Sam Pizzigati: The Fiscal Cliff ... of '32

Sam Pizzigati edits Too Much, the Institute for Policy Studies' weekly on excess and inequality. This piece is adapted from his new book, The Rich Don't Always Win: The Forgotten Triumph over Plutocracy that Created the American Middle Class, 1900-1970.

Close your eyes in Washington these days and you can almost hear the echoes of 1932. Eighty years ago, just like today, a fiscal crisis almost totally dominated the nation's capital.

Then, as now, fiscal conservatives demanded immediate action to fix a federal budget awash in red ink. And then, as now, average Americans wondered why all the fuss about deficits. The Depression was in its third year, and millions had no jobs. Why were politicians haggling about balancing the budget?

Is history simply repeating? If so, bring that repeat on, with the same final result. That 1932 fiscal crisis produced an unexpected, and stunning, watershed in U.S. history, the moment when America's rich and powerful began to lose their lock-grip on the nation's political pulse... 

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