Jim Hightower

Going After FDR's Head


Anyone who still thinks there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties should take a look at a Washington squabble over the dime itself. A gaggle of top Republican leaders in Congress—including the odious legislative thug, Tom DeLay—are furiously pushing a bill to alter the dime. They want to remove the likeness of Franklin D. Roosevelt from the coin and replace it with the countenance of Ronald Reagan. In a time when America’s health care system is failing, when the federal budget is half-a-trillion dollars short, when middle-class jobs are disappearing, when our troops are dying every day in Iraq and Afghanistan—isn’t it comforting to see that lawmakers do not let these problems deter them from getting down in the slime of petty partisanship for something as inconsequential as displacing a Democratic president with a Republican one on our 10-cent piece?

Democrats are responding with their own effort to keep FDR on the coin. They point out that his face was put on it not merely because he was president, but especially because he had founded the March of Dimes organization, through which America’s children collected the dimes that funded research into polio, the disease that had put Roosevelt himself in a wheelchair. Thanks to those dimes, a vaccine was developed that effectively ended polio in our country. But Democrats are not alone in opposing this effort to scrape FDR off the dime. None other than Nancy Reagan opposes it. Indeed, Ronald Reagan himself proudly noted that he voted for Roosevelt in all four of his presidential elections.

Nonetheless, the rabidly partisan Republic leaders are still demanding FDR’s head. To help stop this silliness, call the office of Rep. Jim McGovern: 202-225-6101.


Something is taking place in our country that corporate chieftains don’t want us talking about: jobless creep. It’s no longer blue-collar families that are seeing their jobs hauled offshore to faraway havens of low-wage production. Now it’s hundreds of thousands (soon to be millions) of well-paying white-collar and high-tech jobs that are being shipped overseas by America’s wage-busting CEOs. Joblessness is creeping relentlessly upward, ensnaring families that previously thought they were entrenched in the upper reaches of the middle class. CEOs are paranoid about public discussion, but internally they giddily exult at the prospect of essentially abandoning our country and its middle-class to fatten their profits. A Microsoft executive has instructed department heads in this software giant to “Think India†and “pick something to move offshore today.â€

This is deliberate job destruction and it’s also an open assault on America’s middle-class and the unifying social ethic that “We’re all in this together.†Corporate executives and their apologists say that this is simply the immutable workings of the market and that their sole responsibility is to enrich the bottom line of top shareholders, with no obligation to an American middle class. Then why should we feel any obligation to them? As they separate themselves and their corporate fortunes from the well-being of our families, communities, and country, we should begin to separate them from the special tax breaks, enormous subsidies, regulatory favors, political privileges and all other advantages they’ve gotten from us.