President Obama's drive for dramatic reforms in American politics and policy is a near copycat of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's 1944 push for a Second Bill of Rights, according to one legal scholar, Cass Sunstein.
FDR announced a Second Bill of Rights in his 1944 State of the Union speech, claiming "we have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence," Mr. Sunstein said, in a Bloomberg report. Among FDR's listed rights: The rights to an adequate salary. The right to a "useful" job. The right of farmers to earn a "decent living." The right of businessmen to trade absent "unfair competition." The right to a "decent home." The right to "adequate medical care."
That last, of course, is the echo of Obamacare. In an October 2008 interview with broadcaster Tom Brokaw, Mr. Obama said health care was a "right," according to video and text from The Huffington Post.
FDR also characterized education and "adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident and unemployment" as basic human rights, according to Bloomberg.
Mr. Sunstein sees a resurrected Second Bill of Rights with Mr. Obama.
"Obama's second inaugural did not refer explicitly to the Second Bill of Rights," he said, in the Bloomberg report, "but it had an unmistakably Rooseveltian flavor. Just after a serious economic crisis, Obama emphasized 'that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life's worst hazards and misfortune.' Recalling Roosevelt's central theme, Obama said that 'every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity.' "
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