Guest Post: Barack Obama as Herbert Hoover

Submitted by Edward Harrison of the site Credit Writedowns

Edward Harrison here. For months now, we have been hearing the Obama – FDR comparisons, all suggesting that Barack Obama is a modern day Franklin Delano Roosevelt, with the opportunity to lead us out of Depression with a new New Deal. I have some serious problems with this comparison. In my view, a comparison between Barack Obama and Herbert Hoover is more apt.

Let’s look back at the Depression for a second. Now, if you recall, Herbert Hoover became president in March 1929 when signs of a slowing economy were evident. By August 1929 recession hit.

This recession turned into the Great Depression, with the economy hitting bottom in March 1933. So, the entire recession we remember as being the depths of the Great Depression occurred while Herbert Hoover was President, not during FDR’s presidency.

Fast forward to December 2007 when this recession began and we can see that George W. Bush presided over 11 months of recession. So, Obama comes into office during recession unlike Hoover, but also unlike Roosevelt. However, the key difference here is that the economy had already hit bottom when Roosevelt entered and is continuing to worsen for Obama.

What historical period should Obama be looking to then? Clearly, he should be looking to Hoover. And I believe this is very important with the G-20 right around the corner. Any number of pundits from Simon Johnson to Wolfgang Munchau will tell you the G-20 summit will be a big failure. While the Americans are trying to reflate the bubble and bring back the same unbalanced system which got us here, the Europeans are putting their heads in the sand, wishing all of this would go away.

And that’s not a good thing at all. If one thinks back to Hoover again, after a long period of globalization, an interconnected world meant problems in one country quickly became manifest elsewhere. The world’s major nations failed to come together and build a common solution. Some thought themselves immune. But, when the depths of Depression finally came, it was little Austria which ushered it in. And soon, depression was everywhere.

This was 1931. Herbert Hoover was president, not Franklin Roosevelt.

Source
Business Cycle Expansions and Contractions – NBER

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About Edward Harrison

I am a banking and finance specialist at the economic consultancy Global Macro Advisors. Previously, I worked at Deutsche Bank, Bain, the Corporate Executive Board and Yahoo. I have a BA in Economics from Dartmouth College and an MBA in Finance from Columbia University. As to ideology, I would call myself a libertarian realist - believer in the primacy of markets over a statist approach. However, I am no ideologue who believes that markets can solve all problems. Having lived in a lot of different places, I tend to take a global approach to economics and politics. I started my career as a diplomat in the foreign service and speak German, Dutch, Swedish, Spanish and French as well as English and can read a number of other European languages. I enjoy a good debate on these issues and I hope you enjoy my blogs. Please do sign up for the Email and RSS feeds on my blog pages. Cheers. Edward http://www.creditwritedowns.com

55 comments

  1. dearieme

    The problem is that the US wants to inflate, but its debts are so high that it’s very risky. Germany could afford to inflate but doesn’t want to.

    Impasse!

  2. Anonymous

    We felt it was FDR time because the economy has been falling apart for years. But not long enough yet!

  3. jm

    Just last week I emailed my daughters with the comment that, although I had hoped Obama would be a second FDR, he was turning out to be a second Hoover.

    It is a common misconception that one of the causes of the Great Depression was Hoover taking the advice of Andrew Mellon to “Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate . . . purge the rottenness out of the system.”

    But Hoover didn’t take that advice, and immediately began doing the opposite with various stimulative measures that were, however, inadequate in scale and character.

    Rather like the Obama administration.

    Obama resemble Hoover not only in the circumstances in which he finds himself, but also in his general approach to the problems.

  4. Anonymous

    “Gentlemen, I have had men watching you for a long time and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter, I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves . . . I intend to rout you out, and by the Eternal God I will rout you out!” — Andrew Jackson

    Smart man this Andrew Jackson, does anybody know this man ?

  5. brushes9

    New popular country music tune is playing all over the U.S:

    "Shuttin Detroit Down"
    by Frank Rich

    Hear the song. Forward to minute three, for the song.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoIXxFSq7og&feature=related

    Lyrics:

    My daddy taught me that in this country everyone’s the same
    You work hard for your dollar and you never pass the blame
    When it don’t go your way
    Now I see all these big shots whinin’ on my evening news
    About how they’re losin’ billions and how it’s up to me and you
    To come running to the rescue
    Well pardon me if I don’t shed a tear ‘cause they’re selling make believe
    And we don’t buy that here

    Cause in the real world they're shutting Detroit down
    While the boss man takes his bonus pay and jets out of town/
    And DC’s bailing out the bankers as the farmers auction ground
    Yeah while they’re living it up on Wall Street in that New York City town
    Here in the real world there shuttin’ Detroit down.
    They’re shuttin’ Detroit down.”

    Well that old man’s been workin’ in that plant most all of his life
    Now his pension plan’s been cut in half and he can’t afford to die
    And it’s a crying shame ‘cause he ain’t the one to blame
    When I look down and see his caloused hands
    Let me tell you friend it gets me fightin’ mad

    Cause in the real world there shutting Detroit down
    While the boss man takes his bonus pay and jets out of town/
    And DC’s bailing out the bankers as the farmers auction ground
    Yeah while they’re living it up on Wall Street in that New York City town
    Here in the real world there shuttin’ Detroit down.
    They’re shuttin’ Detroit down.”

  6. Martin Tomášek

    Hmm.. FDR was the man responsible for deepening the depression. The man which almost destroyed US economy. The man who turned whole economy in his own socialistic experiment. He forbidden free market, competition, set limits to prices and wages.

    There are many similarities between Obama and FDR, for example both are socialistic populists.

  7. Anonymous

    George Will hauled out this meme on ABC’s “This Week”. Lucky P. Kurgman was also on the panel and smacked down the concept by pointing the size of the Federal government was so small during the Hoover presidency that the comparisons were not possible.

    I have to assume this meme is coming from a Rt wing think tank.

  8. Anonymous

    I have also been struck by the comparison between Obama and Hoover. Contrary to the popular impression, Hoover wasn’t a reactionary but the greatest progressive of his day. A self made man born in a two room house in Iowa, he ran food relief programs in a starving Europe after WWI. He greatly expanded the role of the national government in the economy in the 1920s, turning the Commerce Department into a statitics gathering think tank facilitating national economic planning. His relief efforts in the great Mississippi River flood of 1927 broke precedent to deliver national emergency relief services on a massive scale for the first time ever.

    As president, Hoover enacted work relief programs during the depression, but they were too small and too slow. Like Obama, Hoover predicted a recovery every year in his budget and wanted to ensure that work relief projects were not wasteful. Hoover wasn’t ideological or mean spirited so much as overwhelmed by circumstances. He was trapped in conventional thinking, and it ruined his reputation (and broke his heart).

    Hoover was destroyed by caution and reliance on the advice of the financial experts of his day. Obama is going down the same path. I only hope the story has a different ending this time.

  9. Hayduke

    First the wingnuts tried to rewrite FDR’s success. Seeing how that wasn’t working, they’ve now tried to compare Obama to the second worst republican ever (Dubya is 1st of course).

    God I hope the GOP is stupid enough to run Palin in 2012.

  10. doc wiki holiday

    Wiki-tips: As secretary and later as President, Hoover revolutionized the relations between business and government. Rejecting the adversarial stance of Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson, he sought to make the Commerce Department a powerful service organization, empowered to forge cooperative voluntary partnerships between government and business. This philosophy is often called “associationalism.”

    Hoover’s reputation, experience, and popularity coalesced to give him the nomination on the first ballot, with Senator Charles Curtis named as his running mate.

    New Dealer Rexford Tugwell later remarked that although no one would say so at the time, “practically the whole New Deal was extrapolated from programs that Hoover started.”

    In his campaigns around the country, Hoover was faced with perhaps the most hostile crowds any sitting president had ever faced. In addition to having his train and motorcades pelted with eggs and rotten fruit, he was often heckled while speaking, and on several occasions, the Secret Service halted attempts to kill Hoover by disgruntled citizens, including capturing one man nearing Hoover carrying sticks of dynamite, and another actually already having removed several spikes from the rails in front of the President’s train. He lost the election by a huge margin, winning only six out of 48 states.

    After the defeat, Hoover’s attempts to reach out to Roosevelt to help calm investors and begin to resolve the economic problems facing the country were rebuffed; since Roosevelt was not inaugurated until March 1933, this “guaranteed that Roosevelt took the oath of office amid such an atmosphere of crisis that Hoover had become the most hated man in America.”

    FDR, however, supposedly could and did engage in various petty official acts aimed at his predecessor, ranging from dropping him from the White House birthday greetings message list to having Hoover’s name struck from the Hoover Dam along the Colorado River border, which would officially be known only as Boulder Dam for many years to come.

  11. killben

    “While the Americans are trying to reflate the bubble and bring back the same unbalanced system which got us here, the Europeans are putting their heads in the sand, wishing all of this would go away.

    And that’s not a good thing at all.”

    Edward, what do you suggest .. spend your way out of the way the way you did while getting into it?

    Edward, do you think that the way to get out of a debt is to pay it off or get more of it.

    Please try to offer some constructive suggestion not keynesian claptrap!

    Do you know what needs to be done .. reduce debts by writing it off or paying it off…

    Not throw dumb suckers(tax-payers) money after insolvent institutions, prop up asset prices, screw prudent home owners and savers ….

    allow asset prices to drop to levels where buyer interest will start growing and watch the economy recover!

    There will be significant pain but it is over and done with!

  12. James B

    Just as whoever was president during the period 1929-1933 was destined to take the blame for the Great Depression, whoever was elected in 2008 was destined to be the fall guy for this downturn. Herbert Hoover did not cause the Great Depression, the excessive debt accumulation and speculation of the 1920s did. Now that we’ve accumulated even more debt (relative to GDP, income, or whatever you choose to normalize it by) a major economic downturn is assured. There may be things we can do to make it better or worse, but there’s no getting around a massive amount of pain.

    Obama should have waited four years (or maybe eight–we haven’t gotten any better at dealing with economic crises, but we do seem to have found ways to stretch them out and prolong them). He might have been an excellent person to pull us out from the bottom–like FDR–but this crisis is too big for any politician, and it’s going to destroy whoever is in power for the next few years.

    I have been disappointed by Obama’s choice of economic advisers and policies. It seems possible that, in collaboration with Bernanke, they could turn a really bad economic downturn into a catastrophe involving sovereign default or hyperinflation. But let’s not kid ourselves that any of the other candidates would be doing something that would allow us to avoid depression. That just ain’t possible.

  13. Timo

    “he Europeans are putting their heads in the sand, wishing all of this would go away.”

    Typical stupid American crap. It is the EUROPEANS which are proposing new regulations and restructuring the whole global financial system and not the Americans which just wanna gamble even more, double or nothing.

  14. Anonymous

    Bernankeism: Fraud or Menace?

    … the Fed “could theoretically buy anything to pump money into the system” including “state and local debt, real estate and gold mines – any asset.

    Even the Fed itself is not secretive about their use of opinion management. One of Bernanke’s papers, Monetary Policy Alternatives at the Zero Bound: An Empirical Assessment enumerates “using communications policies to shape public expectations about the future course of interest rates” as one of the three main types of non-standard policies. And in Central Bank Talk and Monetary Policy, we read:

    Although effective communication by the central bank is always important, it becomes especially important when the rates are near zero. Indeed, when the proximity of the zero bound prevents further rate cuts to stimulate the economy, talking about future policy actions may be one of the few tools at the central bank’s disposal by which to influence conditions in financial markets.

    However, because something is propaganda does not mean that it is a deliberate untruth. As Rothbard wrote:

    To achieve a regime of big government and government control, power elites cannot achieve their goal of privilege through statism without the vital legitimizing support of the supposedly disinterested experts and the professoriat. To achieve the Leviathan State, interests seeking special privilege, and intellectuals offering scholarship and ideology, must work hand in hand.

  15. Timo

    Writer also conveniently forgets that especially Germans tried for years to put up new international regulations and guidelines for wild west derivatives financial markets but Yanks and Brits constantly were against those because “markets know bests and are able to self-regulate, we do not need stinking new regulations, we need even less!”.

  16. marin belge™

    “The Europeans are putting their heads in the sand, wishing all of this would go away.”

    Typical stupid American crap. It is the EUROPEANS who are proposing new regulations and restructuring the whole global financial system and not the Americans who just wanna gamble even more, double or nothing.

    +1.

    This impressively courageous and free-speaking US financial blogosphere is now one of the very few reason to still have amiable relations with the US. P-L-E-A-S-E do not spoiled!

  17. marin belge™

    This impressively courageous and free-speaking US financial blogosphere is now one of the very few reason to still have amiable relations with the US. P-L-E-A-S-E do not spoil it

  18. J. Powers

    The chronological nadir of each depression is a less interesting parallel between Hoover and Obama than their attitudes. Hoover optimistically (and naively) believed that Americans–especially businessmen–would simply “do the right thing” once they had grasped the situation. Americans are a generally generous and helpful folk, but each person views risk through his own lens. Hoover thought to solve systemic problems through aggregated individual actions. If each person would just do his part…

    An anonymous poster here pointed out that Hoover was actually a great progressive. This is true. Hoover more or less envisioned and enacted the New Deal–except that he refused to implement the program at the necessary scale. To use a pharmacological metaphor, Hoover prescribed the correct medicine, but the wrong dose. And as an good apothecary will tell you, it’s the dose that makes the poison.

  19. Timo

    Maybe that was a little bit too harsh but the truth is why would we actually want to have any kind of “solution” at G20 meeting?

    The only kind of a solution that American big corporations would accept (=owners of US government by now) would be planetwide fleecing of taxpayers all around for the benefit of the Wall Street and other “masters of universe” bastards.

    Obama administration DID NOT DO THE RIGHT THING in the first place with Wall Street, meaning putting those crooks in jail, nationalizing the biggest banks and giving the finger to the shareholders of those firms.

    Now it is wide open US Treasury looting season going on by the Wall Street firms and still most economists are talking about some clean economic “solution”?! Like living in a vacuum…

  20. charie

    I like the Obama as Hoover meme just because I’ve been saying it. But let’s be honest: this historical comparisons are as useful as astrological advice. Washington pundits use them because astrologers are hard to find and historians are a dime a dozen. But they are not useful for analytical tools. Yes, Hoover got a bum rap. Maybe in 4 more years his stimulus would have worked. But FDR saw the problem really was fear, which Obama has NOT been able to address. His team’s thinking is probably is six months we realize Great Depression 2.0 can be solved with minor inflation and destruction of a domestic car industry. No great loss.

  21. jm

    The problem is not fear — it is that massive amounts of money have been lent to people and firms which will never be able to pay it back. All the action now is maneuvering to determine from whose net worths the losses will be subtracted.

    There will be no recovery until that dance ends.

  22. Anonymous

    This post is a needless deflection as the global societal resource and population pressures in the two time frames make any comparison impossible.
    A better comparison and title might be;

    “Obama as Carlo Ponzi” or;
    “Obama as Howdy Doody” or;
    “Just another gangster puppet”.

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

    i on the ball patriot

  23. Anonymous

    If I recall correctly, WW1 had just ended and the debt associated with the war was due leaving an opening for the creation of a new banking system called the Federal Reserve as the reserve currency shifted from England to the US, still banks were loath to lend to each other.

    Debt again caused banking problems where the government tried to replace the consumers to jump start the economy.

    Didn’t work then, won’t work this time around but the opportunity to induce another banking system will emerge.

    Didn’t work then, won’t work now and the debt outstanding is larger in scale on a worldwide basis.

    Ten to twenty years sounds like a good timetable to bring debt under control lacking another war or wars to shift debt around.

  24. Lord

    We shall see how much is in the control of policy. Did the recession end with Hoover because its time was over or due to FDRs policies? Hoover was progressive but totally failed to address the financial system so he did in fact follow Mellon’s advice which is how he became a do-nothing. He just didn’t know what else to do and what he did often ended up doing the wrong thing from tariffs to taxes. Hoovers problems were not of his making but his actions didn’t help and often hurt. We are not repeating his mistakes, neither his errors or omissions, but that may still not be sufficient to turn things around. It is possible it will not be enough, just as it is possible nothing would be enough.

  25. AP

    James B:

    ‘But let’s not kid ourselves that any of the other candidates would be doing something that would allow us to avoid depression. That just ain’t possible.’

    Were you aware of Ron Paul’s platform? The guy is a hick, don’t get me wrong, but he was the only one making any financial sense whatsoever. Americans will pay for their financial ignorance to a tune that remains to be seen.

  26. Anonymous

    The sniping at the “right-wing” for raising these comparisons is remarkably irrelevant. The fact is that the Titanic is sinking whether Obama is Hoover, FDR, Stalin, Mao, whoever you want to compare him to. The last lifeboat has departed, if you were on it great but you’ll still have to watch the ship go down.

  27. Michael Fiorillo

    With the exception of his vote for the first bailout, Obama should not be directly blamed for this catastrophe; it is the product of more than a generation of deindustrialization, deregulation and over-financialization of the economy, starting with the “banker’s coup” in NYC in 1975, which signified the effective end of the New Deal and any attempts to create a US welfare state. This process was then further institutionalized by Proposition 13 in California – which by the way destroyed public education there, something that the teacher’s unions have been blamed for – and then the election of Ronald Reagan. We all know what has followed since.

    However, Obama should be held to account for his choices since his election, and the choice of Summers and Geithner bodes ill for all but the favored few. He is now in the unsavory position, a la Hoover, of predicting how prosperity is around the corner.

    From the beginning of his electoral career, Obama has been a captive, willing or not, of FIRE. Just look at his campaign contributors list, infested as it is with private equity and hedge fund privateers.

    As I’ve said in this space before, Obama’s tragedy is that, unlike Roosevelt, he has not come on stage at the nadir of the crisis, but early enough to take the brunt of criticism for it, even though it was not really of his making.

    Also, unlike Roosevelt, he does not have the temperment, courage or ruling class membership that would allow him to demand that the money changers be driven from the temple. We may see him mouth some of that rhetoric later, but if so it will only be because of politial desperation.

    Husband your resources, and fear for the republic. And fight for it against the privateers.

  28. Edward Harrison

    Regarding the Obama as Hoover thesis, I am not making any particular statement regarding Obama, Hoover or Roosevelt and the efficacy of their approaches. What I am trying to do is remind people that Roosevelt faced a completely different set of challenges than Obama.

    Arguably, Hoover faced similar challenges: deflationary threat, rising unemployment, lack of international agreement, all within a relatively globalized economy.

    In my view, focus on FDR is misplaced and will lead to policy mistakes because FDR had the benefit of an expansion which Hoover did not an which Obama does not.

    As far as Europeans burying their heads in the sand goes, I am also not making any statements regarding pro-stimulus Keynesianism. I AM suggesting that the European banking sector is considerably worse than the Europeans want to believe. The Germans, in particular, have dragged their feet on dealing constructively with this. HSH Nordbanken and HRE are the tip of the iceberg. In my view, Europe’s banks are likely to get worse before they get better, even in Germany where no housing bubble was apparent.

  29. Anonymous

    I really do not get the search for parallels to and direct answers from The Great Depression (TGD). They are similar in that TGD was really bad and so is the current situation; however, there are also vast differences (e.g., systemic controls, we were a creditor nation during TGD and now are a debtor nation, communications and data processing are completely different, etc.).

    Even if you buy into the correlation between now and TGD, there are no clear answers provided by TGD. TGD was ended by WW2. Unless we are going to start WW3, TGD does not provide a clear path to recovery.

    Perhaps if you make a detailed and precise study of the timing and size of Hoover’s stimuli, there may be something to glean from the comparison; however, saying Obama = Hoover because of the timing of his presidency is meaningless. I strongly suspect that the inflation-adjusted level of the current stimulus is more on the order of the New Deal than Hoover’s stimuli.

    In addition, characterizing any presidency by the first 70 days is ridiculous.

    As for those who wish to characterize Obama as a socialist or communist, you can place him next to comrade Bush. The first of the bailouts (and the development of the problem) occured in Bush’s watch. And guess what, intervention was and is necessary — the system is broken.

    — Crowman

  30. Anonymous

    I agree with Marin Belge and I’m not European.

    The U.S. needs to stop picking on the Europeans. The U.S. and U.K. created the problems, and even corrupted the odd European country (Iceland? Ireland? Spain?), and should bear the brunt of the burdens now.

  31. Anonymous

    I think the Hoover and FDR comments are an overall waste of time. “The only way you could know that is to have the same baby all over again.” was one of the comments made to new mothers.

    George W Bush and dimwit US Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, Mitch McConnell’s wife, missed the basic monthly jobs creation requirement for 8 years of Republican tax cuts. Elaine Chao’s name rarely, if ever, appeared with the monthly jobs creation report.

    In the US, it takes the creation of 100K-130K new jobs created PER MONTH just to absorb new US graduates into the workforce. The two Republican morons rarely, if ever, met that target.

    I’ve already posted here that in the fall of 2003, on one day, Alan Greenspan was quoted on the CNNFN web site saying that offshoring would prove to be a disaster for American families. I have never see that quote again, certainly not in Age of Turbulence. No Hoover or FDR comparisons are germane.

  32. Purple

    Some of you are nuts. The economy grew under FDR, in both GDP and employment. That why he won some 400 + electoral votes in 1936. Just get over it.

  33. Bruce Wilder

    Recessions are business contractions.

    Depressions are periods of very high unemployment.

    NBER does not date “depressions” per se.

    Recessions and depressions, conceptually, belong to different categories.

    The Great Depression started with the deflationary spiral, which formed the core of the recession of 1928-1932. The period of the Great Depression extended from the stock market crashes of October 1929 through the remainder of Hoover’s term and both of Roosevelt’s first two terms.

    There was a substantial business expansion in Roosevelt’s first term, but it was not sufficient to end the Great Depression.

  34. Anonymous

    I voted for Mr. Obama.. but I will not be making that mistake 4 years from now..

    he lost all my respect as soon as he brought in the same a-holes who were responsible for this mess right back into the Treasury.

    this was Larry Summers (proponent for repealing the Glass-Steagall)in 1999:
    “Today Congress voted to update the rules that have governed financial services since the Great Depression and replace them with a system for the 21st century,” Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers said. ”This historic legislation will better enable American companies to compete in the new economy.”

    the whole Rubin cabal is back in.. what a farce!

    Obama is nothing but a clown.. no experience except the slogan he borrowed from his the prime minister of Kenyan, his cousin.

    I had such high hope for Obama, now he is nothing but a politican…has the 3 stooges running the treasury.. and ruining this country at even faster pace than Bush.

    and now Obama is showing his socialist side more and more..

  35. Edwardo

    Depressions are fundamentally different animals than recessions. Depressions involve grave problems with the agents and conduits of capital formation and feature, among other things, massive contractions in business activity. Depressions almost always feature, as a precursor, major technological change that leads to massive upheavals in the labor force. Recessions are a mere slowing in growth even during severe example of the breed. I could go on, but I might need a small grant from The Ford Foundation.

    But seriously, and though I agree with the commentator who made the valid point that these comparisons are a distraction, Obama has more than a little Jimmy Carter in him from where I sit.

    Carter we will recall was another bright man who seemed to be out of his depth. And if memory serves I recall that Carter the engineer was often compared to Hoover the engineer.

    Whoever made the point about the origin of much of the New Deal being with Hoover is on the right track. Actually, a man named Norman Thomas was the real father of the New Deal. But I digress. Our entire political realm is captured by the FIRE industry and Obama is hardly an exception. As a result of his capture, his presidency, and more importantly the nation’s fate, is hanging in the balance, and unless Mr. Obama has a real epiphany, and soon, his Presidency will be a rank failure.

  36. bg

    Bush and Obama are both dough-faces. They both appear populist, but both are captive to wall street.

    I nominate Obama as Buchanan, not Hoover. Appeasement of evil has seen worse outcomes than Hoover.

    It makes me wish for the good old days of tippecanoe and tyler too.

  37. bg

    “Hoover prescribed the correct medicine”

    It is true that Hoover was a progressive, but several of the great blunders of all time occured under his watch: massive tax increases, protectionism and tight monetry policy. The economy siezed up. FDR admittedly did more of the same, but Hoover was on the job when the train wrecked.

    I am not an FDR fan, but lets keep the facts straight.

  38. datadave

    Thx for pointing out the historic analogy. I agree. I thought this is more like 1930 as the Wall Street crash of ’29 was more like what we had last fall. So this depression is going to follow a longer path than Obama’s Treasury fellows might think.

    I cross my fingers hoping this is all wrong. I like Obama…but then I think Hoover was a great guy too who got a bad rap. FDR actually ran to the right of hoover in the ’32 election promising a balanced budget and all and attacking ‘welfare’ but then saw the light after he became president maybe with his wife’s help.

    The biggest worry is what the Ultra right will make of our crisis. With their guns and all. But Glenn Beck should be really ashamed of drumming up gun stocks. (rgr and swhc did very well.) I feel similar feelings for Larry Summers whose arrogance seems never ending.

  39. Anonymous

    “The biggest worry is what the Ultra right will make of our crisis.”

    with all due respect.. we only have one political party in this country.. oh yes.. they use abortion, and gay marriages as wedge issues.. but in reality they both answer to the same corrupt masters of wall st.

    I am as liberal as they come, but I am only liberal when it comes to social issues (I am a strong fiscal conservative), and I regret that now I did not vote for Sarah Palin.

    Even though socially, I disagree with her on many issues, I actually went back and did my own research on her record, and saw she actually broke up the oil monopolies (very similar to the wall st monopolies) in Alaska. She didn’t interject her own social views onto the constituents.

    I was a staunch staunch dem. and now I realise the Bush Derangement syndrome made people like me vote for change, any change, but never looked into what this change was..and I regret my vote for Obama, deeply regret it.

    I have reregistered as an independent, and just as some humble advise, do your own research on people, not what the media tells you. People want centerist.. they don’t want right wing nuts.. but nor do they want left wing nuts.

    Obama as Hoover? oh yes..

    thank you to the author of this post, it was a very interesting piece.

  40. Edwardo

    Someone wrote:

    “I am as liberal as they come, but I am only liberal when it comes to social issues (I am a strong fiscal conservative), and I regret that now I did not vote for Sarah Palin.”

    As Liberal as they come? On what planet outside of this galaxy are you as liberal as they come? Liberals who don’t want to pay for any social programs aren’t worth much if anything.

    As for your wish to have voted for Sarah “The Whore of Babylon” Palin, two things: A.) McCain was the nominee.

    B.) TWOB is a mountebank and an imbecile, and if you think she is even remotely up to the job you are deluded.

  41. Anonymous

    “Sarah “The Whore of Babylon” Palin”

    thank you for showing me how ignorant and intolerant americans really are.

  42. ndk

    As Liberal as they come? On what planet outside of this galaxy are you as liberal as they come? Liberals who don’t want to pay for any social programs aren’t worth much if anything.

    Classical liberalism is very different from social liberalism, just as modern conservativism has gone through many definitions as well. I think you’re just talking past each other, and I’d encourage you to be civil about it.

    with all due respect.. we only have one political party in this country.. oh yes.. they use abortion, and gay marriages as wedge issues.. but in reality they both answer to the same corrupt masters of wall st.

    Gotta agree here, though I think Wall Street per se is far too narrow a definition. It’s why I don’t really care about politics anymore: learned helplessness.

  43. K Ackermann

    So far as I know, Obama hasn’t even started a construction project yet.

    You have to admit, that was one hell of a dam Hoover built.

    If Obama wants to be a great president, he should drive through the Lincoln tunnel, over the GW bridge, and sit in the parking lot of the Kennedy airport and contemplate what he is going to build.

    I thought of a project that he can build, and it involves a high-speed train that has a unique feature; from every passenger’s own reference frame, the train goes full speed, non-stop until the passenger’s destination.

  44. marquis de babylon

    to me, sarah palin is the political lovechild of chauncey gardner & the sharon stone character in basic instinct.

    and in retrospect, probably what this current situation needed more than anything, a nice giant strap-on lubed up with a tube of feigned ignorance.

    plus, an opportunity to more quickly & abrasively pull the curtain back for the prole…instead of another endless go around on the yellow brick road.

    and yo, eduardo, 2:1 says ol' johnny boy wouldn't have lasted 3 months in the oval without a croak from the frog glands.

    and why does a whore have to always be a woman?

    doddy boy blows up that metaphor all to hell.

    sounds like you need a session with Madame Palin.

  45. wsboros

    “I thought of a project that he can build, and it involves a high-speed train that has a unique feature; from every passenger’s own reference frame, the train goes full speed, non-stop until the passenger’s destination.”

    one time eye said something to a similar effect —

    “as we more closely approach the speed of light, the more we can only see ourselves.”

    or something like that

  46. bg

    Anon 10PM,

    “how ignorant and intolerant americans really are.”

    Why did you conclude Eduardo was American? I thought he was merely ignorant and intolerant. You, however must be…

  47. Vincetastic

    Edward, this is a wonderful post. I think Barack is doing a pretty decent job and has taken many steps to show that he is serious about eliciting change in the Executive Office. I think that there are still a lot of challenges, and you can expect that it will not always be easy and that he ill have to make many tough and unpopular decisions. People might enjoy this list of the top ten signs the president’s gig is harder than you thought: http://www.toptentopten.com/topten/signs+president+gig+is+harder+than+you+thought

  48. Anonymous

    Conventional wisdom is incorrect on Hoover and I agree that Obama has much in common with him. Hoover was certainly not laissez-faire and embarked on a huge expansion of government intervention into the economy – it made matters much worse.

    I very much recommend “America’s Great Depression” by Murray Rothbard. It takes an Austrian view of the GD and I have become convinced of its veracity.

  49. Mark

    Loved the Andrew Jackson quote. Perhaps now is the time we start paying a little more attention to the last President to pay off the national debt!

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