Obamateurism of the Day

posted at 8:05 am on July 28, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

As promised earlier this week, I’m adding the FDR quote to the OOTD canon, mainly because I still can’t quite believe that Barack Obama seriously thought he could sell the idea that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a fiscal conservative:

… FDR comes in, he tries all these things with the New Deal. But FDR, contrary to myth, was pretty fiscally conservative. And so, after the initial efforts of the New Deal and it looked like the economy was growing again, FDR then presented a very severe austerity budget. And suddenly, in 1937, the economy started going down again. And, ultimately, what really pulled America out of the Great Depression was World War II.

First, Obama frames this answer by saying, “For those of you who have studied economic history and the Great Depression…” Well, those who have studied it would know better than to assert that the US economy was “growing again” in any meaningful sense in 1937.    It had finally returned to 1929 levels in terms of GDP, but unemployment was still around 14.3%, down from 25% at its peak but still almost triple the 5% range of the decade before the Depression.  Federal spending was still on its way to doubling by 1939, and the Fed actions to tighten the money supply is a better culprit for the dropoff in economic activity in 1937.

Besides, how much was actually cut, and when?  Here is the budget series for 1933-39:

  • 1933 – $4.598 billion
  • 1934 – $6.541 billion
  • 1935 – $6.412 billion
  • 1936 – $8.228 billion
  • 1937 – $7.580 billion
  • 1938 – $6.840 billion
  • 1939 – $9.141 billion

The much-maligned 1937 budget was 18% higher than the 1935 budget.  The 1938 budget was 6.6% higher than the 1935 budget.  When shown in the series, it hardly qualifies as an “austerity” budget.  Even the 1938 budget was 48.8% higher than the 1933 budget in place when FDR took office.  And when FDR boosted spending from 1938 to 1939 by 33.6%, unemployment barely budged, staying above 15%.  It didn’t decline until 1940 (the ’40 budget only increased 3.6% over ’39) and didn’t fall significantly until 1941, while Lend-Lease got American war production in gear before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Perhaps Obama should study some economic history himself.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at obamaisms@edmorrissey.com with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

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Odamna: Don’t try to undermine my fictitious history lesson by quoting actual facts. It tends to reduce my credibility.

Crusader Rabbit on July 28, 2011 at 8:09 AM

FDR was economically destructive to this country…

OmahaConservative on July 28, 2011 at 8:10 AM

There’s no time to study history when you’re making history. I won! /BHO

Yoop on July 28, 2011 at 8:10 AM

Obama didn’t attend US schools in his formative years so he is totally clueless about US History.

karenhasfreedom on July 28, 2011 at 8:11 AM

karenhasfreedom on July 28, 2011 at 8:11 AM

Great point. One we need to always remember…

OmahaConservative on July 28, 2011 at 8:13 AM

Too bad only a conservative blogger points this kind of thing out. Governing compentence is entirely irrelevant as far as liberals and the media are concerned. For them, the are two litmus tests: support for abortion on demand and support for marriage licenses for two guys who enjoy tailgunning. It’s unbelievable that those two issues make up for so much stupidity and incompetence.

BuckeyeSam on July 28, 2011 at 8:14 AM

wasn’t FDR too busy giving his Television addresses to be bothered with actual budgets? Katie?? Oh Katie?? where is our favorite Colonsocopy Journalist??? Oh that’s right, she is escorting the Palin research team digging through the landfil in Wasilla!

SDarchitect on July 28, 2011 at 8:16 AM

Look at the crowd, you could use them as extras in “The Walking Dead”; they don’t care, don’t know, are absent reason and logic and intellect.

Vacant eyes, vacant smiles….*shudder*

Bishop on July 28, 2011 at 8:16 AM

Obama didn’t attend US schools in his formative years so he is totally clueless about US History.

karenhasfreedom on July 28, 2011 at 8:11 AM

Fixed

JimK on July 28, 2011 at 8:16 AM

It’s true. Biden watched him on television! ROFL.

kingsjester on July 28, 2011 at 8:16 AM

But FDR, contrary to myth,

So, what is the myth? Isn’t the cliche’ “contrary to popular belief or conventional wisdom“? I think the myth is that FDR was a fiscal conservative as Mr. Obama is stating.

ted c on July 28, 2011 at 8:17 AM

By this time next year Reagan will have been a liberal, Truman was right to drop the A-bombs, and PBHO will claim he is a direct descendant of Abraham Lincoln. Desperate times will breed desperate lies.

Bishop on July 28, 2011 at 8:21 AM

Professor Bull Hockey

golfmann on July 28, 2011 at 8:21 AM

My favorite fiscally conservative idea of FDR’s was; Changing Thanksgiving from the final Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday. Giving people an extra week for their Christmas shopping, thus stimulating the economy. When I get to hell, I’m gonna ask him how he thought that went.

Tommy_G on July 28, 2011 at 8:21 AM

“But FDR, contrary to myth, was pretty fiscally conservative.”

Preposterous. He thinks he can say whatever he wants to get his desired effect, with veracity having only incidental value. He thinks no one will effectively challenge him and he knows the LSM will cover for him. He disdainfully plays us for fools, and imagines we are dim witted enough to swallow his crap.

petefrt on July 28, 2011 at 8:22 AM

In Obama’s defense, the 1933 budget was only 1/1000th of what Obama has been spending each year.

forest on July 28, 2011 at 8:25 AM

Obama is so brilliant. Didn’t he once say that if you can’t afford a tank of gas, you should buy a new car. They’re are so many great financing deals out there and all.

This is the guy I want to learn about economics from. Whether he studied history or not!

kringeesmom on July 28, 2011 at 8:26 AM

I still can’t quite believe that Barack Obama seriously thought he could sell the idea that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a fiscal conservative

Look at his audience; do any of them know (or care) who FDR was??

sloopy on July 28, 2011 at 8:30 AM

My box of rocks is stunned that they are considered dumb.

darwin-t on July 28, 2011 at 8:33 AM

Look at his audience; do any of them know (or care) who FDR was??

sloopy on July 28, 2011 at 8:30 AM

At least Slow Joe knows all about him. FDR was the president that went on TV after the stock market crash in 1929.

forest on July 28, 2011 at 8:37 AM

If FDR is a fiscal conservative in Obama’s mind then what does that say about how far left Obama is?

gwelf on July 28, 2011 at 8:42 AM

Okay, let’s talk FDR:

Inaugurated on 3/4/33, five days after the Reichstag fire.

The day after the Inauguration was the last multi-party election in Germany before the end of World War II. While the Bank Holiday was going on in the United States, and the Emergency Banking Act was worked on, the NSDAP was working on the Enabling Act.

By the end of FDR’s 100 Days, the Nazis were dissolving and outlawing other political parties. In October of 1933, Nazi Germany left the League of Nations, and other European nations were beginning to re-arm. In April of 1935, the Germans were launching U-Boats. That’s a lot of puckering bungholes all over Europe before the first official shots of WWII were fired in September 1939, and a lot of that fighting was happening for a little over 2 years when Pearl Harbor happened. Before Pearl Harbor, that was a lot of American workers needed to make canned food, tent canvas, and sheet metal. And needed at whatever price FDR was making them pay for the labor.

They don’t teach this in American history classes. They teach the Depression and New Deal in one unit, and the road to World War II in another unit. They were one and the same. The New Deal was not a Keynesian economic miracle. It merely took the credit for an economy growing in advance of a major war.

Sekhmet on July 28, 2011 at 8:43 AM

The logical conclusion of the Leftist ideology is that their Utopia will only arrive after 100% full employment via unchecked, perpetually increasing government spending & social experiments.

There is little fundamental difference between public ownership of industry and public control of industry.

And yet, not even a 100% taxation rate would bring their Utopia to fruition.

Economic illiteracy is the foundation of Modern Liberalism.

visions on July 28, 2011 at 8:45 AM

I wonder if FDR would call Obama’s bluff.

RDE2010 on July 28, 2011 at 8:48 AM

57 State post turtle Obama does it again.

Who writes this Obama crap history? His illiterate wife?

tarpon on July 28, 2011 at 8:50 AM

visions … Watch Obama’s perfect world in the movie Animal Farm. Might help understand the fools world.

tarpon on July 28, 2011 at 8:53 AM

Vacant eyes, vacant smiles….*shudder*

Bishop on July 28, 2011 at 8:16 AM

“I don’t care. Obama is awesome.”

ladyingray on July 28, 2011 at 8:54 AM

“Stand up, Franklin, let ‘em see ya.” ~ Joe Biden

Fallon on July 28, 2011 at 8:54 AM

Obama didn’t attend US schools in his formative years so he is totally clueless about US History.

karenhasfreedom on July 28, 2011 at 8:11 AM

I think you have an overly optimistic view of the quality of history teaching in American schools. American students are largely clueless about US history.

gwelf on July 28, 2011 at 9:12 AM

Looking forward to the upcoming betrayal

True_King on July 28, 2011 at 9:13 AM

Perhaps Obama should study some economic history himself.

Oh c’mon…he’s got a golf game somewhere to play…and a vacation to pack for. pffffffffft.

Seriously….he probably already knows this, but counts on the ignorance of his hand picked audience.

As for the golf…does anyone wonder if those he plays golf with, are backing off, and letting him win? It seems to me, everyone treats him like that special child they have to prop up, and do for, because they know he/she will never be able to do it for themselves. They’re enablers.

capejasmine on July 28, 2011 at 9:29 AM

Crusader Rabbit on July 28, 2011 at 8:09 AM

Credibility???? Ha

antisocial on July 28, 2011 at 9:33 AM

Speaking of “television” addresses, when will we be favored with a “fireside” chat by Barry, complete with a sweater, just like Carter did in ’77? Although I guess it would be a little more “authentic” for Barry to wear a hoodie . . . maybe with a little bling and throwing some gang signs as a sop to his base.

tpitman on July 28, 2011 at 9:34 AM

Economic illiteracy is the foundation of Modern Liberalism.

visions on July 28, 2011 at 8:45 AM

As is historic illiteracy;
as is scientific illiteracy;
as is cultural illiteracy;
as is geographic illiteracy;
as is religious illiteracy;
as is…

(feel free to enlarge the list)

ss396 on July 28, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Note to President Crybaby:

“Making History” isn’t the same thing as “Making Up History”

A little too nuanced for you , Champ?

VelvetElvis on July 28, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Perhaps Obama should study some economic history himself.

No need for that. Barry just makes it up as he goes along.

GarandFan on July 28, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Look at the crowd, you could use them as extras in “The Walking Dead”; they don’t care, don’t know, are absent reason and logic and intellect.

Vacant eyes, vacant smiles….*shudder*

Bishop on July 28, 2011 at 8:16 AM

But ask them to name the last winner of American Idol, or sing all the words to their favorite rap star’s song, and they’ve got it covered.

FDR? Who dat?

Idiot mouth breathers.

GrannyDee on July 28, 2011 at 11:14 AM

“I just say it and it becomes true!”

Caper29 on July 28, 2011 at 11:25 AM

Obama didn’t attend US schools in his formative years so he is totally clueless about US History.

karenhasfreedom on July 28, 2011 at 8:11 AM

Exactly. I also have serious doubts about what he learned if anything at the touchy-feely prog school he attended in Hawaii. He might excel at basket-weaving and glass-blowing for all we know, but he sure as h doesn’t know arithmetic or history or economics.

slickwillie2001 on July 28, 2011 at 11:33 AM

Roosevelt was “pretty fiscally conservative” as compared to Obama – since the Obama reign is now the reference point for all that was and all that will be.

Sowell Disciple on July 28, 2011 at 1:15 PM