Skip to comments.Correction: History Repeating Itself and Not in a Good Way
Posted on 02/13/2010 7:41:09 AM PST by timesthattrymenssouls
Do yourself a favor and get a copy of Amity Shlaes' The Forgotten Man, A New History of the Great Depression. Barack Obama's presidency and his economic policies are placed in context once you read Shlaes' account of FDR and his policies. Written in 2007, there is no way Shlaes could have manipulated the similarities.
Consider this account of the Roosevelt Administration in 1937, four and a half years after the New Deal was introduced and the economy refused to budge. She refers to this time as "a depression within the Depression. "
"...the Economist would conclude...that the United States "seemed to have forgotten, for the moment, how to grow."
Yet Washington was doing all the wrong things. Officials in the capital seemed arrogant, obsessed with numbers, and oblivious to the pain the nation was suffering. People were angry that Congress and the president had recently raised taxes. With business so hard, why make it harder?" (2)
Sound familiar? Shlaes continues with a story of the treasury secretary giving a speech before the Academy of Political Science during this time:
"There had been a national emergency in the past, the secretary told listeners. But now it no longer existed. The secretary then went on to conclude that the country must now "continue progress toward a balance of the federal budget."
A member of the audience laughed out loud in shock. The remark seemed so much at odds with the painful reality of that November.
...Washington had already made thousands of efforts to help the economy, yet those efforts had not brought prosperity." (3)
Policy is not where the similarities end. "Roosevelt offered rhetorical optimism, but pessimism underlay his policies. ...Roosevelt cared little for constitutional niceties and believed they blocked progress. His remedies were on a greater scale and often inspired by socialist or fascist models abroad." (6)
And finally: "The problem was their naivete about the economic value of Soviet-style or European-style collectivism--and the fact that they forced such collectivism upon their own country." (7)
Arm yourself with historical fact. Read The Forgotten Man. For as Jefferson said, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."
Yep, that sounds EXACTLY like it is today.
And we probably would have been on the road to recovery in a couple of years without Roosevelt's programs instead of still feeling the effects of the crash up to the '50's.
The most important lesson from the Great Depression is actually a simple one. There must be a balance between good medium- and long-term economic policy, and the immediate suffering of people.
“Ol’ Frank” Roosevelt is not remembered for his economic screw ups, but for simple and pragmatic efforts to stop suffering at a human level. And this is what created vast loyalty to the Democrat party.
Hoover’s Republicans were too focused on economic recovery in the mid- and long-term. What humane elements they did try were thwarted by congressional Democrats who stonewalled any such efforts by the Republicans, because they understood the potential rewards for being “the hand that gives to the starving.”
A profound example of this was that how, even during the Dust Bowl, which wiped out vast areas of farmland from Texas into Canada, one of the serious problems facing farmers outside of the Dust Bowl region was *overproduction*.
With severe deflation, a money and currency shortage, wheat was being sold for 25 cents to a bushel, and corn was being burned for fuel. While at the same time, hundreds of thousands of people were starving.
So Ol’ Frank did something simple and pragmatic, even if fascist. It was to create the Federal Surplus Relief Corporation (FSRC), to reduce the overabundance of food, stop overproduction, and provide food for the starving.
One of its first acts was to seize and slaughter six million pigs, in the unregulated and decentralized pork industry. Literally to go to farms, take animals, kill them and bury them. Then they did the same with enormous amounts of produce and other farm animals.
And some of that they gave to the starving people, converting thousands to loyal Democrat voters overnight. As was said at the time: “Starving people would vote for the devil himself, if he offers them food. And in this case, they did.”
Importantly, Republicans today must hold this painful lesson to heart. Because by the Democrats doing this, they were excluded from congressional power, except for a very brief interval during Eisenhower, until the time of Bill Clinton.
The lesson is that starving people do not give two hoots for economics until their bellies are full. So when in power, it is *vital* that they be fed first.
Wow! What is the date on that cartoon, Grampa Dave?
You make an excellent point re our universities and based on my experience in Academia you can assume most all colleges are left wing! Not just the Ivy’s. Sad sad sad.
That cartoon was done in 1934.
Great Depression. Barack Obama’s presidency.
Thank you. So very interesting.
A BIG difference between FDR and BHO is that in the first Congressional elections (1934) following his winning of the White House, FDR enjoyed BIG democrat gains in the House and Senate. This allowed him to implement his policies much more easily. BHO will see the exact opposite happen in the upcoming (November, 2010) Congressional elections.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.