Americans Now Learning Real History,
A recent Rasmussen Reports Survey seems to show that Americans are starting to understand that the country was NOT rescued from the Great Depression by government spending and government policies (a.k.a. interference in the free markets), but rather that the government actually cost the nation millions of jobs, intensified a normal recession with its increased spending, creating and lengthening the depression and eventually turning it into the “Great Depression.” The lesson, however, is not necessarily transferring into a greater understanding of today’s economics . . . .
According to the Rasmussen survey, 43% now say that government policy mistakes created the Great Depression of the ‘30s; while only 26% disagree and 31% say they are unsure. Americans, today however, are still greatly confused about the cause of the financial meltdown which, they think, began about October, 2007. More on that later . . . .
Despite the Rasmussen poll results, thanks to two and a half generations of revisionist history ,today far too many Americans still believe that Herbert Hoover was a) a conservative rather than a progressive b) that greedy Wall Street created the Great Depression c) that Hoover’s administration spent almost nothing fighting the economic problems d) that government spending can create jobs in the private sector e) that in 1932 Franklin Delano Roosevelt campaigned for president against Hoover’s “conservativism” f) that FDR did virtually everything entirely different than Hoover and g) that FDR saved the country from the Great Depression. Let’s quickly put those lies to rest before dealing with today’s situation, eh?
Since progressivism (we must ‘progress’ beyond the out-dated and seriously flawed U.S. Constitution if we are ever to make ‘progress’ toward an earthly socialist or even Marxist Utopia) first became a serious undercurrent in American Politics in the 1890’s only once in the following 120 years has a serious economic downturn been handled by pure conservative restraint . . . and no, Ronald Reagan was NOT president when that happened (Reagan actually increased government spending while cutting taxes extra-severely and created some whopping deficits in the process of also creating twenty million jobs).
Teddy Roosevelt was our first progressive president. You’ll remember that his “Bull Moose Party” was actually a third party officially known as, wait for it: the “Progressive Party.” Teddy certainly had done a lot of questionable and presumably out-and-out unconstitutional things earlier when he was a Republican president, luckily most of them worked out pretty well for the nation. Perhaps a Progressive president once every century or so wouldn’t be a bad thing, but certainly no more often?
Our first ultra-progressive president, Woodrow Wilson, however, was another story. Besides giving us the Federal Reserve Banking system and the income tax (still called today: “progressive” income tax), Wilson was a great propagandist who ran for a second term under the slogan “He kept us out of War” but within a month after his March, 1916 inauguration he deliberately and unnecessarily thrust us into World War I. He was the first truly big-spending president the country had ever known . . . way, way beyond the costs of the war. When his term was winding down, we were in a serious recession much worse than the recession sparked by the 1929 collapse. When he left office in March, 1921 the country was in a full-fledged depression.Curiously, those events are generally overlooked by history. People in the know, however, speak of “The Invisible Depression” or of the “Not-so-Great Depression.” Why was the Invisible Depression so invisible we don’t even know about it today?
Two things: 1) revisionist progressive historians have done everything possible to hide this quite remarkable set of events and keep us from comparing it to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s approach while creating an enormous myth of FDR as a savior and 2) these policies worked out as the launching pad for the World’s most expansive decade in free market history and gets lost in the shuffle while everyone writes books and novels and treatises about the “Roaring ‘20’s” instead. What actually happened was this:
Warren G. Harding and his vice president, Calvin Coolidge took office in March, 1921 with a full-fledged economic contraction underway. The full story is available from the Cato Institute here:
but let’s sum it up briefly. Unemployment stood 150% higher than it was a year earlier; and GDP was only 76% of 1920 levels. Harding immediately cut government spending 49%; taxes 48%; and reduced government debt 30%. Unlike the business-bashing that Wilson, FDR, LBJ (Lyndon Johnson) and Obama are infamous for, the Harding administration did everything it could to get government out of business’ way. In fifteen months the country was humming again and the Invisible Depression was over. When Harding died, VP, Calvin Coolidge continued the same policies saying “the business of America is business.”
Where did Herbert Hoover come from? Hoover was a highly respected humanitarian with an engineering background that Harding installed as his Secretary of Commerce to appease certain Eastern Republican interests. Under both Harding and Coolidge was very ineffective. Hoover promoted government intervention under the rubric "economic modernization" and tried to get Harding to dole out unemployment benefits to ease the pain of the high 1921 joblessness. Through the next eight years both presidents Harding and Coolidge largely ignored Hoover.
Hoover was, in short a progressive . . . Some people are aware of that but here’s what most don’t know. At the end of World War II, Hoover’s humanitarianism including involvement in a program akin to the Marshall Program after World War II which benefitted defeated Germany and the Bolsheviks in Russia. Hoover was so influential and well respected that the New York Times named him “One of the ten most important living Americans. Woodrow Wilson considered Hoover “my ideal successor,” Democratic leaders looked upon Hoover as a strong presidential candidate and FDR said, “There could be none finer.” Hoover, who up to then was a-political, said that because of his childhood memories, he had no interest in being a Democrat (supposedly the only Democrat in his home city was “the town drunk) and ignored Democratic overtures. Hoover decided he’d become a Republican and announced his candidacy for president but couldn’t get much Republican support although he did finish 2nd in the 1920 California Primary. Despite the gridlock at the RNC Convention that year, Hoover’s name was never seriously discussed and Harding became a popular compromise candidate and he won the nomination on the 10th ballot.
After the 1920 Republican -- to appease influential Republicans on both coasts -- Harding installed Hoover as his Secretary of Commerce. Hoover’s only real contributions during his stint as Commerce Secretary were some important traffic safety (embracing motor vehicle standards, rules of the road, and urban traffic control) innovations. Nevertheless, he sought to expand the Commerce Secretary domain in every possible way. He became known for trying to take over parts of other cabinets so much so that the joke was that Hoover was "the Secretary of Commerce... and Under-Secretary of Everything Else” and Coolidge called him “Wonder-boy.”
After the combined Harding-Coolidge administration ended in 1928, Hoover again ran for president. As soon as he was elected in 1928, he set about making the government much bigger. His biggest moves began right after his inauguration and including implementing a wide series of farm programs and a much-criticized huge tariff increase. A self-described “Progressive” and “Reformer,” Hoover saw the presidency as a vehicle for improving the conditions of all Americans by regulation and by getting government involved encouraging of volunteerism. Long before entering politics, he had denounced laissez-faire thinking. As Commerce Secretary, he had taken an active pro-regulation stance. As President, he helped push expensive and interventionist tariff and farm subsidy bills through Congress. Hoover also increased taxes and increased the federal budget 50% (for comparison Barack Obama so far has only increased the budget 41%). It’s obvious that the real Hoover was nothing like the do-nothing Hoover that Progressive historians have insisted he was.
Just as they did back then, the left (the progressives of today’s Democratic Party) is now seeking to blame the current economic crisis on a conspiracy that is an inversion of the actual facts. By the way, back in 1932 FDR and his first VP-to-be called Hoover a “socialist” and promised to use Harding’s methods to regain prosperity . . . that is FDR promised to pay down debt; slash taxes; and slash government spending. Instead he actually raised the budget 100% above Hoover’s last budget; confiscated the nation’s gold and in other ways undermined the recovery so badly that only the nation’s entry into World War II nine years later got us out of the depression.
Most Americans have no idea about the facts you’ve just read and their opinions about government’s ability to create jobs in the private sector by increased spending are largely based upon the “Savior myth” of FDR as the man who heroically saved us from the Great Depression.
When it comes to today’s problems and today’s myths the infamous Obama-car-in-the-ditch myth (blaming all our woes on conservatives and the free markets) tops them all. The truth, however, is:
To prove this surprising assertion for yourself: you’ll need a little education:
The fact that Frances Fox Piven is today still openly calling for bloody revolution and urging the poor and unemployed to “use their anger” and begin the Marxist “revolution” while the lame-stream, mainstream media is accusing the TEA Party of hate-mongering and ignoring Piven is the greatest possible journalistic malfeasance.
The fact that George W. Bush’s administration recognized the problem as early as January, 2005 and sought to repeal the horrific CRA ’77 laws but the vote was defeated. And that Bush made at least 19 separate speeches on the matter and continued to strive for elimination of CRA ’77 right up until finally in July, 2007 (30 months later) when a much weaker law was passed has not been allowed as part of the history of the meltdown even though Obama’s Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in August, 2010 credited Bush with preventing an absolute collapse of our financial system and with preventing total disintegration of the housing market again reflects poorly on the so-called journalistic “profession.” The “watchdogs of the Republic” have turned on us . . . this is the biggest story of the last half of the 20th and of the first decade of the 21st Century and naturally, it’ll never be reported by the present generation of mainstream journalists . . . .
Ya’all live long, strong and ornery,