Posted on March 16, 2009
Should the country plunge into another Great Depression, many pundits will seek to pin the Herbert Hoover label on George Bush.
President Obama has stoked those flames, by unconsciously (or consciously) comparing himself to Franklin Roosevelt.
But the perception that Hoover did nothing and Roosevelt did everything is simply not true.
In fact, there was a Hoover-FDR continuum on economic policy that made the situation worse. Hoover was FDR before FDR was FDR.
And Obama might be more Hoover than FDR.
It was Hoover repeatedly called for massive public works projects. He also badgered States to do so.
It was Hoover repeatedly brought in business leaders to ask them to keep wages high and take major profit hits.
It was Hoover who called for a shorter work week.
It was Hoover who signed the Smoot Hawley trade protectionist bill.
It was Hoover who sharply raised raised taxes on upper income earners, the top rate went from 25% to 63%.
All of these things seemed perfectly rational at the time, and none of them kept us out of the Great Depression.
President Obama is not channeling FDR or Lincoln. He is channeling Herbert Hoover. No wonder his approval ratings are sinking fast.