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        #183: Roosevelt Aims for Economic Security With 'Second New Deal'

        作者:David Jarmul 發布日期:8-13-2013

        President Franklin Roosevelt at his desk in the White House
        President Franklin Roosevelt at his desk in the White House

        DOUG JOHNSON: Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION - American history in VOA Special English.

        Franklin Roosevelt's first three months as president was one of the most exciting periods in American politics. Roosevelt entered the White House in March nineteen thirty-three. The nation was in crisis. Banks across the country had closed their doors. The Great Economic Depression was at its lowest point.

        Roosevelt and the Congress moved quickly to help people with little food or money. They launched a series of major economic programs.

        I'm Doug Johnson with Mario Ritter. This week in our series, we talk about the laws and policies of President Franklin Roosevelt including those known as the "Second New Deal."

        MARIO RITTER: Conditions improved within a year after Roosevelt took office. There was no question about that. Banks were open. More people had jobs. Farmers were doing better. And poor people were not so close to disaster as before. However, conditions were far from perfect. Ten million workers still did not have jobs. Young people leaving school were lucky to find any job at all. And most business owners were only earning small profits, if any at all.

        After the worst crisis was past, some groups of Americans began to attack Roosevelt and his programs. Conservatives were the first to break with the president. They accused Roosevelt of socialist economic policies.

        DOUG JOHNSON: Much more serious to Roosevelt was criticism from reformers within his own party. A number of popular leaders with strong ideas began to attract support from large numbers of Americans. Roosevelt saw his national unity falling apart. Conservatives were accusing him of socialism. Leftist opponents said he was doing too little to end the depression. He saw that he had to change his path.

        Roosevelt knew he had little chance to re-gain the support of conservative Americans. His policies were too progressive. So, halfway through his first term as president, he began to support new reforms in an effort to win more support from the left.

        The Norris Dam in Tennessee in 1937
        The Norris Dam in Tennessee in 1937

        MARIO RITTER: The Supreme Court made the president's effort easier. Early in nineteen thirty-five, the court ruled that several of Roosevelt's earlier programs violated the constitution and ordered an end to them. Among them were major programs for farmers and industrial planning.

        The court's decisions forced Roosevelt to create new programs and try new ideas. One of his first new actions was to support a plan for government controls on companies that supplied water and produced electricity.

        Another was a measure to give jobs to workers. A third new law forced companies doing business with the federal government to pay workers a minimum wage. And the government also began enforcing a new law to control the actions of stock market traders and investment companies.

        At the same time, Roosevelt began to attack large companies. He spoke about the importance of small businesses in a democracy. He warned the nation that large companies had too much power. And he called for new actions to increase business competition and control large companies.

        DOUG JOHNSON: Roosevelt supported, and Congress passed, two laws during this period that would change the lives of working Americans for years to come. The first law gave more power to labor unions. The second created a federal system to provide money for workers after they retired.

        Roosevelt's administration had already supported labor unions in an earlier law. But that law was over-ruled by the Supreme Court. So in nineteen thirty-five, the Congress passed a new law called the National Labor Relations Act.

        The act created a national labor relations group to help negotiate agreements between workers and business owners. It gave all workers the right to join or form a labor union. And it ordered business owners to negotiate with a union if it represented most of the workers.

        The new law, for the first time, gave unions real power and negotiating rights.

        MARIO RITTER: The other very important law passed during this period created the national social security system. The law forced every worker and business owner to pay a small amount of money each month to the federal government. In exchange, the government paid money to workers who had retired or lost their jobs.

        The new law did not serve everyone. Farmers, government workers, and a number of other groups were not included in the system. The plan also did nothing to help people who were already unemployed. A person had to have a job after the new system began and then lose it to get money.

        However, the national social security law established a system that would grow and become a central part of American life.

        DOUG JOHNSON: Roosevelt also supported other new laws during this period that changed the American economy. A banking act gave the nation's central bank -- the Federal Reserve Board -- new power to control the total amount of money in use.

        Another law increased taxes for rich people. A third law limited the power of major companies to gain control of local electric utility companies.

        The new laws openly challenged the power of big companies, big banks, and big money. Roosevelt rejected the idea that government should cooperate with major companies. Instead, he accused many of the companies of ruining the economy and hurting the working man. He called on Congress to help small companies and the average American.

        MARIO RITTER: Perhaps the most important change during this period was that Roosevelt became willing to accept a federal budget that was not balanced. He began to agree with the ideas of Marriner Eccles, the head of the Federal Reserve Bank.

        Eccles believed that government had a duty to spend extra money during times of economic crisis. The extra money, he said, would create jobs for more people. They could buy more goods. And this would increase economic growth.

        Eccles believed that it was good policy for a government to spend more money than it earned through taxes during such periods. He argued that a growing economy would increase wages and bring in more tax money.

        DOUG JOHNSON: Roosevelt's administration had spent more money than it earned ever since it took office. But the president and his advisers did so only to end the economic crisis. They believed that it was a necessary evil. But Eccles and others told Roosevelt that it was not bad for the nation if the government spent more than it earned.

        The British economist John Maynard Keynes published an influential book that supported the same policy. And Roosevelt and his top advisers began to accept the new idea.

        MARIO RITTER: Roosevelt's economic policies were known as the "New Deal." But the many changes he made during this period became known as the "Second New Deal."

        They included some of the most important pieces of legislation in the history of the country, such as the National Labor Relations Act and the Social Security law. And Roosevelt's willingness to accept an unbalanced budget would be the first step toward federal budget deficits that would grow steadily in the years to come.

        Budget deficits would jump under President Lyndon Johnson during the war in Vietnam. They would be an important cause of economic inflation in the United States and the world in the nineteen-seventies. And Americans would elect Ronald Reagan president in nineteen-eighty partly to try to bring federal spending under control.

        In nineteen-thirty-five, however, most Americans agreed with Franklin Roosevelt that budget deficits were necessary to fight the serious economic depression.

        (MUSIC)

        DOUG JOHNSON: Our program was written by David Jarmul. I'm Doug Johnson with Mario Ritter. You can find our series online with transcripts, MP3s, podcasts and images at www.squishedblueberries.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English. Join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION -- an American history series in VOA Special English.

        ___

        This is program #183

        富蘭克林.羅斯福就任總統頭三個月是美國政治歷史上最為激動人心的時期之一。羅斯福于1933年3月正式入主白宮,此時的美國正處于危機時期,全國各地的銀行都關門停業,經濟大蕭條使經濟跌到了最低點。羅斯福和國會迅速采取行動,幫助那些缺衣少食的貧窮美國人,他們推出了一系列經濟計劃。本周,我們就向你講述這些法案和政策,其中還包括著名的"二次新政"。

        羅斯福就任總統一年后,美國經濟形勢有了顯著改善,這是毫無疑問的。銀行開門營業,越來越多的人有了工作,農民的生產和生活條件有了好轉,窮人不再像以前那樣處于災難的邊緣。

        然而,美國經濟形勢還遠未達到完美,一千萬人依然沒有工作,年輕的大學生畢業后找工作只能憑運氣,絕大多數企業主的盈利很少,甚至幾乎沒有。

        渡過最困難的危機后,美國一些社團開始攻擊羅斯福和他所推出的經濟計劃,保守分子率先斷絕了與羅斯福的關系,他們指責他奉行社會主義經濟政策。

        更為嚴重的是,羅斯福受到了其黨內改革派的批評。一些深受選民歡迎的領導人以其鮮明的觀點而贏得了很多美國人的支持。羅斯福腹背受敵。保守派指責他是社會主義者,而左翼分子則批評他在結束大蕭條方面所做的努力不夠。羅斯福知道自己必須改變道路。

        羅斯福知道,他不可能重新贏得保守派的支持,因為他力主革新。所以,在他第一個總統任期進行到一半的時候,他開始支持更多新的改革,以期贏得左翼分子的更多支持。

        美國聯邦最高法院幫了他的忙。1935年年初,聯邦最高法院裁定,羅斯福早先的一些經濟項目違犯了憲法,并下令停止執行,其中包括有關提高農民收入和振興工業的計劃。

        最高法院的裁決迫使羅斯福推出新計劃,嘗試新想法,他最早采取的行動包括:一,支持政府加大對供水和電力生產企業控制;二,工人創造就業;三,通過一項新法律,確保與聯邦政府交易的企業償付最低工資。同時,聯邦政府還推行新法,加強對證券交易者和投資公司的監管。

        與此同時,羅斯福開始對大企業提出攻擊。他強調民主社會中小企業的重要性,并警告選民說,大企業擁有的權力太大,他呼吁采取新措施來擴大企業之間的競爭,控制大企業。

        這一時期,在羅斯福的支持下,國會通過了兩項法案,這兩項法律將改變美國工人的生活。第一項法律賦予工會更多的權利,第二項法律則確立了美國聯邦雇員退休后領取退休金的制度。

        羅斯福政府早就曾通過立法支持工會的發展,但是這部法律被最高法院否決了。1935年,國會又通過了一部新的《國家勞動關系法》,這部法律創立了一個新的全國性勞工組織,幫助工人與企業主的談判。

        這部法律賦予所有工人建立或加入工會的權利,要求企業主必須與代表絕大多數工人利益的工會進行談判。這部新法律第一次賦予了工會真正的談判權利。

        這一時期通過的另一項重要法律創立了美國的社會保障體系。法律要求每個工人和企業主每個月都要向聯邦政府交納少量的錢,作為交換,工人退休或失業時,就可以從聯邦政府領錢。

        這項新法律并不適用于所有人,農民、政府雇員和其他一些團體的成員都不包括在社會保障體系之中。同樣的,這項新法律對已經失業的人來說毫無意義。社會保險體制開始運行后,只有那些有工作,但后來失業的人才能從政府那領錢。

        然而,這項全國性的社會保險法律創立的社會保險制度將在美國人的生活中發揮越來越大的作用,最終成為美國人生活的核心部分。

        在羅斯福的第二個任期里,除了上次講到的工會法和社會安全體系,還有另外一些立法也改變了美國的經濟 。一部新的《銀行法》賦予美國中央銀行--美聯儲---控制全國貨幣總量的權力。另一項法律提高了富人納稅的稅率。第三部法律限制了大企業控制地方電力公司的權利。

        這些新法律公開地向大企業、大銀行和大財團挑戰。羅斯福否定了那種聯邦政府應該與大企業合作的看法,相反的,他指責大企業毀滅了美國經濟,并傷害了工人的利益。他呼吁國會幫助中小企業和普通的美國民眾。

        這一時期最重要的變化可能就是,羅斯福開始接受預算失衡,同意美聯儲主席馬里納.埃爾克斯的看法。埃爾克斯認為,經濟危機時期,政府有責任多花錢,從而創造就業崗位,提高人們的購買力,促進經濟的增長。

        埃爾克斯認為,經濟危機時期,政府開支超出稅收是對的。他指出,經濟的增長會提高工資,增加稅收。羅斯福上任后,政府就一直是支出 超過稅收。但羅斯??偨y和他的顧問們認為,這只是為了能夠結束經濟危機的權宜之計。

        但埃爾克斯等人告訴羅斯福說,政府開支超過收入,對國家而言并不是壞事。英國經濟學家凱恩斯發表了一部很有影響的著作,也支持這一觀點。因而,羅斯福和他的高級顧問們也開始接受了這一新的理念。

        羅斯福剛上任時推行的經濟政策是歷史上著名的"新政",而這一時期他所促成的種種變化則被后人稱為"二次新政",其中包括美國歷史上一些最重要的法律,如《國家勞動關系法》和《社會保險法》。羅斯福開始接受預算失衡,也成為了美國此后奉行赤字預算所邁出的第一步。

        美國聯邦政府赤字在林登.約翰遜總統任期內的越南戰爭時期急劇上升,成為上世紀七十年代美國和世界通貨膨脹的一個重要原因。1980年,美國民眾推選羅納德.里根當總統,部分原因就是希望他能設法讓聯邦政府預算得到控制。

        然而,在1935年時,絕大多數美國人都同意富蘭克林.羅斯福的想法,認為預算赤字是戰勝嚴重的經濟大蕭條所必須的。

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