It’s time to dump the post-partisan-mantra – and start acting like FDR!

Will $300 billion fix the economy? President Obama hopes so. According to early reports from the White House – the President’s job creation plan set to be unveiled Thursday night will come with a price tag of $300 billion – a number that is likely too high for Republicans to support – given they likely can’t support a $20 dollar job creation package – and also a number far too low for many progressives hoping the President would go bold and throw a trillion dollar package out there. More troubling – only about $50 billion of that $300 billion will ACTUALLY go toward rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. The rest will go to tax cuts that have been proven to not have nearly as much bang for the buck as stimulus.

The President does plan to extend unemployment benefits also – a critical measure to ease the suffering of millions of unemployed Americans and stimulate the economy – but also a measure that Republicans will target for removal first in negotiations. President Obama’s stimulus package in 2009 kept our economy from a Great Depression – but it wasn’t nearly big enough to re-boot strong job growth. His own economic advisors told him this – but he decided to compromise with Republicans in the Senate by reducing its size and throwing in some tax cuts. As a result – Republicans can make the argument that it failed. Now – it looks like President Obama is making the same mistake twice – with a stimulus package that is too small to work.

It’s time to dump the post-partisan-President mantra – and start acting like FDR and Harry Truman. Go bold with a jobs plan tomorrow – and beat the Republicans over the head with it until November.


Lore's picture
Lore 11 years 38 weeks ago

GM was upset when the economy was tanking. Not because things were going downhill, but that THEY could afford to keep their workers at their current salaries. This is one of the untold tales of the recession. Almost EVERYONE took a pay cut for the recession. A few top executives did not - in almost business out there!

The attack against workers - that teachers make too much money - that public sector jobs are NOT paid less then the private sector..... all of these lies go unchallenged in the mainstream media. Just as the pathetic Palin comments, the Bachmann blustering and the Perry Prayer pledge get prime time coverage as worthwhile ideals.

While all the ills of education are dumped on the teacher - few people are aware of the actual work requirements, the reporting, the regulation of what can be taught, how it can be taught, the constant shift of methodology, practices and policies are never mentioned. You cannot present material at a high grade level in a classroom - even if the students are bright - because there is a restriction on that. Only certain classes are allowed to bypass that rule. This is just one example. Meanwhile, all the naysayers claim to know what the teachers do and how they could do it better. The skills to teach are belittled or overlooked.

The more people - like these - that are threatened and successfully attacked - the more likely that your job and salary will go down in the future!

We need to inform people -- that person could be you next!

Lore's picture
Lore 11 years 38 weeks ago

I guess what I am trying to say -- its time to quit pissing on Americans! Its time for all of us to stand up and tell people who say teachers should make less, workers should make less --- so how much should YOUR wages be cut? 50%? 60%? Let them know they are speaking of their future too!

Whenever I talk to the RW's - they are constantly putting down America and Americans! No, we can't expect better of the government! We can't have workers rights! We can't have government investing in Americans or business to go in the 'right' direction! We can't provide for the poor, the elderly or expect clean air, clean water or food to be safe! Everytime we don't speak up -- they think they are right!

JKE-Julian's picture
JKE-Julian 11 years 38 weeks ago

Supposedly high salaries, top medical benefits and other compensations are suppose to attract the best and brightest according to the “free market” promoters’ logic. These same people who believe this tell me teachers who help to train our future generation are being paid too much and should pay more for less medical and retirement benefits to solve everybody's state budget problems. If it’s all about the money, let’s be consistent. The whole argument against the small raising of taxes 3% or 4% on those ultra-rich is absurd when they can pay off state debts and keep Social Security and Medicare alive with their collective pocket changes. Corporate executives have had their tax cuts for about 10 years and still didn’t produce much living wage jobs for those struggling to maintain a Middle Class, but gave themselves bonuses and other compensations after being bailed out under the Bush Administration.

Ghildenbrand's picture
Ghildenbrand 11 years 38 weeks ago

Hey Thom, good show today, but you just said that the gov't made it illegal to label milk as BST-free, and I think you are mistaken on this issue. I see such labels on milk, organic and commercial, everywhere, e.g. Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Ralphs, Vons, etc.

Jeanie's picture
Jeanie 11 years 38 weeks ago

I tried to sign the petition at and I could not find one. If you want people to sign it (50,000 by week's end), tell your buddies to make it easier to find, like by putting it on the home page. Unless I'm just lame.

sammy1921's picture
sammy1921 11 years 38 weeks ago

I know you like FDR. That was a different time and place.

Today, unlike the 30's, we provide and pay for the defense of most of the world.

Today, unlike the 30's, we provide foriegn aid to countries in amounts greater than some national GDPs

Today, unlike the 30's, we feed, cloth, house and educate more people in the US than live in some countries.

Today, unlike the 30's, 90% of homes in the US have air conditioning, nearly 100% have a TV and 75% have high speed internet. I volunteer at our local food bank and many coming for assistance have cell phones.

These are things not paid for in FDR's time and are costs beared by the taxpayer. To replicate the boom and recovery of the "New Deal", we would need to first depress back to the standard of living similar to that of the 1930s.

yjoseph 11 years 38 weeks ago

Problem is this dog won't hunt. He's either not capable or unwilling.

Who cares? The results are the same: Utter capitulation.

Jeffthinx 11 years 38 weeks ago

Yes, once again Obama is playing small-ball when he should be swingin' for downtown.

I don't know how many others there are out there who have had this thought, but I'm at about the point that I'm ready to see him lose and let the Republicans have there way. Perhaps that's the only way the American people will wake up to what's going on. And at this point I'm thinking the sonner, the better...instead of this death-by-a-thousand-cuts we're going through now.

kilgoretrout887's picture
kilgoretrout887 11 years 38 weeks ago

Obama is a closet republicon out to destroy any last remains of the democratic party. Why else has he caved at even the slightest rebuke by the cons? Why else do we have a health care bill that does too little and can't stand up in court? What else did he allow the bush tax cuts for the wealth to continue?

he drank their kool-aid and is one of them.

dowdotica's picture
dowdotica 11 years 38 weeks ago


ragingdemo's picture
ragingdemo 11 years 38 weeks ago

Dear Friend .. I'm gonna try hard really NOT to scream ! Do you know what the term FEAR means to these terrorism Mongers. It means False Evidence Appearing Real .. Anyone with half there gray matter in the On mode knows full well that if you can play the fear card you can put the American public in a Save us frenzy and then it's easy to keep the fear alive with Faux terror alerts the FBI works hard to push out of every News channel . Every grown person I know was expecting to see the Military budget get chopped down to nearly zip after the Iron curtain fell and the "Tear down those walls " speech That Reagan used ... but instead of all that cash going back into public areas and programs where it was cut from and removed from long ago to pay for all the Mega Budgets in ALL our many overlapping Law enforcement agencys and our Hyper blotted intelligence agencys whose black budgets rival that of most countrys military budgets they instead kept up there hard worldwide freedom & Democracy building work then one day some genius came up with our very next Boogie man to fear and they have been peddeling it hard since, from the false flag op of 9/11 that by the by had about as much to do with Osama bin laden and his 19 reindeer as it did Santa Claus only our "Infamous Investigative News people" failed miserably to ask even the most obvious questions and our misinformation puppets in the media did the rest ...Dear Friends this may come as a shock to your system but Buildings just DO NOT DROP into there basements in 56 minutes from fire PERIOD ...And not to mention the Fact that Larry Silversteins buildings all collapsed reguardless of the fact that Ole # 7 wasn't even hit with anything while buildings so much closer took so much more damage and did nothing but get repaired .. so between Larry telling the world with his arrogant mouth to PULL IT .. maybe you should all do what uncle larry says and " PULL IT" YOUR SKULLS OUT OF YOUR REARS ... They will continue to plunder we the people until we bitch slap hard and TAKE IT BACK and say NO MORE .. now its time to put there familys out on some corner with a tin cup in hand. and stop the bullshit. What say you THOM ? can I get an amen...

ragingdemo's picture
ragingdemo 11 years 38 weeks ago

Dear Friend .. Please be advised that for many years now the democratic party has been long since gone ...Now its not very hard to figure out just where they ran off to is it ? because I would bet the farm they are most likely having lunch with the Repuks somewhere and they most likely did it when they finally realized they just couldn't win .. all anyone with an honest view of the world need do is just look what they did to all the others who ever dared ralley the people , how old are you and how far back would you care to go .. just look at what they did when they believed there might be a threat to there plan .. well they killed him his wife and her sister and he wasn't even in public service yet .. JFKjr . and anyone who thinks otherwise doesn't have an honest veiw of what this world is truly about .. GREED POWER & CONTROL ....

miriamhamsa's picture
miriamhamsa 11 years 38 weeks ago

The standard of living in the US in the 30's? You mean folks on working farms? One car at most? No clothes dryers? No dish washers? Shoes that were made in the USA, and were repaired rather than thrown out when the soles wore down? Manufacturing in the US?As long as you aren't talking shanty towns, I think the Earth would be ecstatic. And that would be good for all of us.

miriamhamsa's picture
miriamhamsa 11 years 38 weeks ago

What should Obama do? Just quit already!

I thought my friends were over the top when, during the primaries, they said "you'll see. Obama is a Manchurian candidate." I'm not rolling my eyes at them anymore. As far as I can see, Obama is doing just what he wants to, at best playing good cop, bad cop, when he already knew that he was on bad cop's side.

tpmco's picture
tpmco 11 years 38 weeks ago

Unemployed people don't need income tax credits, they need jobs!

Hockeycpa2's picture
Hockeycpa2 11 years 38 weeks ago

Corporate profits are at record levels, large corporations have done a great job of deleveraging the past few years, and their cash positions have never been better. In addition, technology is helping to make the corporations do more with less people. They (Corporations) have no incentive to make unemployment go from 9% to 5% unless there is a direct benefit to their shareholders and as we all know corporate influence is king in Washington. It is far easier to look for new markets and workers abroad then worry about Americans out of work. Obama's plan is too small to work and won't pass congress anyway. We are in the new normal, get used to it.

jmanstro's picture
jmanstro 11 years 38 weeks ago

I would ask the president to explain basic economics, both monetary and fiscal policy, and explain why the last stimulus was not sufficient. One reason was that his own party's congress diverted far too much of the money intended to be used for jobs creating expenditures. Then explain why Keynes is correct, that under circumstances that we face today, direct investment by the government is more efficient at job creation than tax cuts that will produce far less effective stimulation. Then explain how the political process makes it very difficult to carry out the essential element of the keynes prescription, which is to pay back the money borrowed to stimulate during recessions, when the economy is growing sufficiently.

To do that, we'll need campaign finance reform. to get that we need a rational supreme court. to get that, we need to elect democrats.

Michael Gray 11 years 38 weeks ago

Obama needs to do what Robert Kennedy told JFK before the second debate with Nixon...... "kick em in the BALLS" is that simple enough to understand....Stop trying to negotiate... KICK EM!! with STEEL TOED WORK BOOTS that are made in America!!

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 11 years 38 weeks ago

I strongly suggest president Obama take full advantage of his time with the very medium that has played a major role in ripping apart our country. Shock everyone by speaking the plain truth regarding the state of our democracy. Inform the whole world that democracy in the United States has been dismantled and sold off piece by piece to the highest bidder. It no longer exists in any form usable or useful to the vast majority of its citizens. Mention how a bunch of short- sighted hypocrites have been placed in power by a few equally short-sighted rich guys and this has grid-locked all manner of economic recovery, a recovery made necessary by REPUBLICAN POLICIES like illegal wars, tax cuts for the rich, and socialized bankster bailouts.

Admit that he's powerless until people get their heads out of fox new's a***s and get out and vote for progressive officials who truly want to represent their best interests, those like Vermont's Senator Sanders. Tell the American public if they do this we can free the Supreme court of the right wing radicals and restore DEMOCRACY as our founders intended. Do this with the fire of Teddy Roosevelt in his heart.

Then give the FDR new deal speech!

I signed the petition, everyone needs to....50,000!... Great show today, with the social contract stuff!

Good job James Hoffa!

SAXMANJ1's picture
SAXMANJ1 11 years 38 weeks ago

The people in charge - - - those who own Obama, the Republican party and most of congress --- like things the way they are or worse. They love unemployment (cheaper more compliant labor), illegal immigration (cheap more compliant labor), war (big profit), bail-outs to the rich, stock market volatility (they control), housing bust (buy it up cheap), depression (they own the money), etc, etc.

As long as both political party's machinery is controlled by the rich it won't matter who wins --- - they are all on the same side.

There is plenty of stuff for everyone to have a high standard of living - - - just not enought money in circulation -- - it is all stored up by the rich. Taxes on the middle class take even more money out of circulation and so do cuts in Government programs. Should have (a) high tax on saving to force more money into circulation along with (b) tax cuts to middle class and (c) increased Govt spending on infrastructure ala FDR. The so-called "national debt" is a fool's myth absent the gold standard.

wigsalon's picture
wigsalon 11 years 38 weeks ago

The ONLY way this country has a chance to survive 4 more years of either party, is for the house, senate and Prez - to be all the same party! That way there wont be bickering. Dems should be trying to take the house back - not worry about Obama. If they succeed at that, Obama will be swept in. It is a brilliant strategy - one that involves mobilizes the true base in the USA. And - logically - it is our only way out as a country - if we intend to stay the USA. By the way Read This: The Untied States of America. - did you catch the typo? well, thats what we have. We need a united governement first - then we can re-set the rules and laws - as Jon hinted at yesterday. Otherwise, we bicker until we die.

LivingOverseas 11 years 38 weeks ago

This is NOT rocket science, people! Go about this in a systematic way of thinking. Money and greed are rampant is the U.S.. This will continue to be the modus operandi and the complete downfall of the nation - because no penalities are in place to discourage or prevent national, self destructive behavior. The few (Goldman Sachs, etc.) will simply collect their fortunes and then retire elsewhere. The government is theoretically supposed to be for the people, but it's only for a few. Elsewhere when this happens, there are huge protests and collective action from the beneficiaries of the bad behavior of government officials. If you want to continue to lose your homes, have no jobs, live with your adult children, etc.....keep doing what you're doing! Everyone can complain and then complain some more, but this behavior will not change anything. The U.S. is a capitalistic society, which by definition, means that money and the ability to accrue money (in fair ways or not) is the rule. Take a look at other countries (Norway, Sweden, Denmark) that have managed to recouperate from the U.S. economic disaster. And, before you scream "Oh, no! Not socialism!", ask yourself some hard questions. You will notice as you look around..a conspicuous absense of RELIGION based focus in these nations. They make the actual taking care of its citizens and the ethical adminstration of law the focus. And, yes, everyone has a right and access to health care. Again, not rocket science...look around at what's working and make the comparisions for yourself.

tim-mccoy's picture
tim-mccoy 11 years 38 weeks ago


Let's not let them get away with using this as a reason that corporations are not investing the trillions they are sitting on....What was more uncertain that the recent economic meltdown?....caused by lack of regulations!!!!

Ask then what is their source for this uncertainty? How did they measure this and come to the conclusion that business is uncertain? Can't be because they are not making enough money.

Landbeyond's picture
Landbeyond 11 years 38 weeks ago

Can Thom explain how it is possible to "stimulate the economy" and "re-boot strong job growth" when, as he knows, we are already suffering the effects of peak oil, making economic growth impossible? In fact, can Thom explain why he seems so reluctant to talk about peak oil in the economic context lately?

Remember that video series you introduced earlier his year, Thom -- "Peak Oil and a Changing Climate"? Have yours views changed since then?

mrallnaturall's picture
mrallnaturall 11 years 38 weeks ago

obama should say he is not a democrat he work for the new world order and all middle class are screwww

never wil i ever votes for him again same as BUSH reagan bush sr clinton NO CHANGE OBAMA ALL TRAISON!!!

donaldwyeth's picture
donaldwyeth 11 years 38 weeks ago

Why do middle class people fear to embrace the New Deal of Roosevelt? Are we afraid. Yes, we are. But, if you ask the average Joe or Jane on the street, they can't tell you exactly what it is they are afraid of. "Fear" has been the product that has been purposely peddled in this country since 9/11. It has emotionally crippled us. We need to get over that and speak up in one loud voice and let our government leaders know that we want a New Deal. The outcome is grounded in history and will be fueled by our hope. Don

wmstoll's picture
wmstoll 11 years 38 weeks ago

I like your comparison of the United States, third largest in population in the world, and multicultural, with three countries not as big as the NY metro area in population, and basically all the same people. Multicultural to them is someone from East Europe. It is probably the dumbest comparison I keep seening here.

wmstoll's picture
wmstoll 11 years 38 weeks ago

Could the melt down be in any way related to a government policy of putting the unqualified in houses?

wmstoll's picture
wmstoll 11 years 38 weeks ago

Which part of the New Deal did you like best. The disaster of an agricultural plan, or the disaster of an industrial program.

Joe Phillips LCSW's picture
Joe Phillips LCSW 11 years 37 weeks ago


Well, we got by a 9/11 and nothing happened even though President Obama didn't even make it off the stage after his jobs speech without getting hit with a running banner that warned of another attack. The fear machine gets bigger every year. My subject today is the question of why we are not marching in the streets. Economic conditions are worse than the 60s when we hit the streets hard. Why so little direct action?

First of all, people are marching. The media doesn't let you see it. But there is a bigger problem. The right wing think tanks know their psychology now. I was an undergraduate psychology major. I loved social psychology. I recently read up on the psychology of advertising and there it was. The advertising folks ate that stuff up and perfected it. They use it to sell us everything now including conservative politics. THE REASON WE ARE NOT IN THE STREETS IS BECAUSE OF THE PSYCHOLOGY OF FEAR AND LOWERED EXPECTATIONS. Now before I do this I must admit that I'm doing it myself right now. “Be afraid of the fear mongers.”

I'll try to remember that as I explain.

Humans have evolved socially and intellectually so fast that we have outrun our nervous systems. We still run on a fight or flight autonomic nervous system. We scare easy. They keep us out of the streets by feeding us fear. Look at the program guide on your TV. I'll do it right now. Let's see what's on.

My favorite example is the history channel. This is the History Channel International. I wish they would do a real history channel. VANISHINGS, A plane vanishes without a trace over the desert. HISTORY'S MYSTERIES, The Bible code predicts Armageddon. CLASH OF WARRIORS. A WWII reminder that we fight GOOD wars. ANCIENT ALMANAC, The biblical story of creation. The story of creationism. HAUNTED HISTORY, History of ghosts in San Francisco. You know what I mean. Look at all the shows. Earthquake, flood, hurricane, nuclear meltdown, asteroid heading for earth, UFOs, terrorism, poison food, epidemics, and my favorite: financial meltdown.

Listen to the news bites as they go by. “The economy” is always bad and getting worse. Think back over decades. When was the last time you heard on the news that the economy was great? You never do because thy don't want you to ask for a raise. Even during Clinton when things were super good all you heard was that it's all going to explode any minute now. When the Berlin wall fell and we started talking about a peace dividend the republicans had a real problem. With no more evil empire to keep us sacrificing for the cold war maybe we can get a raise, we thought. Bush gave the money to the rich, started new wars, and declared us broke again.

One more thing about fear before I talk about lowered expectations. The left does it too. I turn on Free Speech TV and what do I get but more fear. The CIA will be water-boarding us all soon. The banks are taking our homes. The right wing spin machine loves this. When you show a story about how a woman got fired for joining a union people become afraid to do that. When you never show a street march where people don't get beat up then people are afraid to march. Enough said. I love Amy Goodman and Free Speech TV.

LOWERED EXPECTATIONS. People who study why and when revolutions happen or don't happen discovered that what trips the switch and sends people into the streets is a large discrepancy between expectations and perceived reality. People need to be shocked by a sudden big downward push of oppression to get pissed enough to march. When they get hit with a downward push, they measure it against their current level of expectations. They feed us a constant stream of bad news and fear to lower our level of expectations. That makes us less likely to fight back.

Watch the media subject selection going by with this idea in mind and test it against what you see. They are always trying to lower your expectation. Even when you think the story is a win for the left, it still scares you and lowers your expectations. Say we see a story where they catch a big republicans running a secret company that tapped our phones and they send his butt to jail. Ten points for the left huh? Think about the effect that has on somebody considering going out on strike, or marching in a peace rally. This person thinks: Oh my God, can they really do that? Are they really that bold? If I march tomorrow, they could take my picture and call my boss and get me fired. When we see a story about an innocent man who gets picked up by the government, sent to a secret prison and tortured, what effect does that have? Is it really a victory for the left when it gets exposed? One more time. Even if the fear comes from the left it still lowers expectations, and scares people away from taking direct action.

What to do about it. 1. Explain this to people you talk to at the water cooler. Get them to test the idea against what they see going by in the media. 2. Get people to think in terms of the odds that this or that will happen. You can quickly Google search the odds for anything. What are the odds that I will be killed by a terrorist compared to the odds of being hit by lightning. Fear mongering doesn't work on people who can quantify the fear. 3. Raise your expectations. Expect the rich to pay taxes, that we deserve a real social safety net, that wars for empire will be opposed, and that all the things we got from FDR in the New Deal will be preserved and expanded to catch up with the rest of the modern world. Expect a defined benefits pension instead of a 401k. Expect national health care that covers everybody and makes corporate profit on life and death illegal. Expect real campaign finance reform that makes the penalty for bribing a politician greater than a kid selling an ounce of pot.

In short. Turn your level of expectations back up to where it was in the 60's, get pissed, and get out in the streets.

MaryMary's picture
MaryMary 11 years 37 weeks ago

In the 60's you were in your teens or twenties. Today you are in your 60's or 70's. I hope that answers your question.

SHREDDER100's picture
SHREDDER100 11 years 37 weeks ago

They never shut up or care for any one but them selves because the love Greed & Greed is good : { But The Gospels themselves prove } to any common reader that they are like the scribes; Pharisees & Sadducee s and like the Dancer & Mother that asked the king HEROD to place John The Baptists Head on a platter : In collusion with the treasury and fame : They are actually the Gold Diggers and are Robbing the treasury in so many Ways :

SHREDDER100's picture
SHREDDER100 11 years 37 weeks ago

Obama has to quit kissing There A** and needs to stand up for progressive FDR facts ; Power never gives any thing without a Smokin Demand !!!!

SHREDDER100's picture
SHREDDER100 11 years 37 weeks ago

All of them Because he was on My side ; Not sucking up to The Herods & the Gainsayers :

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"With the ever-growing influence of corporate CEOs and their right-wing allies in all aspects of American life, Hartmann’s work is more relevant than ever. Throughout his career, Hartmann has spoken compellingly about the value of people-centered democracy and the challenges that millions of ordinary Americans face today as a result of a dogma dedicated to putting profit above all else. This collection is a rousing call for Americans to work together and put people first again."
Richard Trumka, President, AFL-CIO
From Cracking the Code:
"Thom Hartmann ought to be bronzed. His new book sets off from the same high plane as the last and offers explicit tools and how-to advice that will allow you to see, hear, and feel propaganda when it's directed at you and use the same techniques to refute it. His book would make a deaf-mute a better communicator. I want him on my reading table every day, and if you try one of his books, so will you."
Peter Coyote, actor and author of Sleeping Where I Fall
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom Hartmann channels the best of the American Founders with voice and pen. His deep attachment to a democratic civil society is just the medicine America needs."
Tom Hayden, author of The Long Sixties and director, Peace and Justice Resource Center.