Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

11-16-2008ngd_16fdr1gf82h0gvc1Stock prices keep sliding, unemployment continues to rise and at least one newspaper – the Daily News in New York – asked in an online headline today if we’re close to a depression.

It’s taking billions and billions in taxpayer money to keep the banking industry afloat. All those ridiculous mortgages brokers pushed and banks approved are going bust and real estate prices continue to slide. Health care, a right in many countries, is still only a privilege here, so as unemployment rises, so will the number of people without health care.

The news is enough to shock me out of reading literature, for now.

In the last year I’ve finished eight  Kurt Vonnegut books, two Phillip Roth novels, another Tolstoy book and even James Joyce’s “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,” (Gosh, I’m going to have to read that again, I think it went over my head). Roberto Bolano’s 800 page 2666 took less than a month, two Ian McEwan pieces went down in a week, as did Khaled Hosseini’s brilliant “A Thousand Spledid Suns.”

But I passed on the Lit section at Borders in Commack earlier this week and picked up H.W. Brands’ latest, “Traitor to His Class,” a new biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. FDR was the last president to deal with an economy this horrific and he, like our current president, faced plenty of resistance to government intervention. But he was able to push through the New Deal. His Social Security system remains alive today and as older Americans watch their 401(k) plans dwindle, they’re thankful for that government check.

Anyway, I’m 84 pages in and FDR just landed a job with the Navy Department.

As for the Great Depression, it’s still hundreds of pages away. But I’m guessing there will be a lesson or two waiting for me.


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