we were, simply repackaged Mussolini's economic recovery ideas as "The New Deal." Eyebrow raising is the fact they were put in place by two men with very different political viewpoints.

Walter Santi

Bloomingdale

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