I was recently made aware that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker drew a comparison between himself and my grandfather, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in an attempt to justify his attacks on the rights of workers to bargain collectively.
Walker’s distortion of President Roosevelt’s beliefs could not be more off base. Not only was President Roosevelt a staunch advocate for labor rights, he was a proponent of just and peaceful labor relations. The kind of disharmony brought about by Gov. Walker’s attack on workers’ rights — to include threats to call in the Wisconsin National Guard as his enforcers — is exactly what President Roosevelt sought to prevent in establishing the National Labor Relations Board as a safeguard for workers’ rights.
But it’s not just on workers’ rights where Gov. Walker’s approach to governance strays so far from that of my grandfather. Faced with a dire economic situation, President Roosevelt recognized that the only path toward a full recovery was to invest in stimulative spending, financial oversight and social reforms that ensured every American had a basic level of economic security.