Lessons of the past forgotten

Oscar Mauzy, former state senator and Supreme Court justice, had a large sign hanging on the wall of his senate office. It read, “Forgive and remember.” Unfortunately, too many voters have not adopted the part about remembering. It is my belief too many voters do not necessarily forgive — they simply forget.

The current rush and seeming obsession with trying to reign in deficit spending all of a sudden in America clearly demonstrates that too many Americans who have vivid recollections of the Great Depression are no longer with us. Or American leaders have collectively forgotten the lessons we should have learned at that time.

My mother, who is 96 years of age, recalls vividly how hard times were when many Americans literally did not have any idea where their next meal would come from. She recalls with some emotion the hopelessness of many American families during that downturn.

The lessons that apparently have been collectively forgotten by our leadership are that Roosevelt’s New Deal, with massive spending and a dedication to rebuild much of America’s infrastructure, began to pull us from the depths of America’s worst depression. The change in economics of having the government inject money into the economy was working. Unfortunately, Roosevelt, much like Obama, yielded to the hue and cry from the right wing to prematurely start dealing with the so-called looming deficit. When Roosevelt’s focus switched from simply creating jobs by massive infusions of money, the road to recovery took a sharp downturn and led to a measurable setback in the recovery.

Currently, Nobel Prize winning economists and other experts on the world economy correctly advise us that cutbacks desired by the Tea Party in Congress will not create jobs but to create a reversal of our slow recovery from a recession. There is living proof these economists are right. England has already tried austerity to relieve its joblessness situation, and it is apparently not working. Germany, on the other hand, has pretty much ignored the deficit, continued to invest in public spending and revival of its infrastructure; its economy seems to be leaping forward, and carrying along with it the vast majority of German citizens. We continue to be warned by experts that the premature dedication to austerity in America will short-circuit our efforts to stimulate the economy. Unfortunately, the folks who uttered not a word while George W. Bush gave tax breaks to oil companies and the mega-rich and spent like drunken sailors on two unnecessary wars are now trying to convince America the neediest Americans need to double their sacrificial efforts to save the country from future ruin.

Politics in many ways is a game of self-fulfilling prophecies. Republican leadership in America vowed the election of Barack Obama would bring disaster and ruin to America. Their entire effort has not been aimed at making America a greater nation, but to guaranteeing the Obama administration will be a total failure.

Our state Republican leadership, beginning with Gov. Rick Perry, has been employing much of the same tactic to maintain control in our state. Doesn’t it seem suspicious that in an election year our State Board of Education, controlled by our governor, relaxed the standardized test grading procedures so the vast majority of Texas schools appeared to have surged forward in the field of excellence?

Carl Parker has practiced law in Port Arthur since 1958. He is a 1958 graduate of the University of Texas School of Law. Elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1962 and the Senate in 1976, Parker continued to practice law while writing and sponsoring hundreds of bills that became laws relating to every aspect of life in Texas, including many regarding consumer safety.

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