Monday, January 31, 2011
Roosevelt's 1944 call for an 'Economic Bill of Rights' is still relevant, especially for the South
"So why recall Roosevelt’s 1944 State of the Union?" Guillory and Hart ask. "Because 2011 is developing into a year of reckoning — a moment of difficult decisions that cry out for leaders focused on equity, opportunity and competitiveness in arming the nation’s people and their communities for coping with a time of disruption." Guillory and Hart argue that too many Americans are not truly free in the face of financial insecurity. A growing group of young adults without the skills to get an education or better job are in even worse shape.
"We need to fix an education system bound by early industrial-era structures at a time when we need schools to prepare young people for coping with a 21st century of life-long learning," Guillory and Hart write, noting that "across the South and the nation, a community’s skill levels will determine its economic prospects." The two writers call for regional collaboration that goes "beyond the urban/rural/city/state boundaries that now constrain our thinking." Guillory and Hart conclude, "However difficult our current economic moment, it is an opportunity for leaders who would seize it to chart a course, not for a return to an old 'normal,' but toward a more prosperous society, more widely shared. That’s what FDR was trying to do. And it’s what we need today." (Read more)
The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum has more information about the speech. The MDC report, State of the South, is also available.