FDR Did Not Fix The Economy, Herbert Hoover Was No Conservative

FDR Did Not Fix The Economy, Herbert Hoover Was No Conservative

By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist
Reprinted from February 18, 2009 Current Newspapers of Atlantic County

“He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future.”?

—George Orwell


For many years, America’s present has been controlled by folks who either despise and ridicule the basic ideas and culture of American liberty – or are too clueless to defend them. They control all three branches of the federal government and most state and local governments. They decide what is taught in most public schools and colleges. Their views dominate the “news” on our TV networks and in most daily newspapers. Their agendas are portrayed favorably in Hollywood movies and TV programs.

That is why most Americans believe that Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal saved America from the Great Depression of the 1930’s. That is why they support even more of the “stimulus” programs that have already broken the back of our economy, and robbed our children of the liberty and prosperity our parents gave us.

Here are some inconvenient truths about the past that are ignored by those who control the present:

Herbert Hoover, the Republican president who started the 1929 Depression was no conservative. He denounced free markets, and the idea of limited, Constitutional government. Republican Hoover thought government should aggressively manage and control every part of the economy. He pushed through new laws to “help” American businesses and labor unions. But his programs made American consumers pay higher prices for everything. Republican Hoover raised tariffs (taxes on goods from other countries), and subsidized and regulated farmers. Hoover created dozens of expensive new agencies to make and enforce new rules and build expensive projects like the Hoover Dam. And he increased taxes and debt to record levels to pay for all this.

Republican Hoover by 1932 had taxed the highest incomes at 63%, doubled the estate tax, raised corporate taxes by 15% and even imposed a new federal tax on every check written in the country! By 1932, Republican Hoover had increased the federal government debt to 40% of the gross domestic product! (Just as Republican Bush increased the federal debt to 70% of GDP before Obama’s “stimulus.”)

Everything Republican Hoover did to “fix” the economy with government action backfired. His high tariffs crippled foreign trade and hurt American factories and farmers. His high taxes on income got people to seek lesser taxed capital gains in the stock market. Hoover also spent a fortune on his “War on Liquor,” which only increased organized crime.

Calvin Coolidge, the previous Republican president, ridiculed Hoover as “Wonder Boy,” and said of him: “That man has offered me unsolicited advice for six years, all of it bad.”

Although conservative Republicans were fed up with Hoover’s big government programs to “fix” the economy, Democrat Roosevelt increased and expanded them. America’s biggest economic collapse in the Great Depression took place in 1937, four years after Roosevelt’s New Deal.

Ironically, America did not start to come out of the Great Depression until most Americans turned against many of Roosevelt’s programs.

In 1936, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that many of Roosevelt’s actions violated the Constitution. Others were barely upheld with narrow 5-4 decisions. When Roosevelt was elected later by an even bigger margin that November, he made even bigger plans for government to “fix” the economy.

But first, Roosevelt needed to “fix” the U.S. Supreme Court. In February of 1937, Roosevelt proposed a “Judiciary Reorganization Bill” to let Roosevelt immediately add six new justices to the Supreme Court. They would read the Constitution his way.

But the American people turned against Roosevelt. Congressmen were flooded with letters opposing the plan nine-to-one. Lawyers around the country, including many Roosevelt supporters and his own Vice-President, spoke against the measure. Newspaper publisher Frank E. Gannett formed the “National Committee to Uphold Constitutional Government” which sent out 15 million letters against the plan.

But Roosevelt was sure he could overcome this opposition with a radio appeal to the American people. On March 9, 1937, Roosevelt gave his ninth “Fireside Chat.” In it, Roosevelt urged support for his plan and said:

“I hope that you have re-read the Constitution of the United States in these past few weeks. Like the Bible, it ought to be read again and again.”


Apparently, most Americans did that. Then they continued to oppose Roosevelt’s court-packing plan. Roosevelt lost so much political support in this battle, that he did not come up with any more big programs to “fix” the economy. But that was OK. During the next five years, the American economy fixed itself.

For more information, visit www.libertyandprosperity.org or contact Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman at grossman@snip.net or 609-927-7333. Seth Grossman hosts a two way talk radio program every Saturday from 8am – 9am on WVLT Vineland, 92.1 FM.

  • Seth Grossman

    Seth Grossman is executive director of Liberty And Prosperity, which he co-founded in 2003. It promotes American liberty and limited constitutional government through weekly radio and in-person discussions, its website, email newsletters and various events. Seth Grossman is also a general practice lawyer.

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