Forum on an Economic Bill of Rights

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In the midst of a government stalemate over the federal budget, the Columbia University Seminars Program will host a conference on An Economic Bill of Rights for the 21st Century on Friday, October 18, from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Speakers will make the case for a new Economic Bill of Rights, modeled after Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1944 Economic Bill of Rights but updated for the 21st century to include population groups and issues-such as the right to a sustainable environment-that were not included in the original proposal. At a time when economic rights are too often overlooked, it is important for forward-looking thinkers to reassess earlier formulations and develop new strategies for achieving social justice.

The Keynote Speaker, Congressman John Conyers, Jr (D-MI) had this to say in advance of the conference, “Through his Economic Bill of Rights, President Roosevelt recognized that no matter the wealth of the average, if any fraction of the American people is ‘ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure,’ policy must be developed to remedy these circumstances. We must work to shift the national conversation back to a positive dialogue on how to ensure that today’s Americans are assured these rights as well. I believe that when intellectuals, academics, and politicians come together at events such as this conference we can shift the national focus back to job creation and a create a full employment society. I look forward to participating in this timely and necessary conversation.”