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Letters to the Editor: We need another New Deal, but with climate change action

FDR in 1935
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Works Progress Administration into law on May 6, 1935.
(Handout)

To the editor: Columnist Michael Hiltzik is correct that the time has come for a serious economic and social reset. The blueprint produced by the Roosevelt Institute, as he describes it, appears to cover most of the relevant bases — with one exception.

Why is there no mention of the pressing need to address climate change, beyond a brief reference to a need for “construction workers to rebuild public buildings to be energy-efficient”? We must resist the tendency to see this as a separate issue.

Climate change impacts health. Low-income workers, particularly those in Black and Latino communities, are already disproportionately exposed to rising temperatures and to high levels of carbon dioxide emissions and other pollutants.

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the systemic failures of our society. It has also given us the opportunity — and perhaps the will — to do something about them. Meanwhile, climate change looms over all of us, and if we don’t get serious about it very soon, it will threaten our survival. We live in a moment that demands an economic and social reset, a change in the ways in which we live and think and behave.

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The necessary transition to clean energy and zero emissions will provide many new jobs along with a healthier, more sustainable environment. If we get a New Deal right this time, we will create a society where all of us have the opportunity to thrive.

Helen Maurer, Mission Viejo

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To the editor: The only way that any New Deal-adjacent reforms will work for the long run is to correct the systemic flaws that have crept into our means of governance.

It all comes down to reversing the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision and eliminating corporate big money from our elections. As long as we have campaigns and politicians beholden to wealthy supporters, we will continue to have the frozen, nonreactive government we have now.

Ah, but reversing Citizens United entails Congress coming together to create the appropriate legislation. Given that our lawmakers are already in the grasp of big money, there’s little chance that will happen.

It’s the ultimate Catch-22.

Sharon D. Graham, San Marcos

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To the editor: Great column by Hiltzik acknowledging the effort, along with the successes and failures, of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal administration. Two statements from that time would fit right in today.

When New Deal architect Harry Hopkins was told by a congressman that the economic situation would be sorted out in the long run, he replied, “People don’t eat in the long run, they eat every day.”

Roosevelt made his own statement that I wish we would have heard at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic: “Must we go on in many groping, disorganized, separate units to defeat, or shall we move as one great team to victory?”

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David Lynch, Fullerton


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