Rep. Michele Bachmann explains to her Minnesota constituents about the historical failures of massive government spending, asking why the Obama administration wants to party like it’s 1929. She points out that both Herbert Hoover and FDR tried the same kind of so-called “stimulus” spending and it led to unprecedented debt and government bureaucracy. Even FDR’s Treasury Secretary admitted it was a failure:
The stock market collapse of 1929 brought a crashing halt to the Roaring Twenties. But President Herbert Hoover’s response to the economic crisis ensured that it became a genuine catastrophe. Contrary to popular perception, Hoover did not respond to the downturn with inaction or indifference — rather, he pursued a series of misguided big-government adventures that lengthened and deepened our economic woes.
Hoover not only dramatically hiked income and import taxes, but he instituted big-government spending programs all but identical to those being debated today. Hoover’s Reconstruction Finance Corporation tried to ease economic pain by funneling tax money to state governments, local governments, banks and a variety of businesses. His Federal Home Loan Bank Act extended loans in an effort to increase low-income housing — beginning the ill-fated history of federal intervention in the housing market.
These measures proved a dismal failure, and things got only worse. In the 1932 campaign, Franklin Roosevelt actually attacked Hoover for his big-government policies, decrying Hoover’s presidency as “the greatest spending administration in peacetime in all of history.”
Yet, once elected, Roosevelt not only maintained Hoover’s programs, he used them as a foundation for his titanic New Deal expenditures. He even expanded Hoover’s failed housing program and launched the now-infamous mortgage giant Fannie Mae. And even in the face of a staggering 25 percent unemployment, FDR held fast to the big-government philosophy — jobs programs, handouts, tax hikes — and, as a result, presided over a decade of economic misery.
FDR’s own treasury secretary, Henry Morgenthau, had to admit as much in 1939: “We are spending more than we have ever spent before, and it does not work. … We have never made good on our promises. I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started. And an enormous debt to boot!”
Bachmann wrote an excellent column, but the comments are even more entertaining. Instead of attacking Bachmann’s arguments, the Strib commenters instead attack Michele. One commenter finally noted that
As usual when reading reader comments I’m not sure whether to be entertained or saddened. Liberal retorts to conservative views are so predictable. They most often: – Present ad hominem attacks on the author, not the ideas – Mention some vague notion of Bush’s failed policies – Are emotional rather than logical – Fail to present any evidence to the contrary – Inject homosexuality into the argument – Inject racism into the argument – Blah blah blah. This stuff is better than the Enquirer.
No one really wants to address Bachmann’s points, mostly because they’re unassailable. Despite all of the capital confiscation and massive government spending on public works and entitlements, unemployment hardly budged during the entire decade. It remained above 20%, and just when it started to drop, FDR rolled out the second phase of the New Deal and unemployment shot back up. It only dropped when America went to war and a big percentage of its work force got mobilized into the military.
Instead of learning from history, Bachmann aptly notes, the Obama administration wants to party like it’s 1929, with protectionism, expanded government bureaucracies, and capital confiscation at a time when we need it in the private market to create jobs. Happy Days Are Here Again. Get ready for the bread (lines) and circuses, because eventually the Obama administration will have to avoid the pitchforks and torches.