extracts from Wikipedia and PoliticsUSA

The Second Bill of Rights was a list of rights proposed by Franklin D. Roosevelt during his State of the Union Address on January 11, 1944.  In his address Roosevelt suggested that the nation had come to recognize, and should now implement, a second “bill of rights”. Roosevelt’s argument was that the “political rights” guaranteed by the constitution and the Bill of Rights had “proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.”  Roosevelt’s remedy was to declare an “economic bill of rights” which would guarantee:

  • Employment, with a living wage
  • Freedom from unfair competition and monopolies
  • Housing
  • Medical care
  • Education
  • Social security

Roosevelt stated that having these rights would guarantee American security, and that America’s place in the world depended upon how far these and similar rights had been carried into practice.

Roosevelt’s argument was that “political rights” guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were “inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness,” particularly after toiling to build America over a lifetime of labor; labor that enriched the privileged few who never had to face poverty when their bodies could no longer work. Republicans have spent the past seventy years attempting to force Americans to work until they drop dead and their efforts are bearing fruit according to “The Oxford Handbook of Retirement 2013.”

It is becoming a common concern amongst blue-collar baby boomers, the 78-million Americans born between 1946 and 1964, that they will have to “do like my father did; I’ll work ’til I die.”

Coupled with low wages, and their stated intent to eliminate Americans’ Social Security and pensions, Republicans, the Koch brothers, and Wall Street will be successful in guaranteeing an entire generation will never enjoy FDR’s basic “right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment” borne of work-worn bodies.