The Deal of the Century: The New “New Deal”

DEALS AND DISCOUNTS--This Saturday, Sue Helmy and I resolved to journey to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on a mission to discover what the fuss about Senator Bernie Sanders is all about. Joining us were a couple of activist friends of mine and Sue’s daughter’s best friend from college. We were especially excited to be attending with Beshoy – the college friend – because he looks like Jesus. Since Bernie looks like Santa Claus, we figured we couldn’t really do any better than hanging out with Jesus AND Santa Claus all at once. After all salvation from fire and brimstone and free gifts in December are both PRETTY GOOD DEALS. 

We opted to bus it on over to that iconic structure near USC. LA Metro bus fare has gone up since I last rode – now at $1.75 a trip, with transfers at 50 cents a pop. We had a great time riding with our fellow Angelinos down to the venue even though there was some confusion since we hadn’t taken much time to read the directions on the trip planner. HINT: PAY ATTENTION IF YOU DO THIS AT HOME! 

After about 45 minutes, we reached our destination in good spirits and proceeded to line up serpentine-style. It took us about two hours to get through. Meanwhile, we got buttons for two bucks each and some Bernie rolling papers for three. We made it through the perilous purview of the surly TSA and Secret Service types and into the plaza of the coliseum. There, we sat around on the grass and ate from food trucks and danced to the tunes of Ozomatli. Then we heard from Susan Sarandon and Dick Van Dyke before Bernie came out and introduced us to his family. 

The first thing Bernie did was pay tribute to the late great Muhammad Ali. He talked about Ali’s courage in risking it all to stand up to racism and warmongering. He then went on to outline his platform which, to my mind, sounds like the DEAL OF THE CENTURY! What we’re talkin’ here is what could be… 


What they like to call the “Great Depression” was the last time we had an economic crisis approximating the one we all just saw brought on around 2008 by the big boys on Wall Street. Times got so rough then, that the government, under FDR’s administration, was forced to pass out a damn good deal to the American public. Here are… 







Creation of agencies such as the Public Works Administration, the Civil Works Administration and others (the CWA alone put to work 4 million people in two months

Rebuild America Act,, investing $1 trillion over five years to modernize our infrastructure.  Creating more than thirteen million good-paying jobs

Passing of the Social Security Act. The initial version, the Economic Security Act, included national health care

Lifting the cap of $250,000 for Social Security and a free national health care system

Creation of the Federal Housing Administration and Home Owners Loan Corporation to regulate mortgages and housing conditions and preventing foreclosure

Expanding affordable housing, promoting home ownership, re-invigorating HARP to help prevent foreclosure, fighting homelessness and racial inequalities in housing quality

The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (Wagner Act) guaranteed the right of employees to collective bargaining

Fighting for the Employee Free Choice Act. This would allow a union to be certified as the official union to bargain with an employer if that union gets the signatures of a majority of workers. It would have done away with the present right of an employer to come back AFTER THAT and demand another separate ballot.. Third, the bill would increase penalties on employers who discriminate against workers for union involvement.

Enactment of Glass-Steagall, preventing commercial banking to be separate from investment banking, thereby

Enactment of a new version of Glass-Steagall. Sanders thinks too-big-to-fail banks are bigger and riskier than ever before. They are even bigger than 2008 with too much power and a threat to our democracy.



The rapid climate change that is affecting our planet today is increasingly presenting the threat of not only natural disasters, but also food scarcity and quality, water quality, air-borne pathogens and a host of ills which threaten the future of humanity. This thread did not exist to this degree in 1933.


On the one difference I’ve mentioned here – and it is not the only one, Sanders is unequivocal. I took this quote from his website where he outlines an entire plan on the matter, complete with video y todo: 

The debate is over. The vast majority of the scientific community has spoken. Climate change is real, it is caused by human activity, and it is already causing devastating harm here in the United States, and to people all around the globe. So what are we going to do about it? We will act boldly to move our energy system away from fossil fuels, toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal because we have a moral responsibility to leave our kids a planet that is healthy and habitable.  - Senator Bernie Sanders

Sanders spoke at the rally about the original people of this land and about how much we can learn from their traditional values of respecting the environment and preserving it for future generations. He spoke about his real concern that there will be enough safe drinking water for all people in the coming period. 

All in all, we came away with a feeling of inspiration that whatever happens, there is a big movement underway to hammer out some real solutions to some long-held problems. We all agreed that would be the best deal ever. 


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(Jennifer Caldwell is a an actress and an active member of SAG-AFTRA, serving on several committees. She is a published author of short stories and news articles and is a featured contributor to CityWatch. Her column at is dishing up good deals, recipes and food for thought. Jennifer can be reached at  Facebook: - Twitter: @checkingthegate)