I have written several articles on our Presidents and Vice-Presidents. A list of the links have been provided at the bottom of this article for your convenience. This article will, however address additional Presidents and their places in history.
Biden opened up this can of worms, by comparing himself to FDR. In previous articles I have written about our presidents. When I first started working on this blog I made the statement that I would let the facts lead the path of the narrative. I would not allow past preconceptions taint the path and the destination of these articles. While I might start out trying to prove a preconceived supposition, if the facts prove otherwise, I will go down that new path. I also on a regular basis upgrade many of my postings as new information becomes available. This is especially true in my articles on the COVID-19 Pandemic. As I stated I have written several articles on our presidents, so many in fact that they now have their own category in my blog. I have written one article in particular where I compare and rate all the presidents. Since its first inception and than completion I have edited it and have altered the ratings on several presidents based again on new information. I am an avid reader, so I never know what I will find out. I am also not too proud to correct mistakes that I have made. So having said that, no president has been affected as much by my research as has FDR. I originally rated him along with the vast majority of American historians, very highly. However his rating have been slipping. He has fallen all the way down to the low end of the list. His rating went from 4.5 stars to 2.5 stars. With the most recent book I am reading on Pearl Harbor, it may even drop more. So this brings me to this article. It is no secret that I am a conservative and a pro Trumper. There is also no love lost with how I feel about Biden. You may also notice that I rarely call him president. That is because I don’t think he is a legitimate president. He only won by thievery and chicanery.
Unless you have been living under a liberal rock, there is no question that the Biden family has been guilty of some highly unethical behavior and finances. However what I did not know previously is that the family of FDR was also guilty of similar behavior. Most of the people in our country today believe that Biden handled the Afghan withdrawal poorly. What most Americans don’t know is how poorly FDR handled WWII. I will discuss this in depth a little later. I am sure that all but the most diehard supporters of Biden will agree that our country is in a much worse place than we were in just a year ago. He has bungled just about everything that he has touched. I know that I am not alone with my supposed knowledge on FDR and the great depression. What is not known by most of us is that his new deal program(s) were a total failure. The only reason that we ever got out of the great depression is due to WWII. Finally I will compare both of their relations with the presidents they followed and how their campaigns were run. Both future leaders used highly unethical practices to attain the highest office.
1933 presidential transition led to a lifelong hatred between Herbert Hoover and FDR
President Donald Trump is the first American leader to leave office with fewer American jobs than when he started four years ago since Herbert Hoover. Iowa’s only native to reach the White House also lost his bid for a second term to Franklin D. Roosevelt. Hoover had genuine hatred for the man taking his job, but that didn’t stop him from playing his role on Inauguration Day.
“He wasn’t happy at the inauguration,” says Matt Schaefer, Archivist at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, “he was the outgoing President, but he wasn’t going to get his knickers in a knot and not show up, that’s just not how he rolled.”
President Hoover lost his reelection bid because he was the man on watch when the Great Depression started in 1929, just a few months into his presidency. He lost to Roosevelt in November 1932, but then, the Inauguration did not take place until March. Hoover wanted Roosevelt to work with him and find common ground so that he could implement some measures to help the American People before Roosevelt began his term. But Roosevelt did not want to tie his political future to a failed president.
“And between November ‘32 and March ‘33 what had been an innate dislike became, for Hoover especially, bitter hatred.” Said Shaefer. Americans also felt that frustration. Those who disagreed with the liberal views of the incoming President feared his proposals such as social security and a minimum wage would lead the country to a socialist future. Just two weeks before he took office, Roosevelt was in Florida for a public event when an unemployed man tried to kill him. Roosevelt escaped injury. But the Mayor of Chicago, also in town for the event, was killed in the attack.
Historians say Hoover did try to put his anger aside, after years of attempting to return to politics and continue his campaign against Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’ programs. During World War II, Hoover reached out to FDR, hoping to help with the crisis in Europe. During World War I, Hoover was lauded for his work to help feed the war-torn continent. But Roosevelt refused his offers. “One of Roosevelt’s aides asked why you aren’t going to take advantage of this? Hoover can help us here. And Roosevelt said ‘I’m not Jesus Christ, I’m not raising that man from the dead.’”
President Roosevelt died, not living to see the end of World War II. His successor, President Harry Truman, did not harbor the hard feelings Roosevelt did for Hoover, and he called upon the former President to use his skills to help Europe rebuild and recover. Hoover went on to define how we think of ex-Presidents in the modern era. Spending his final years working for the public good, until his death at 90 in 1964.
But like Roosevelt, Hoover never gave up his feud with Roosevelt. In his final years, he worked on a massive manuscript, detailing his investigation into how, in his view, President Roosevelt failed the American People and could have preventing war from breaking out around the world. After his death in 1964, Hoover’s family chose not to publish it and dig up old wounds about a President largely hailed as a hero during the Great Depression and World War II.
Disagreement between Roosevelt and Hoover over economic policies
During the transition, Hoover attempted to get Roosevelt to give his endorsement to Hoover’s policies for addressing the ongoing economic depression. Roosevelt refused, having campaigned against Hoover’s approach, promising a “New Deal” if elected Hoover attempted to get Roosevelt to abandon his “New Deal”, which Hoover believed would be catastrophic.
Hoover insisted that an economic recovery was taking place, despite severe rising unemployment and the continued bank failures. However, the following day, Roosevelt made clear that he would not agree to participate in this.
At their November 22 meeting, Roosevelt told Hoover that if he and the lame duck congress would pass a farm bill incorporating Roosevelt’s farm relief ideas, that Roosevelt might be able to avoid needing to call a special session of Congress after his inauguration. While there was much room for the passage of the farm policy Roosevelt was seeking in congress (including among Republicans), Hoover made it clear he would not be willing to sign such legislation.
In December, Hoover attempted to get Roosevelt to participate in the appointing of the delegation that would be sent to the London Economic Conference. Roosevelt did not accept. After this, Hoover made their telegrams discussing this public, and released a White House statement suggesting that Roosevelt found it “undesirable” to engage in joint efforts relating to the economy. Roosevelt responded to this White House statement, by saying “it is a pity” that Hoover was making the suggestion he was opposed to “cooperative action”. The New York Times, at the time, reported that the telegrams Hoover had released revealed a “clash of methods” between the two.
Roosevelt had promised many times that he would pass a balanced budget, but would not pledge to pass new taxes to accomplish this. On February 18, Roosevelt received a letter from Hoover attempting to convince Roosevelt to promise to pass new taxes if needed to accomplish a balanced budget. The letter also urged Roosevelt not to abandon the gold standard. Hoover had been worried since summer 1932 that Roosevelt might do this if he became president (after a Democratic campaign economist warned Hoover that Roosevelt was considering doing so). Roosevelt discussed the letter with his advisors, but sent Hoover no immediate reply. Hoover sent Roosevelt another letter and, on March 1, Roosevelt sent replies to both this and the previous letter, pretending that the late reply to the earlier letter was due to a mistake by a secretary.
The rivalry between Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt followed their original warm friendship during the Wilson years, when Hoover served as the head of the US Food Administration during World War I and FDR was Assistant Secretary of the Navy. FDR was so impressed with Hoover’s humanitarian work that he floated the idea that Hoover, who was nonpartisan at the time, should be considered for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1920. Instead, FDR became the vice presidential nominee, and Hoover went on to be Secretary of Commerce under Republican Presidents Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge, and then the Republican nominee and winner of the presidential election of 1928. With the Great Depression coming on in late 1929, the contrast between Hoover’s laissez-faire policy, and FDR’s “Little New Deal” policies, pursued as the governor of New York, encouraged FDR to challenge Hoover for the Presidency in 1932. After Roosevelt’s a landslide victory, bad blood boiled to the surface. Hoover wanted FDR to support Hoover’s policies during the interim between the November election and the March 4 inauguration; FDR wanted Hoover to allow Roosevelt to lead as unemployment mounted. Hoover refused, and on Inauguration Day kept a sour expression, refusing to communicate with FDR as they traveled by automobile to the inaugural ceremonies.
Hoover became an unrelenting critic of FDR, labeling him as a “Socialist” or a “Communist.” He opposing not only the New Deal, but also FDR’s foreign policy. Hoover was an outspoken isolationist and major speaker for the powerful America First Committee before the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. The two men never spoke to each other over the 12 years of FDR’s presidency, and Hoover was never invited to the White House at any point until FDR’s death.
Now to the 2020 Presidential election.
No mea culpa for all the bad blood, but Trump has bowed to public pressure
Donald Trump’s fate was sealed by mounting legal defeats and the insurmountable margins, not the controversial advocates.
After weeks of crying fraud and refusing to capitulate, Donald Trump got as close as we’ll probably ever see to a concession.
He has effectively surrendered his protest of election results by submitting to the Biden transition. In the end, he bowed to public pressure.
It wasn’t, of course, some magnanimous throwing in of the towel, a mea culpa for all the bad blood. It was never going to be that. But the writing was on the wall. He knows it. Increasingly, even the loyalists know it…increasingly.
What does GSA being allowed to preliminarily work with the Dems have to do with continuing to pursue our various cases on what will go down as the most corrupt election in American political history? We are moving full speed ahead. Will never concede to fake ballots & “Dominion”.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 24, 2020
Perhaps the starkest, most sobering assessment of the political possibility of him snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, came from his once much-beloved Fox News.
The anchor, Laura Ingraham, a great supporter of Mr Trump, told her audience: “Joe Biden will be inaugurated on January 20th… To say this constitutes living in reality. If I told you there was an excellent, phenomenal chance that (the Supreme Court) will step in and deliver a victory to President Trump, I’d be lying to you.”Advertisement
It felt like a line reluctantly drawn in red marker on Mr Trump’s exam paper.
Whatever the president’s public pronouncements about continuing a legal fight, he seems to know the writing is on the wall. And the timing gives us a good indication of that.
He chose to publicly declare he would co-operate with Mr Biden’s team on the same day Michigan became the latest state to certify its results.
And the Supreme Court in Pennsylvania has rejected the latest manoeuvre from the Trump legal team.
Over the weekend, there was clearly trouble brewing in Mr Trump’s conspiracy-laden legal team.
They distanced themselves from Sidney Powell, who took part in their press conference days before and accused China, Venezuela, and Mr Biden of being part of a international plot to steal the election.
Ms Powell was too much, it appeared, even for Rudy Giuliani and Mr Trump. But in the end, it was the mounting legal defeats, the insurmountable margins, not the controversial advocates that sealed Mr Trump’s fate.
By continuing to subvert the vote and delay the handover, Mr Trump risked becoming isolated within his own party as more and more Republicans recognised Mr Biden as president-elect. Yes, he’ll keep fighting some legal battles but to what end?
Now Mr Trump has set in motion a peaceful transfer of power, paving the way for Mr Biden to tap public funds, receive security briefings and gain access to federal agencies.
It is a bit of perfunctory normalcy after weeks, indeed years, of the unorthodox. But fraud may well remain forever on Mr Trump’s lips and on those of many of his supporters. He has sowed the seeds of scepticism and the tree of doubt will take years to uproot.
Mr Trump won’t make this easy. It won’t be a seamless passing of the baton. It will likely be ugly till the end with plenty of bumps along the road for Mr Biden’s team to navigate.
They won’t get unfettered access or help. This wasn’t an outright concession. It’s not a red carpet. It’s not an end to the war. It’s just a little acknowledgement of the inevitable.
A staggering partial list of Democrats’ flagrant corruption in the 2020 election
In state after state, Democrats put the lie to the claim that America had a ‘free and fair’ election last year.
Though Joe Biden was officially sworn in and is already hard at work on a hard-left reset of American society, he isn’t a duly elected president any more than he was last week. Democrats may have gone through the motions, but the inauguration ceremony on Wednesday didn’t do anything to resolve their wide-ranging crimes that corrupted last year’s presidential race.
The Democrats’ 2020 election heist included unlawful mega-grants from Big Tech; extra-statutory, selectively-applied rule changes; and at least one left-wing vote-buying scheme — little of it remedied in court or otherwise.
Most importantly, as the Amistad Project, an election watchdog, unveiled late last year, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, improperly injected $400 million into election processes across the country in 2020, largely benefiting Democrats. Grants in swing states tracked by the Amistad Project went almost exclusively to counties won by Hillary Clinton in 2016.
State and local officials in heavily Democratic cities and counties “contracted with Center for Tech and Civic Life, a nonprofit funded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to make election plans against ones legally provided for by state legislatures under federal statutes,” the Amistad Project said in a report from December.
For example, their report outlines how four Wisconsin cities organized their election processes with the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), devising the “Wisconsin Safe Election Plan” to receive millions in grant money from the nonprofit. This plan “was not authored by the state” and “undermines the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which requires state election plans to be submitted to federal officials and approved,” the Amistad Project noted.
“The provision of Zuckerberg-CTCL funds allowed these Democrat strongholds to spend roughly $47 per voter, compared to $4 to $7 per voter in traditionally Republican areas of the state,” the group continued.
“The disparate impact of Zuckerberg funding is also present in the analysis of CTCL funding in Pennsylvania,” the Amistad Project said. Thanks to CTCL, “'[i]n Democrat Delaware County, Pennsylvania, one drop box was placed every four square miles and for every 4,000 voters. In the 59 counties carried by Trump in 2016, there was one drop box for every 1,100 square miles and every 72,000 voters,” according to the report.
Zuckerberg’s funding further helped swing state Democrats in their quest to override election law through legally unfounded rule-making and voting programs. As the Amistad Project related, CTCL grants “allowed Philadelphia to ‘cure’ absentee ballots in a manner not provided for in Republican areas of the state.”
In October, Pennsylvania’s Trump-hating, Soros-backed secretary of state, Kathryn Boockvar, released guidance claiming that voters with rejected ballots could cast provisional ballots to effectively “cure” their vote. This practice has no reference in Pennsylvania’s election code.
The U.S. Constitution reserves the right to determine “[t]he Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives” to state legislatures and Congress.
Nevertheless, the Department of State later instructed counties multiple times to inspect ballots before the election and to contact voters about flaws. Pennsylvania law allows “the inspection and opening of all envelopes containing official absentee ballots or mail-in ballots” — which the state classifies as “pre-canvassing” — “no earlier than seven o’clock A.M. on election day.”
Boockvar and other top Democrats undermined other statutory election safeguards, like the mail-in ballot deadline and postmark requirement. Local officials broke the law in more basic ways, openly counting and certifying thousands of undated and unsigned ballots, returning void ballots back to voters, and possibly accepting ballots without secrecy envelopes.
In Michigan, Democratic state secretary Jocelyn Benson, another Soros beneficiary, sent out unsolicited ballot applications to all registered voters, though state law requires that absentee ballots be explicitly requested and distributed by clerks. The Michigan Constitution reaffirms the right of the state Legislature over election protocol and highly regulates opportunities for absentee voting.
Benson also created an online registration program, changing statutory signature requirements for applications. Millions of Michigan’s record-breaking, largely pro-Biden, 3.2 million absentee ballots might have been technically invalid as a result of the secretary’s unilateral initiatives.
Election officials in urban counties of neighboring Wisconsin likewise helped voters circumvent ballot safeguards, encouraging them to get around voter ID requirements by declaring themselves “indefinitely confined” due to COVID-19.
After state judges ruled against this strategy, the Wisconsin Election Commission (WEC) impeded clerks from removing suspect “indefinitely confined” ballot requests. Nearly 216,000 Wisconsin voters said they were indefinitely confined in the 2020 election, up 400% since 2016.
The WEC later declined to shut down early voting events hosted by the City of Madison in more than 200 parks weeks before the start of early in-person voting in Wisconsin. The events, called “Democracy in the Park,” were advertised by the Biden campaign.
The commission also refused to follow a court order demanding that they purge 234,000 voters flagged as having left the state and blocked qualified left-wing third-party candidates from getting on the ballot and pulling votes from Democrats.
Everywhere they could, Democrats used their power to taint or distort the 2020 election. Minnesota’s Democratic secretary of state unilaterally extended the deadline for mail-in ballots that was codified into law by the state Legislature. Majority-Democratic election boards changed the statutory ballot deadline in North Carolina and postmark requirements in Virginia.
Democrats sued the Republican secretary of state of Georgia to sign a decree purporting to overhaul signature requirements weeks before the primaries. Again in Pennsylvania, the Democratic governor’s administration tried to cover up evidence of illegal aliens voting ahead of the 2020 election.
In Nevada, an American Indian get-out-the-vote campaign called Native Vote Project sponsored raffles for voters, offering thousands of dollars in gift cards and other prizes. A pro-Biden activist appears to have organized the raffles, in one video offering prizes to voters who sent in pictures of their absentee ballots.
Democrats’ corruption ran even more rampant when they didn’t have to worry about competition. As Republican members the House Oversight committee revealed in December, former California secretary of state and newly appointed U.S. senator Alex Padilla awarded a seemingly illegal multi-million dollar contract to a Biden-linked firm last year.
“Earlier this year, Secretary Padilla awarded a $35 million no-bid contract to SKD Knickerbocker, Joe Biden’s main election campaign advisory firm,” the congressmen’s statement reads.
“Documents obtained by Oversight Republicans appear to show that the Secretary of State’s Office attempted to inappropriately fund the contract with federal Help America Vote Act money from the CARES Act to target specific voters and encourage voting, which is a violation of the law,” the press release states.
In state after state, Democrats put the lie to the claim that America had a “free and fair” election last year. Accordingly, for the first time in at least modern history, three-quarters of the opposition party remains convinced that the chief White House occupant isn’t really the president.
While Democrats and their allies may continue to blacklist Republicans, denigrate them with comparisons to Nazis and al-Qaeda, jeopardize their employment, purge them from social media, investigate them for their political beliefs, threaten to spy on them, and do whatever else they need to do to keep power, they won’t change reality. For Biden to be the president of the United States, he has to legally win an election first.
Social Media’s Impact on the 2020 Presidential Election: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
The US is experiencing one of the most anticipated and divisive elections in its history. Social media, with some 233 million users in the US and already a major communications platform, is believed to have taken on a heightened role of importance and ability to influence leading up to the election with people relying more on virtual communication during the COVID-19 pandemic. This may have both positive and negative consequences.
In the Forbes article, Social Media Could Determine The Outcome Of The 2020 Election, social media is acknowledged as an important platform this year for reaching youth and reports a massive and continuous increase in engagement during this election cycle. Although it’s too early to determine exact causation, NPR, in an October 29 article on surging youth turnout, shared that the number of early voters under 30 who are voting for the first time in their life is more than double the number of first-time voters at this point in the 2016 election.
In fact, experts believe that social media has positively impacted civic engagement, registration, and early voting across the board. Many states have reported record breaking new voter registration numbers and nationwide, early voting has broken historic records at 99.7 million early votes submitted (already more than two-thirds of the total votes cast in 2016). “Get out the vote” (GOTV) ads and communications on social media, an umbrella term used to describe actions taken to get supporters of a campaign to turn up at the polls, are nearly impossible to miss when scrolling through social apps.
“For people who are on social media, it is virtually impossible to avoid reminders and encouragement to vote,” remarked Dr. Jen Golbeck, professor at the University of Maryland College of Information Studies (UMD iSchool) and expert in social networks. “In as much as these platforms can impact decisions, they are pushing hard to get people to turnout.”
Although increased engagement in social media appears to have played a key role in increasing civic engagement, there is also a downside – misinformation and disinformation. In the past few weeks leading up to Election Day, there has been a unique rise in cases of video manipulation where video clips are edited to make candidates appear to be making mis-steps that they didn’t commit, slurring words or appearing less competent, and some deep fakes, a technique using artificial intelligence to fabricate images and videos most often used for malicious purposes, where videos are computer generated to show false footage.
“While [social media] platforms prohibit this, they often get posted, viewed, and shared millions of times,” Golbeck said on the rise of these malicious efforts. “One of the main manipulation techniques used to add legitimacy to candidates and positions is to use bots or super active accounts to make things look popular – fact-checkers are critical for helping understand who and what can be trusted.” Golbeck suggests using sites such as FactCheck.org, to find accurate information on candidates as we head to the polls.
Watch: Biden Peddled Lies About Rittenhouse During 2020 Election, Now He’s Media Target
President Joe Biden is having a hard time escaping the glaring lies he repeated during his 2020 campaign about Kyle Rittenhouse, who is currently standing trial for murder.
The trial has been a massive fiasco for the prosecution even as the establishment media carries water for the increasingly weak claims that Rittenhouse acted maliciously when he shot three people, killing two, amid the violent riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year.
So far, the state’s own witness has revealed that one of the men Rittenhouse shot had tried to grab his gun, and Gaige Grosskreutz, another of Rittenhouse’s “victims,” has admitted that Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, fired on him only after he pointed a loaded handgun at the teen.
One of the more painful moments of the trial came when Rittenhouse himself took the stand and broke down while describing the moments leading up to the shooting. As video evidence clearly shows, rioters chased him down before he was ultimately forced to fire in self-defense.
So Biden probably shouldn’t have counted his eggs before they hatched last year as he leveraged Rittenhouse to beef up the narrative that then-President Donald Trump was sympathetic to white supremacists. Now that he’s in office, the lies about both Rittenhouse and Trump are coming back to bite him.
In August 2020, just days after the Rittenhouse shooting, Biden was asked by CNN’s Anderson Cooper why he thought Trump hadn’t yet spoken publicly about the police shooting of Jacob Blake, which sparked the riots in the first place.
Biden responded by suggesting that Rittenhouse was part of a “militia” and that Trump was unwilling to denounce white supremacists.
“Look, I don’t know enough to know whether that 17-year-old kid — exactly what he did. But allegedly he’s part of a militia coming out of the state of Illinois,” Biden said.Do you think Kyle Rittenhouse is innocent?Yes No
“Have you ever heard this president say one negative thing about white supremacists? Have you ever heard it?” he continued, claiming that Trump had called white supremacists at the 2017 Charlottesville riot “very fine people.”
Trump decidedly and in no uncertain terms condemned white supremacy after the riot, as a matter of fact.Advertisement – story continues below
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence. It has no place in America,” he said in August 2017.
If this wasn’t clear enough, Trump immediately followed up his “very fine people” comment by saying, “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally.”
That’s right — even though leftists continue to claim to this day that Trump called white supremacists and neo-Nazis “very fine people,” he actually clarified who he was talking about in the same breath and denounced the radical factions present at the Charlottesville riot.
There are no two ways about it: Biden was lying. Trump had denounced white supremacy literally years before Biden campaigned on the insane claim that he hadn’t.
Our current president was not only willing to blatantly lie about Trump, but also to imply that Rittenhouse was probably a racist militia member, too.
Of course, Anderson Cooper, the brilliant and objective journalist that he is, did not push back on this wild suggestion. The media has for well over a year now spouted entirely fabricated claims about Rittenhouse — which is probably why Biden felt perfectly comfortable including the teen’s image in a campaign video about white supremacy.
The Rittenhouse family has refused to take this bald-faced slander from the media and our now-president sitting down, as well they should not.
“The media has been absolutely irresponsible and purely abhorrent with this entire situation. They’ve been parroting the same false information time after time after time,” Rittenhouse spokesman David Hancock told Fox News on Wednesday. “It’s appalling, absolutely appalling.”
Rittenhouse’s mother also slammed Biden this week for using her son’s image in the campaign video, which recycled the same debunked line that Trump refused to disavow “white supremacists.”
“When I saw that, I was shocked, I was angry,” Wendy Rittenhouse told Fox on Thursday. “President Biden [doesn’t] know my son whatsoever, and he’s not a white supremacist. He’s not a racist. And [Biden] did that for the votes.”Advertisement – story continues below
“And I was so angry for a while at him and what he did to my son. He defamed him,” she said.
Who can blame her?
It’s bad enough that the media has so aggressively tried to taint this kid’s name in the court of public opinion. But for a presidential candidate to lump him in with vile racists is quite another matter.
That there’s someone in the White House who has so little regard for the basic principle of presumed innocence should seriously scare us.
Without a doubt there are a lot of questions surrounding the 2020 presidential election, there is also a lot of bad blood left over from the election. So yo can see some parallel between FDR and Biden. While there was no actual voter fraud. There was certainly a lot of bad publicity and governmental interference going on. The democratic party took over congress in 1930, so Hoover had little chance in getting any meaningful legislation passed to help with the Depression. Roosevelt also refused to help even after he won the election, mainly because he wanted to be seen as the savior.
So now we move on the economy.
It cannot be denied that Roosevelt came into a very difficult situation as anew president. He cannot be faulted for lack of trying. However he did not have the skills or knowledge of economics to fix the problem. All three of his New Deals were abject failures.
FDR’s Folly: How Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression
Why Did New Deal Spending Fail to Lift the American Economy?
The Great Depression of the 1930s was by far the greatest economic calamity in U.S. history. In 1931, the year before Franklin Roosevelt was elected president, unemployment in the United States had soared to an unprecedented 16.3 percent. In human terms that meant that over eight million Americans who wanted jobs could not find them. In 1939, after almost two full terms of Roosevelt and his New Deal, unemployment had not dropped, but had risen to 17.2 percent. Almost nine and one-half million Americans were unemployed.
On May 6, 1939, Henry Morgenthau, Roosevelt’s treasury secretary, confirmed the total failure of the New Deal to stop the Great Depression: “We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. . . . I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started. . . . And an enormous debt to boot!” (For more information, see “What Caused the Great Depression?“)
In FDR’s Folly, Jim Powell ably and clearly explains why New Deal spending failed to lift the American economy out of its morass. In a nutshell, Powell argues that the spending was doomed from the start to fail. Tax rates were hiked, which scooped capital out of investment and dumped it into dozens of hastily conceived government programs. Those programs quickly became politicized and produced unintended consequences, which plunged the American economy deeper into depression.
More specifically, Powell observes, the National Recovery Administration, which was Roosevelt’s centerpiece, fixed prices, stifled competition, and sometimes made American exports uncompetitive. Also, his banking reforms made many banks more vulnerable to failure by forbidding them to expand and diversify their portfolios. Social Security taxes and minimum-wage laws often triggered unemployment; in fact, they pushed many cash-strapped businesses into bankruptcy or near bankruptcy. The Agricultural Adjustment Act, which paid farmers not to produce, raised food prices and kicked thousands of tenant farmers off the land and into unemployment lines in the cities. In some of those cities, the unemployed received almost no federal aid, but in other cities — those with influential Democratic bosses — tax dollars flowed in like water.
Powell notes that the process of capturing tax dollars from some groups and doling them out to others quickly politicized federal aid. He quotes one analyst who discovered that “WPA employment reached peaks in the fall of election years. In states like Florida and Kentucky — where the New Deal’s big fight was in the primary elections — the rise of WPA employment was hurried along in order to synchronize with the primaries.” The Democratic Party’s ability to win elections became strongly connected with Roosevelt’s talent for turning on the spigot of federal dollars at the right time (before elections) and in the right places (key states and congressional districts).
Powell’s book is well researched and well organized. His chapter titles are a delight. He synthesizes a mass of secondary sources (and some primary sources) in making a strong and persuasive case that the New Deal was a failure and that the Roosevelt presidency, at least in its first two terms — was a disaster. Powell covers all the major New Deal programs; he draws on the research of historians both “liberal” and conservative; and he is nuanced — this is no hatchet job — in that he concedes that some of Roosevelt’s policies, such as tariff revision, were more economically sound than, say, his industrial and agricultural policies.
FDR’s Folly takes its place on the shelf alongside Gary Dean Best’s Pride, Prejudice, and Politics and his more recent Retreat from Liberalism as liberating revisionist works that challenge the long-standing adulation of Roosevelt given by almost all historians. In the most recent Schlesinger Presidential Poll (1997), the historians and “experts” chosen by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., collectively ranked Roosevelt as the greatest president in American history, even though every other American president had lower unemployment rates than Roosevelt did for his first eight years in the White House. As late as 1999, David Kennedy won the Pulitzer Prize for a book (Freedom from Fear) that largely praised the New Deal as a legislative program and Roosevelt as its author.
With the dawning of the 21st century, we may be witnessing the final departure of Roosevelt’s loyal academic propagandists and those targeted recipients of his federal largess. In such a climate, Jim Powell has given us, with FDR’s Folly, a refreshing, must-read account of the New Deal.
Why did the New Deal fail?
Historians frequently place Roosevelt among the top three presidents and most historians believe that the New Deal did not fail. If their assumption holds true, then this leads to the following conclusion: the benefits of the New Deal outweigh its cost. This essay tries to challenge that premise and questions whether benefits really outweighed the costs or vice versa. First, I will outline the four main reasons why most historians believe that the New Deal did not fail. This is important to consider in order to determine whether the benefits outweigh the costs or vice versa. Then, I will focus on the causes of the Great Depression and argue that Roosevelt did not understand what caused the Depression.
This, in turn, led Roosevelt to wrong decision-making and explains why the New Deal did not succeed. Finally I will argue, contrary to conventional wisdom, that the benefits of the New Deal did not outweigh the cost and demonstrate why the New Deal failed by analyzing the NRA, AAA, FERA, WPA and TVA in detail and further evaluate other policies of the Roosevelt administration which will illuminate why the New Deal failed.
According to Roosevelt’s defenders, the New Deal did not fail because of four major reasons. First, the New Deal did not fail because the 1920s were an economic disaster. Leuchtenberg argues that the havoc that had been done before Roosevelt took office was so great that even the unprecedented measures of the New Deal did not suffice to repair the damage. Roosevelt provided useful tools to partially relief, recover and reform the U.S. economy. Thus, the New Deal could not fail because of the damage that was done to the economy before Roosevelt took office. Second, the New Deal did not fail because it led to positive results. For example, while unemployment in 1933 was at 25%, it decreased to 15% by 1937. McJimsey notes that one of Roosevelt’s achievements was to create an institutional structure for the modern welfare state.
Conlin concludes that the greatest positive accomplishment of the New Deal was to ease the economic hardships suffered by millions of Americans” Third, the New Deal did not fail because Roosevelt was popular. He was reelected three times after all. He mobilized America with his fireside chats and dominated Congress. Schlesinger notes that he came through to people because they felt that he liked them and cared about them. Fourth, the New Deal did not fail because Roosevelt was an admirable executive and a good leader. Leuchtenberg defends FDR by noting that he essentially was a moralist who wanted to achieve certain humane reforms and instruct the nation in the principles of government.
Other benefits of the New Deal include the Banking Holiday, the Glass-Steagall Act, which established confidence for savers and prevented bank failures to some extent, and the SEC, which increased safety requirements for stock trading companies, which, in turn, helped investors. Further, Roosevelt’s minimum wage and social security laws were also long-lasting parts of the New Deal.
In order to determine whether the New Deal failed or not, one needs to understand the causes of the Great Depression. The New Deal failed because Roosevelt misunderstood what caused the Great Depression. A doctor who recognizes the wrong symptoms cannot prescribe the right medicine to cure the disease of a patient. Similarly, Roosevelt prescribed the New Deal to cure the U.S. economy from the Great Depression.
However Roosevelt’s medicine did not work because his administration failed to recognize what really caused the Great Depression and therefore prescribed the wrong medicine. Roosevelt assumed that the free market not the government caused the Great Depression. Roosevelt believed the Great Depression was partly caused by poor investments and stock manipulations by rich people. Further, he blamed the Great Depression on bankers, speculators and journalists.
Although the causes of the Great Depression are vast and complex, they can be boiled down to three major causes which explain why there was a banking crisis, why the stock market declined, why exports vanished, why trading partners were upset, why major industries collapsed, and why there was uncertainty on the administration’s policies. These three explanations of the causes contrast with Roosevelt’s assumption that the private, not the public sector caused the problem.
First, the negative consequences of World War I. Throughout the 1920s U.S. debt increased from less than $2 billion to over $20 billion, while at the same time, U.S. loans to Europe amounted to over $10 billion. When interest rates and tariffs increased, the U.S. was unable to make new loans to Europe, and Europe, in turn, could not repay earlier loans. Second, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which was the highest tariff in U.S. history. It affected over 3,000 imported items and even increased taxes on some items. As a result of those high tariffs, foreign goods became less competitive and similar domestic goods more competitive.
However, European markets retaliated by putting an import quota on American goods. As a result of retaliatory tariffs, U.S. exports from 1929 to 1932 more than halved. For example, American automobile companies sold less cars because of those retaliatory tariffs and also had to pay higher prices on imported goods necessary to build the car. What happened between 1929 and 1932 is that car sales declined by almost seventy percent. The high volatility of the stock market shows what uncertainty the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act created.
Third, the Federal Reserve did not prevent a banking crisis but helped cause one. Friedman and Schwartz argued that the economic contraction was exacerbated because of the bank failures and the massive withdrawals of currency from the financial system while the Federal Reserve did not provide the necessary liquidity that the system required. So, the three causes can be summarized as war debts, high tariffs and failed regulation which were not created by the private sector but the public sector. Thus, the New Deal failed because Roosevelt did not recognize that the Great Depression was mostly caused by the government itself.
The New Deal failed because the NRA, by fixing prices, damaged American business. Folsom explains that the traditional free market system, where businesses compete and innovate to sell products of varying price and quality to choosy customers was overthrown. Competition is good for an economy because it allows an industry to innovate and keep prices low for customers. Without competition, there will be no new and cheaper products in the marketplace. For example, Andrew Carnegie and Charles Schwab innovated the steel market and kept prices low.
As a result, customers had access to better products which were also cheaper at the same time. However the NRA assumed that an industry was stagnant and did not change, and therefore fixed prices. Letting the market set prices and wages is more sensible than letting the government fix prices. Further, the NRA wrote over 500 codes into law which increased bureaucracy. By fixing prices, smaller companies were not able to compete with bigger companies because those smaller companies had to raise their prices and lost competitiveness and market share.
For example, the Pharis Tire company could weather the Great Depression but not the NRA. Yale economist Fisher analyzed the impact of the NRA and told Roosevelt that the NRA has retarded recovery and especially re-employment. Thus, the NRA was eventually deemed unconstitutional and the New Deal failed because the NRA increased prices, wages and bureaucracy while decreasing working hours and competition which, in turn, reduced innovation.
The New Deal failed because the AAA, by interfering with supply and demand, damaged farming which had repercussions on the overall economy. The government ensured price floors on wheat and cotton. Thus, wheat and cotton farmers expanded their businesses and other farmers flocked to those “guaranteed” crops.
As a result, there was an overproduction of wheat and cotton, which later had to be sold by the government at a loss. As a result of the shift to wheat and cotton production, the U.S. failed to produce other agricultural products and thus at some point during the 1930s became a major food-importing country. To ensure higher prices, the government reduced production by paying farmers not to produce on certain part of their land. However this was abused by farmers, who could set aside the least fertile land, and the government would pay the farmer anyway. From the subsidy received by the government, the farmer could buy fertilizer and use it to increase the yield on his used land.
Further, the government by stifling competition and efficiency, failed to recognize that price cuts are in the benefit of the consumer because price cuts lead to cheaper and better food. The government reduced competition by adjusting commodity prices for inflation and parity from a period when farm prices were high. As a result, prices of food increased in the 1930s. Therefore, less people were able to get food. Because clothing prices also increased, fewer clothing items were sold and textile companies had to lay off people. The decrease in demand for cloth led to decreased future cotton prices.
In addition, as an unintended consequence over 100,000 tenant farmers were thrown off the land into unemployment and the AAA became the largest employer in the federal government due to increased bureaucracy. Folsom notes how the government almost ruined one of the biggest apple producers by closing down that producer’s export markets due to high tariffs and competing while running losses with taxpayer’s money. Thus, the AAA through overproduction, price setting, centralization, bureaucratization and wrong incentives, partly caused the New Deal to fail.
The New Deal failed on account of relief programs such as FERA and WPA by shifting incentives and politicizing relief. Those programs shifted money from the frugal states to the inefficient states. While FERA was aid from the government which did not require the recipient to give anything in return, WPA created government jobs by which people would work for relief. Before Roosevelt’s relief programs, states and cities had incentives to be frugal with charities and a tendency to take care of their own while requesting aid only in emergencies.
Afterwards, states were looking to the government to solve their problems and had no incentive to work hard to raise local funds. The less work a state did in raising money, the more it received from the government. Folsom describes this historical shift to using federal dollars for local relief profoundly changed the American work ethic. The WPA almost cost $5 billion and its utility is rather questionable if one takes into consideration both direct and indirect consequences. The direct consequence being the jobs created as well as the schools, bridges and hospitals built. However, the indirect consequence should not be forgotten by which many projects never came into existence because of that money transfer from the private to the public sector. Shlaes indicates that New Deal laws themselves contributed to the sense of lost opportunity and Roosevelt offered rhetorical optimism, but pessimism underlay his policies.
Further, Roosevelt by having discretion on how to allocate funds often used the relief program as a tool of political manipulation. For example, a state in the South, which was likely to vote for Democrats, received less relief money than a state in the North, which was less likely to vote for Democrats, although wages in the South were substantially lower than in the North. Thus, the cost of the FERA and WPA probably do not outweigh the benefits and therefore contributed to the failure of the New Deal.
The New Deal failed because subsidized projects such as the TVA did not bring lasting results. First, the project created benefit for 2% at the cost of 98% of the population. Second, the state of Tennessee did not even outperform other states economically given the advantage it had in terms of electricity subsidies. Chandler concludes that subsidized power gave many people in Tennessee incentives to stay on small farms, not to change their way of life. In the non-TVA states, people moved to the city, which accelerated the process of industrialization in those states and increased incomes and the market for electricity. Powell notes that the result is that the 2% started lagging behind and did not perform as well as the 98% who gave them the tax dollars. Thus, government subsidies also caused the New Deal to fail.
The New Deal failed because Roosevelt created uncertainty by experimentation, protectionism, regulation and raising taxes. For example, by raising taxes he did not encourage businesses to expand. Best indicates that Roosevelt saw himself in political struggle in which he wanted to tax businessmen as much as they wanted to oust him from the White House. The business community feared Roosevelt. In a Fortune poll in September 1940, over 77% of the executives surveyed opposed Roosevelt’s policies designed to achieve recovery. By the end of the New Deal, the top income tax rate was 79%, national debt was doubled, the budged was unbalanced, and tariffs only slowly reformed.
The New Deal failed because it prolonged the Great Depression by creating uncertainty. Businessman DuPont explained the problem rather well by claiming that uncertainty ruled the tax situation, the labor situation, the monetary situation, and practically every legal condition under which industry must operate. Then then observed that is was impossible to guess if new restrictions were placed on capital or limits on profits. Thus, unnecessary regulation and uncertainty caused the New Deal to fail.
Why did the New Deal fail? It shifted the economy from the private to the public sector. Shlaes signals that Roosevelt’s domestic policies failed because he created regulatory aid, and relief agencies based on the premise that recovery could be achieved only through a large military-style effort. As Einhorn reveals, the lesson of the “Roosevelt recession” of 1937-38 is that GDP created by massive fiscal stimulus is artificial, and that is exactly why the New Deal failed. It temporarily brought the economy out of recession, but did not solve the underlying problem. Further, the benefits of programs such as the NRA, AAA, and WPA did not outweigh the direct and indirect costs of the New Deal. In the end, it is important to understand why the New Deal failed. If it is generally accepted that the New Deal did not fail, then mistakes are likely to be made by future policy makers.
So no we move on to Biden whose economic policies have also proven to be abject failures.
6 WAYS BIDEN HAS RUINED AMERICA IN JUST 6 MONTHS
We knew Biden was going to be bad but nobody was prepared for how awful he’d actually be. When he took office, he was gifted with a COVID-19 vaccine, a recovering economy, a secure nation and world peace. In just 6 short months of his presidency, he’s managed to ruin all of that and more. Normally it takes a democrat a couple of years to cause this kind of damage but Biden is a highly-motivated America destroyer.
Here’s 6 Biden f*ck ups in 6 months occupying the White House:
1 – COVID-19: Biden ran almost entirely on his unique ability to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving out the part that he’d be doing it with the vaccine developed by Donald Trump. He promised us he’d kick corona’s ass in 100 days but here we are 6 months later and the only thing on the news is about the COVID-19 Delta variant ravaging the country. Biden is reimplementing mask mandates and another lockdown looms. If anything, COIVID-19 kicked Joe Biden’s boney ass.
2 – Gas Prices: Biden inherited an energy independent United States and promptly screwed that up by cancelling the Keystone XL Pipeline and restricting oil drilling leases. The price of gasoline is at the highest level since the last time a democrat was in the White House. It’s so bad that Biden is begging OPEC to pump more oil in hopes of bringing prices down. American oil companies could be pumping that oil, which would generate income and jobs, but Biden would rather get it from the jihad cartel.
3 – Inflation: Even during the height of the pandemic, consumer prices remained relatively stable. Now that Biden has declared victory over the virus and the economic downturn, inflation is driving up prices at an unprecedented rate. Producer’s prices rose 7.8% in July which is the fastest rise in U.S. history. Higher producer prices means higher consumer prices because for some reason companies never eat it on added costs. Biden said all of his economic policies were to help the working and middle classes but when shit gets more expensive it’s these people who feel it the most.
4 – Border Security: Biden also inherited the most secure U.S./Mexico border in American history and killed that the first day in office. Reversing all of President Trump’s immigration policies, Biden opened up the border and put out the welcome mat. The surge of illegal immigrants into this country is unprecedented and overwhelming. Dovetailing with his COIVID-19 f*ck up, the alien invaders are infected and being distributed to communities all over the country.
5 – World Peace: The Trump administration not only didn’t get us involved in any new global conflicts, they brokered historic Middle East peace deals. With Biden’s foreign policy, the Gaza Strip has erupted in violence. Biden also began pulling troops out of Afghanistan and now the Taliban is retaking the country faster than a wildfire. Biden actually has to redeploy troops to Kabul to help evacuate the American embassy.
6 – Rule of Law: One of the biggest fake complaints against Donald Trump was that he didn’t respect our institutions or the rule of law. He never came close to violating the Constitution and you know that’s true because if he did, the democrats would have impeached him for that too. Biden was also a critic of Trump’s “lawlessness” but just last week he directed the CDC to make a law that he knows is an unconstitutional breach of the separation of powers.
Jimmy Carter wasn’t even this bad and he was the previous worst president in modern history. Biden told Jimmy to hold his beer and f*cked this country up in 6 months. There’s a pandemic without end, a crumbling economy, an alien invasion, a world on fire, and Joe’s wiping his ass with the Constitution.
Not that I believe for a second that 82 million people voted for this assclown but of the people who actually did cast a ballot for Biden, how many have buyer’s remorse?
Biden claims his jobs plan ‘is working’ but inflation is surging, more than wiping out any wage gains American workers might have experienced.
What is all this “Biden inflation tax” talk really about? What is the actual effect of inflation on the lives of real people?
Well, below is a chart that compares yearly wage and inflation rates for each month from 2017 through July of this year using Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Wage rates are in blue and inflation (as measured by the consumer price index) is in red. When blue is on top, as it was during the entire Trump administration, workers’ wages are beating inflation and their standards of living are improving. When red is on top, they’re not.
While President Biden claims it is “indisputable” that his jobs plan “is working,” this chart unequivocally shows that it is not, at least not for American workers. Rather, inflation is surging, more than wiping out any wage gains those workers might have experienced.
So, why is inflation surging in the Biden era? One factor is an imbalance between supply and demand. Emerging from the pandemic, we are in a period of high demand boosted by unprecedented government largesse. Thanks to that largesse, in June of this year, personal savings were nearly $400 billion higher than in January of 2020. People have money and now they’re spending it.
But the pandemic disrupted production and order flow, hobbling supply chains. Simply, people were unable to work and businesses were unable to anticipate future demand. Bad policies that pay people more not to work than they can make with a job have exacerbated the supply chain disruptions. You can’t produce and deliver goods if you can’t find workers.Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Jerome Powell calls these supply chain disruptions temporary “bottlenecks” – such as the shortage of computer chips that is limiting automobile production. The White House agrees. But what do they mean by “temporary”? Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin recently stated that we “will have several more months of rapid inflation.” That may technically be temporary, but it’s bad news for American workers.
And there is a longer-lasting problem in addition to bottlenecks. As economist Milton Friedman stated, “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.” Simply, the more money there is, the less it’s worth and the more it takes to purchase goods.
Monetary policy that increases the money supply drives inflation, with long-term consequences. As measured by the Fed, since February of 2020, the money supply has dramatically increased by 32 percent – nearly a third. When addressing inflation, it would be a huge mistake to underestimate the impact of the Fed’s monetary accommodation of the Biden administration’s reckless fiscal policy.
Despite the federal government spending a staggering $5.3 trillion since March 2020 and the passage of a $1.1 trillion infrastructure bill, Biden and his fellow Democrats are pushing additional spending as part of a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package. An independent analysis by the nonprofit Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that the real costs of that package are more than $5 trillion if scored honestly.
Those numbers aren’t just staggering, they are all but unfathomable. But if the Fed is willing to pour massive amounts of dollars into the economy, Democrats are obviously willing – if not anxious – to continue spending it, consequences be damned.
It doesn’t take an economist to see the inflationary impact. Restaurant Business, an industry publication, recently ran an article bluntly titled “Yes, It’s OK to Keep Raising Prices.” That opinion isn’t limited to restaurants. In the Institute for Supply Management’s July report, 66.7% of service businesses said they are raising prices. In the National Federation of Independent Business’ monthly survey for July, 52% of respondents reported raising prices.
In what could be a lifeline for American workers, at least one Democrat seems to get it. Sen. Joe Manchin recently issued a statement expressing his “serious concerns about the grave consequences” if Congress decides to spend “another $3.5 trillion” in an “economy that is on the verge of overheating.” Manchin’s concern is that “rising inflation rates are now an unavoidable tax on the wages and income of every American.” Well, of course they are.
Biden, unfortunately, just doesn’t get it. In a recent CNN interview, he declared these multitrillion-dollar spending bills “will reduce inflation, reduce inflation, reduce inflation.” Just to be clear – they won’t. Seriously, they can’t. There is no rational economic school, anywhere across the political spectrum, that believes higher government spending actually reduces inflation.
Nonetheless, you’ll hear a lot about that in the coming months. The administration will claim spending doesn’t matter because the government can print as much money as it needs – rather than relying on old-fashioned things like taxes to pay the bills. It’s called modern monetary theory and it’s simply a rationalization for limitless deficit spending – all of which is nonsense. Economist John Christensen calls it the “Magic Money Tree.”
In reality, as the Fed and Democrats strive to prove this theory, flooding the economy with dollars and spending, you will see rising costs for everything from gas and food to cars and housing. Better wages? Well, not so much.
Biden and the Fed Are Creating an Inflation Crisis They’re racing blindly toward an economic cliff.
The Federal Reserve Bank (the Fed) and the Biden administration are systematically undermining the stability of the American economy with a variety of unwise and destructive policies. The Fed and the administration defend these policies by denying obvious economic truths, which include their own inflation data.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen asserts that inflation is transitory and shortages are temporary. More than 300 American manufacturers have asked the Biden administration to end disruptive tariffs to ease shortages and reduce costs.
Galvanized steel has doubled in price and is only sold on allocation, resulting in severe shortages. Steel in the EU is 40 percent lower in cost, which provides a huge advantage to our EU competitors. The HVAC industry is experiencing the worst inflation since the mid-1970s. Housing is experiencing shortages and inflation.
Yellen also presses Congress to spend more money to aid the economy. She is likely detached from reality, as the Biden administration policies include massive spending up to a $6 trillion budget for fiscal year 2022, which expands deficits to frightening levels. Modern Monetary Theory, which promotes massive government spending and borrowing, has infected the brains of the Biden administration.
Milton Friedman said many years ago that inflation is “too much money chasing after too few goods.” This assertion has been challenged in recent years, but today’s crises provide plenty of evidence for it: witness the massive inflation of the U.S. stock markets, housing, and most all capital goods. Consumer product inflation has been tame, but now the federal government is wiring money to consumers and states while expanding the federal government. This is why we’re seeing shortages, high demands, and inflation.Jerome Powell is determined to be the worst Fed chair since Arthur F. Burns (1970–78), who created massive inflation with his policies and arrogance. Burns denied hard, factual data, and now Powell is following in his footsteps by doing the following:
- Powell’s Fed initially contracted the Fed balance sheet but reversed course and began to buy government and other securities at the rate of $150 billion per month. The balance sheet has expanded from $4 to $7.4 trillion. The impact of these purchases is to destroy market pricing of interest rates.
- Short-term interest rates are near zero, which denies savers any return and forces speculative investments, undermining orderly, rational markets.
- The worst Fed policy is their promotion of 2 percent inflation, which undermines the buying power of the lowest-income workers. This policy is cruel and stupid. Once inflation begins, it’s difficult to arrest. Paul Volcker tamed inflation in the ’80s, but very high interest rates crushed economic growth.
The following solutions will be difficult, but necessary, to achieve stable prices and economic growth:
- Immediately eliminate tariffs on steel, electronics, and lumber. Unilateral free trade is the best solution for low prices and high quality.
- Stop Congress from passing any new trillion-dollar spending bills, using borrowed money.
- End the obsession and false god of man-made climate change, and let the market create energy efficiencies.
- End deficit spending with the fiscal year 2022 budget, which will reduce the footprint of the federal government.
- Make the Fed discontinue purchasing bonds, and let the market determine short- and long-term interest rates.
Policymakers are headed to an economic cliff, which will lead to uncontrolled inflation and a recession. The U.S. dollar could lose its reserve status if the market loses confidence in it. If this happens, we’ll learn the hard way: the U.S. will have a lower standard of living, and the federal largesse will cease to exist.
Well it seems that the were both massive failures in regards to the economy. Though in defense of Roosevelt he did inherit a mess. Though if he didn’t have such a large ego it could have been a lot better when he took over. Biden just has no excuse at all. The economy was coming back after the covid pandemic. All he had to do was push for the Red states to open up, because the blue states were already doing this. If he would have done this, our economy would have been better than ever. But his ego would not allow him to do this. Because that would be admitting that Trump was right all along.
Now it is time to go onto the war front. Again Biden had a much less difficult situation to deal with than FDR. One thing going for FDR is that he knew that England could not stand up to Germany by itself. He needed help. He was however in a bad way, because the country was totally against becoming embroiled in another war in Europe. How he went about doing it has many historians including myself a little miffed.
FDR and Foreign Policy
FDR’s first two terms were mainly concerned with the economy, While the third term and the beginning of the fourth term were concerned with foreign affairs, mainly the war with Germany and eventually Japan, Italy was not much of an issue.
The third presidential term of Franklin D. Roosevelt began on January 20, 1941, when he was once again inaugurated as the 32nd president of the United States, and the fourth term of his presidency ended with his death on April 12, 1945. Roosevelt won a third term by defeating Republican nominee Wendell Willkie in the 1940 United States presidential election. He remains the only president to serve for more than two terms. Unlike his first two terms, Roosevelt’s third and fourth terms were dominated by foreign policy concerns, as the United States became a belligerent in World War II in December 1941.
After defeating Willkie, Roosevelt won congressional approval of the Lend-Lease program, which was designed to aid the United Kingdom in its war against Nazi Germany. After Germany began war against the Soviet Union, Roosevelt extended Lend-Lease to the Soviet Union as well. In Asia, Roosevelt provided aid to the Republic of China, which was resisting an invasion by the Empire of Japan. In response to the July 1941 Japanese occupation of French Indochina, Roosevelt expanded a trade embargo on Japan to cut off oil that Japan urgently needed for its fleet. After attempting to re-open oil exports, Japan launched an attack on the U.S. fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor.
While the actions of FDR including Lend Lease could be construed as acts of war, what he did to insight the attack by Japan is a whole other matter. He an his advisors came up with an 8 part plan that would eventually force Japan to attack us.
The FDR Plan to Push Japan into Attacking the U.S.
- Make an arrangement with Britain for the use of British bases in the Pacific, particularly Singapore.
- Make an arrangement with Holland for the use of base facilities and acquisition of supplies in the Dutch East Indies.
- Give all possible aid to the Chinese government of Chiang Kai-shek.
- Send a division of a long-range cruisers to the Orient, Philippines, or Singapore.
- Send two divisions of submarines to the Orient.
- Keep the main strength of the US Fleet, now in the Pacific, in the vicinity of the Hawaiian islands.
- Insist that the Dutch refuse to grant Japanese demand for undue economic concessions, particularly oil.
- Completely embargo all trade with Japan, in collaboration with a similar embargo imposed by the British Empire.
Admiral Richardson who was in charge of the Pacific fleet protested the plan to make Pearl Harbor the home of the fleet. He presented Five Objections to the Secretary of Navy.
Richardson’s Five Objections for the fleet being based in Hawaii:
- Lack of fundamental training facilities.
- Lack of large-scale ammunition and fuel supplies.
- Lack of support craft such as tugs and repair ships.
- Morale problems of men kept away from their families.
- Lack of overhaul facilities such as dry docking and machine shops.
He was eventually transferred out and was replaced with a supposedly more malleable stooge, Admiral Husband E. Kimmel. He would serve right up to and a little after the Pearl Harbor attack when he and Lt. General Walter Short were both fired for gross dereliction of duty. Due to time constraints I will not delve too deeply in this matter. The story of Kimmel and Short deserve an article all to themselves. Prior to the attack by Japan on Pearl harbor, our cryptologists had been working overtime to break the various codes used by the Japanese. They ended up being wildly successful. They were able to decrypt over 95% of all transmissions made by the Japanese. So it is certainly apparent that we knew about the attack on Pearl Harbor. The code-breaking plan was entitled a “splendid arrangement.” Washington had a direct line of communication from the code breakers stationed in the Hawaiian Islands with additional services being provided in Washington DC. It is apparent that Not only FDR was informed on an almost daily basis of the Japanese plans sop were our soon to be British allies and several other highly ranked generals and admirals. The only ones that truly mattered were Kimmel and Short and they were left out of the loop. Kimmel was ordered to keep the fleet at Peal Harbor. Though he did one thing that saved our bacon so to speak he moved out our aircraft carriers and all of the modern ships of the fleet out and left a token force of WWI ships. Those were the ones destroyed by the Japanese navy. It turns out that Kimmel had been informed of an generic attack in the Pacific, mainly involving the Philippines and a few other island chains. Nowhere was it documented that Pearl Harbor was the main target. So our President Roosevelt intentionally put our troops in harms way in Pearl Harbor. I believe in his defense he not realize how devastating the attack would be and how much life would be lost. But in my way of thinking, what he did was an impeachable offense.
I have one question what would it have hurt to send Kimmel a late warning so the troops could have been prepared. This way a few lives could have been saved. Or were they so worried that the Japanese would find out that they were intercepting their radio communications? In his postwar testimony, admiral Kimmel maintained that he would have been ready to defend Pearl Harbor. The information that Kimmel needed was available. It was apparent from the get go that Lieutenant Commanders Joseph Rochefort and Edwin Layton could have provided that indication, but they did not do so.
Their failure allowed Japan’s First Air Fleet to make its surprise attack and then to escape to Japan. In a postwar assessment of the attack Rochefort said, “It was a pretty cheap price to pay for unifying the country.” I am sure the families of the 2,403 military personnel would argue that point.
If this was not bad enough he basically gave in to every whim presented by Stalin, even to the lose of life by the British. He allowed himself to be bullied into attacking the Germans in Normandy and going through France, instead of continuing the more direct route through Italy into Germany. This delayed the war another whole year and allowed the Soviet Union to push the Germans out of Asia and to enter into Europe. This lack of a back bone resulted in 9 countries coming under the control of the communist block, including the already devastated Poland, Czechoslovakia not to mention a good portion of Germany and Berlin.
In the end, under the tutelage of Roosevelt, Eisenhower demurred to diplomacy. He stepped back military from Berlin for three reasons: the Yalta Agreement, battle exhaustion, and the perception of Berlin as lacking strategic significance. According to British historian Anthony Beevor; the basic problem…was that the Americans at that stage simply did not view Europe in strategic terms. They had a simple and limited objective: to win the war against Germany, quickly, with as few casualties as possible, and then concentrate on Japan. Eisenhower–like his president, the chiefs of staff, and other senior officials–failed to look ahead and completely misread Stalin’s character. Some British officers even referred to Eisenhower’s deference to Stalin as “Have a Go, Joe,” a call used by British prostitutes when soliciting American soldiers. I will discuss the Yalta Conference in another series entitled “How We Sold Our Souls.”
He also gave Stalin enriched Uranium and other technology that facilitated them in building a nuclear bomb much sooner that they should have been able to do so. The list just goes on and on of less than ethical things he did in the name of preserving our democracy. One caveat, he was instrumental in the founding of the much more successful United Nations.
Now it is time to deal with Biden and his Afghanistan dance of shame.
The Debacle of Biden’s Afghanistan Withdrawal
During a recent address President Joe Biden defended his foreign policy and blamed Afghan forces for not doing enough to save their country, even though they bore the burden for years before US troops left, once in the middle of the night without warning them. Afghans do have responsibility to help save their country, though historically many governments have needed international assistance (sometimes for decades) to defeat or resist authoritarian rule. This includes the United States, which needed the French during the Revolution and foreign fighters in the Civil War, when up to one-third of Union troops were foreign-born. But the fact that the Afghan war was long, the costs were once high, or Afghan forces followed the US into retreat does not mean the withdrawal was wise, necessary, or moral. Instead, Joe Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal and the debacle that followed may become a textbook example of an American foreign policy failure.
America cannot absolve itself from the tragedies occurring due to the abandonment of Afghanistan—started by President Donald Trump’s deal with the Taliban and ended by President Joe Biden’s horrific execution—by blaming Afghans for not fighting enough. As Marc Thiessen of the American Enterprise Institute tweeted in response to President Biden’s accusation that Afghan forces were unwilling to fight:
This is a lie. Since Jan 2015, when Afghans took over combat operations, 53-57,000 Afghan soldiers have died in combat fighting the Taliban-including more than 2,600 this year. Afghans with US air support held off the Taliban for more than six years. You took away the air support.
In a Washington Post op-ed the next morning, Thiessen elaborates:
To say Afghans were not willing to fight is libelous. For more than six years, the Afghan army bore the brunt of the fight—and with US support they succeeded in holding the Taliban at bay. It was only when Biden withdrew the US mission planning, intelligence and air support that had enabled them to succeed that Afghan forces were overwhelmed.
In response to the president’s Monday address, Brian Williams praised Biden on MSNBC, but former CIA analyst and No One Left Behind co-founder Matt Zeller countered, “I feel that I watched a different speech from the rest of you guys. I was appalled.” He continued:
The idea that the Afghan military should be blamed for this, do you know how many causalities the Afghan military took in an average year? More than the United States did in 20. When you’re not getting paid on a regular basis, when you’re not getting fuel, when no one is supplying you with ammunition, and yet you’re still showing up to the fight? How dare us for having to blame these people for not having the audacity to survive a Taliban onslaught.
Meanwhile, Providence contributing editor Paul D. Miller, who has covered this topic for years, rightly argues that the United States cannot tell itself that the mission was impossible or unsustainable. After all, the military footprint had been small and casualties low, even as the US helped Afghans fight the Taliban. He explains why the US should have stayed:
If the United States had maintained a small presence (perhaps marginally larger than what Trump left behind), it could have kept the Afghan army in the field indefinitely, giving time and space for the political situation in Kabul to sort itself out, for a fresh round of negotiations with better leverage against the Taliban, and for reconstruction and development to continue.
Critics may complain that “we can’t stay forever.” Perhaps, but we could have stayed long enough for the military presence to evolve, very gradually, into a near-peacetime deployment. Again, the military presence was small, low-risk, and relatively low-cost.
And we should have stayed because the mission is not over. While bin Laden is dead, al-Qaeda is not and, along with the Islamic State and a murderer’s row of copycat jihadists, is almost certain to regain safe haven in Afghanistan and Pakistan following the collapse of our allies.
What makes the situation worse is that the government should have realized the Taliban would likely overthrow the government, even if the administration misjudged how long Kabul could survive. According to government documents, military officials knew that the Afghan military could not win against the Taliban without US support, though they told the public a different story. So any plan to fully withdraw US troops and air support in 2021 effectively meant surrendering the country to the Taliban. Generals and diplomats warned Biden that his withdrawal could lead to disaster, and Gen. Mark Milley wanted to keep 2,500 troops to maintain stability in the country. But the president was insistent upon leaving.
If Biden was correct—that staying in Afghanistan would prevent the United States from countering China or Russia or focusing on other foreign policy priorities—then the withdrawal might have been morally and strategically defensible. For example, in 1973 the US withdrew roughly 24,000 combat troops from Vietnam; at that point the US had suffered roughly 38,000 deaths in the previous six years (for comparison, the US suffered 66 deaths in the six years before leaving Afghanistan); a large swath of the American electorate was actively opposed to the Vietnam War (whereas until last week most Americans rarely thought about Afghanistan); North Vietnam had powerful nuclear-armed allies in China and the Soviet Union, so the US could not fully invade the North without risking the mistakes of the Korean War (of course, the Taliban had no such support). In this case, retreat was defensible. But what Biden has done in Afghanistan appears to be a withdrawal of choice, not of necessity.
If Miller and others are correct that a relatively small number of troops could have helped Afghan security forces continue fighting the Taliban (as they had been doing successfully for years), then for the retreat to be justifiable, the benefit of withdrawing must be greater than the consequences of the Taliban retaking the country. Given the relatively small costs of maintaining security in Afghanistan, just a small negative consequence of withdrawing would have been enough to justify staying in the country. As the events of the past week have shown, the geopolitical consequences may prove significant, and the domestic political consequences have already been detrimental to the president.
Time will tell, but the US may face several geopolitical consequences due to Biden’s withdrawal. First, China has already benefited and may expand its Belt and Road Initiative into Afghanistan, which the US has opposed. Probably more significant, America is now a less credible ally for those facing the likes of China. If the Biden administration would rather let the Taliban retake Afghanistan—thus leading to American allies shot dead in the street, the desperate falling from aircraft trying to escape, amongst other images—than to keep a small force in the country, then the world should doubt how much this government is willing to do when the task is difficult. At the very least, the failure to evacuate more Afghan allies demonstrates incompetency within the Biden administration that should concern every ally and voter. The withdrawal also means proponents of international religious liberty should doubt Biden’s commitment to human rights, given what will happen to religious minorities and others under the Taliban now. The US may overcome these consequences, such as by boosting military spending to demonstrate its commitment to countering China, but doing so may prove more expensive than keeping a small force in Afghanistan would have been. Finally, if al-Qaeda or other terrorists can use resources from the country to launch attacks, or if a civil war destabilizes Pakistan and the wider region, the withdrawal may be increasingly viewed as a catastrophic foreign policy mistake.
Politically, President Biden has already endured consequences for his decisions. Normally, foreign policy doesn’t matter much to voters. But after this debacle, Five Thirty Eight’s aggregation of polls shows that the president’s approval rating dropped below 50 percent for the first time. Because US presidential elections are generally close, such a drop could be fatal to his reelection hopes (assuming he runs in 2024, which many doubt). Meanwhile, proponents had argued that the American people supported the withdrawal, but a recent poll showed that support dropped 20 points, to less than a majority, after the public saw what leaving Afghanistan meant in practice. This reversal is yet another reminder to isolationists that they cannot rely upon public opinion polls to justify their policies, because on global affairs voters’ views can change dramatically overnight. A steady trickle of reports about Taliban-controlled Afghanistan—such as on the “forced marriages,” aka rape, of young girls—across both liberal and conservative news outlets for the months and possibly years to come will mean that the president may not be able to just wait for the news cycle to change.
Joe Biden may have hoped that he could blame Trump, the Afghans, or others for his mistakes. But his choices have consequences, and at this rate his withdrawal from Afghanistan may become one of the great blunders American foreign policy students will need to study.
Biden’s Afghanistan debacle will cast a long shadow over transatlantic security
BY DANIEL KOCHIS, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 09/09/21 08:30 AM EDT 531THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY CONTRIBUTORS ARE THEIR OWN AND NOT THE VIEW OF THE HILL79
© Getty images
In February, President Biden declared that he would “repair our alliances and engage with the world once again.” Seven months later, his bungled Afghanistan pullout has left our alliances bruised and battered and the president’s credibility abroad about as believable as Taliban promises to respect women.
Repairing the damage will not be easy. The sudden withdrawal showed callous disregard for our allies. This was compounded by the administration’s pollyannaish response to the international deluge of criticism that followed.
The administration fails to comprehend the ownership stake which many European allies retained in a secure and democratic Afghanistan. The Germans, for example, deployed 150,000 soldiers to Afghanistan from 2002- 2021, many for repeat tours. Berlin’s decision to join the U.S.-led effort was not easy. For historical reasons, Germany is extremely cautious about overseas military deployments, and getting the mission extended year over year was tortuous and politically taxing.
Yet the Germans and other allies stood with the U.S. year over year. Last year, NATO’s Resolute Support (RS) mission to train and equip the Afghan National Security Forces counted 16,000 troops from 38 allies and partner nations.
Yet Biden decided to pull all U.S. forces from Afghanistan unilaterally, leaving allies – many of whom had recently committed additional troops to RS at the behest of the U.S. – feeling as though the rug had been pulled out from under them.
Some allies, such as Italy, Turkey and the United Kingdom, reportedly sought to sustain a presence in the country but were unable without U.S. support, in particular American air support. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tried desperately to find out what the U.S. was doing, but the White House ignored his calls for 36 hours. If the administration can’t be bothered to talk with the British, something deeply dysfunctional is happening.
Biden’s precipitate action created a crush of desperation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, leaving Europeans stranded and allies like France and the UK resorting to dangerous, clandestine rescues of their own citizens from the streets of Kabul.
Now, the Taliban are back in charge and flush with billions in abandoned western equipment and weapons. Afghanistan will soon be a haven for transnational terrorists once more. Even Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledges, “you could see a resurgence of terrorism coming out of that general region within 12, 24, 36 months.”ADVERTISING
The allied reaction has been scathing. Armin Laschet, leader of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union, called the Afghanistan withdrawal “the greatest debacle that NATO has seen since its foundation.”
Calling it “the biggest foreign policy disaster since Suez,” Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the UK’s Foreign Affairs Committee added, “We need to think again about how we handle friends, who matters and how we defend our interests.”
Said German Chancellor Angela Merkel: “For those who believed in democracy and freedom, especially for women, these are bitter events.”
Europe’s disillusionment and anger with Biden and the U.S. is understandable. They remember how President Obama’s Iraq withdrawal led to a flood of refugees, the rise of ISIS and years of terror attacks. They are bracing for a repeat.
Last week, the EU began quickly drawing up plans to boost aid to neighboring Iran and Pakistan in hopes of holding back the tide of refugees.
And what of NATO? Rotting credibility may lead adversaries to wonder whether an attack against the NATO alliance would be met with full U.S. resolve and commitment. In some corners of Europe, the inability to sustain an independent European force in Afghanistan is already leading to renewed calls for an autonomous EU military.
Staunching the damage requires a sustained effort to get beyond trite speeches and show that our alliances matter. The Biden administration should reverse its requested defense cuts, which just further erode U.S. credibility.
Want to let Putin know you’re serious? Establish a permanent presence in eastern Europe. While you’re at it, invest in desperately needed Arctic capabilities. Want to improve NATO? Guide it back towards basics, collective defense of the member states. Unleash the power of the market through the Three Seas Initiative to help infrastructure blossom in eastern Europe, while drowning out Russian and Chinese efforts to make inroads.
- Oversight GOP eyes records on Afghanistan withdrawal
- Top US, EU diplomats to sync up strategy in confronting China
These are just a few of the many steps that should be taken to restore our allies’ faith in us. The point is that the U.S. needs to shore up its European alliances. It has tools to do so. Now it just needs to find the will the do it, and to stick with it.
Long after President Biden has left office, his Afghan debacle will haunt future presidents and prime ministers alike. Afghanistan will cast a long shadow on transatlantic security; it’ll take some time to be undone.
Now lets discuss all in the Family. Few People today know of the absolute corruption that was present in the Roosevelt family, so lets start by discussing it followed with the corruption in the Biden family.
Graft is taking profit from one’s political office (or taking money for their influence). The politicians of today have nothing on FDR, not even the Clinton’s. As Governor FDR stated on many occasions that Public Officials should not be living beyond their means (or getting economic gain from their political influence). FDR specifically said ”’that financial gains should apply to members of a politician family as well as the politician himself.’ FDR dismissed one Sheriff (Farley) saying, “What of a public official who allows a member of his family to obtain favors or benefits through his political connections?”
Like all things FDR, if he said one thing, he was doing the opposite: FDR was publicly against graft, and one of the largest recipients of it in history — both directly and through his immediate family. His Son’s (James and Elliot) both became rich men through FDR’s influence peddling. His wife made millions from foreign gifts, ads, and other forms of payola. And FDR stole rare stamps from the post office, had the government pay for home improvements, and deeded his property to the government so that they would pay the taxes for him. Dirty by his day’s standards, criminal by today’s.
Corruption – All in the Family
It isn’t like just one of them suckled at the teat of corruption, the whole family was involved. And this wasn’t just Chelsea getting paid exorbitant sums for no experience and a mediocre academic record, this was all of them being far more blatant.
James Roosevelt (FDR’s oldest son and law school dropout) was to become an insurance agent while FDR was in office.
- He admitted that he was only given the job (at an extraordinary salary) because of his fathers name (and position), and his influence over his father. For the record, Herbert Hoover’s son was also offered a similar “fat” salaried, do nothing job — which he refused by saying, “My father’s name is not for sale”. Jimmy had no such morals limiting his behavior — and took things much further.
- Jimmy would call from the White House (where he was also his fathers aide) and say, “This is Jimmy Roosevelt of Roosevelt and Sargent Insurance, calling from the White House” and then proceed to give them a sales pitch on using his insurance. Since he was calling companies that were getting millions of dollars from Govt. Assistance, Contracts or Programs, they would almost all see this is “payola” and switch insurance to his company. A few whined about the corruption and saw it as “protection money” or a “shakedown” — but most kept quiet and paid.
- Jimmy also got more direct payoffs, with companies and organizations (like the National Grain Yeast Corporation) paying him $100,000’s of dollars as a consultant, all for a 28 year old with no experience of their business what-so-ever.
- Samuel Goldwyn (of MGM) paid Jimmy $50,000/year to help him with a Dept. of Justice case that was investigating the movie companies under antitrust laws — problem solved.
Elliott Roosevelt decided to follow in his brothers footsteps and went into “deals and promotions”.
- He sold the Soviet Govt. 50 military airplanes for a profit of $1,000,000. His partner admitted later (to a Senate Committee) that the price was excessive, but that Elliot had enough influence with the Export-Import Bank and Russian Purchasing Commission to “swing the deal”.
- Elliott then became Vice President for a Radio Station (for $30K/year), right when the radio station was having problems with an ownership transfer because of the FCC. The FCC commission that was against this transfer got a call from the White House that said to let this thing go through, “because it means so much to Elliott”. The problem went away (the FCC approved the transfer) and Elliott got a bonus for each of the 4 stations involved in the transfer.
- There were dozens of “problems” that could be resolved through Elliott — and dozens of things facilitated by him (for a price).
- Then Elliott decided to go into the army (to support the war effort), where he was put in charge of procurement and was quickly promoted to Brigadier-General (ahead of West Point Graduates with far more experience than him).
- He also used his influence to help people that entertained him well — like Howard Hughes got a $22,000,000 plane contract after spending $5,000 entertaining Elliott.
- Elliott borrowed money from men that he helped (or the President helped), and did very well for himself while the President was in office. The Chicago Tribune estimated that Elliott earned over $1.1M during the presidents tenure, and that almost every dollar was made on the strength of his White House connection. This isn’t including deals that “coincidentally” worked out in his favor.
The family payoff wasn’t just the the sins of the sons — Eleanor (Wife of the President) did even better. She went from making nothing per year, to earning over $3,000,000 while FDR was in office.
- She was doing paid speaking engagements (from $1,000 – $4,000 a pop)
- She was selling soap in national advertising, and in fact took on all sorts of advertising contracts.
- Foreign governments paid her to help them with issues (like a South American Coffee Consortium).
- A Candy group was worried that Candy might be classed as “nonessential” to the war — so they enlisted her aide (at high price).
- She was paid to do movie shorts.
- She wrote a daily column for Newspapers (for high pay, and which had little literary value beyond her name)
- She gave a small percentage to charity — but the majority seemed to benefit the Roosevelt’s.
More than that, she went on to take great advantage of her position in other forms of graft — extravagant spending, perks and so on.
- She accepted very expensive gift from foreign governments, like furs and jewelry. When challenged she said, “The President cannot take a present from a foreign government, but I can accept a present from anybody.” Her excesses were a disgrace to the nation — and many before her, and since, had wisdom and integrity to ask that gifts be given instead to favored charities.
While the war effort was on and people were heavily rationed there were commercials stating that a single B-17 bomber sortie would take as the equivalent of 5 car trips across the continent — Eleanor made a 26,000 mile trip in a specially outfitted transport plane (dressed as a Red Cross field worker) — all while she was telling others to “conserve for the war”, which obviously didn’t apply to royalty.
$3M is not a bad take for someone who had no earnings at all before her husband was the President.
The President even partook of his Government power (and it’s rewards) directly as well — though not to the degree his wife or sons did.
FDR had been a stamp collector for his entire life, though he didn’t delve into the more extravagant side, and preferred the $10 and less stamps, he was quite familiar with the business side.
- As President he appointed Jim Farley as his Postmaster-General. Then he got Farley to give him imperforate first sheets of stamps (sheets before they are “cut”). These are rare, and valuable (each having a value of $20,000 at the time) — but Farley gave them to FDR, Eleanor, and a few others (at FDR request).
- When new stamps are made they run a “proof” of the die. Since the dies changes over time, these die proofs are quite valuable. Politicians were getting them and giving them out as payola until Theodore Roosevelt passed an order forbidding those proofs from going to any one person. When FDR got in office, and knowing the value of these proofs, he had them ALL delivered to him — going all the way back to 1896 — which he put in his personal stamp collection. After FDRs death, his estate got $275,000 for his otherwise modest stamp collection.
- FDR was the first President to create a shrine to himself, in a shameless act of self worship. President’s families or friends usually create shrine after their deaths — but FDR didn’t want to wait that long, and wanted to make sure it was worthy.
- In 1938 (when the Depression was rearing it’s ugly head, again), he started negotiations with Collier’s Magazine for a $75,000 a year post writing a weekly column (in case he didn’t win the next election).
- He decided that it would help this job if he had a convenient library to do his research. So FDR decided to create a Franklin D. Roosevelt “Memorial” Library on his Hyde Park estate — it was “Memorial” so that others could pay the bill for its creation, and so it would be tax exempt. His bundlers raised $400,000 for this purpose — the land was deeded to the Govt. to alleviate Roosevelt from the tax liabilities, and so that the National Archives could pay for its upkeep.
- But by 1943 the visions of writer had left (and the Collier’s job was passé), and he decided the Library was not enough of a shrine to himself — so he expanded on the idea, and deeded over the entire Hyde Park Estate. Of course his family members would be entitled to live there, and congress got stuck with a $50,000 a year bill for upkeep (which has since grown substantially) — but FDR got a shrine.
FDR became the only president whose home and grave are maintained by the Govt. as a national shrine, and the government was doing this before his death, at his request.
FDR’s two sons both became rich men through the use of their fathers office. By today’s standards that is blatant corruption, but by standards of the day it probably wasn’t quite as bad. However, FDR himself considered it corrupt and immoral when others did similar but lesser infractions. FDR knew of the actions of his sons, and directly supported them in many of them.
Eleanor was blatantly abusing her position as First Lady — to a greater degree than has ever been done before or since. Most politicians refuse or divert gifts to charity while they are in Office — go just to avoid the look of impropriety. Eleanor and Franklin had no such moral compunctions. Let us also remember that payola to Eleanor was shared bootie to the President himself.
Worst of all was the actions of FDR for himself. He really did abuse his official powers for his own gains — and that just reflects on what kind of person he was. While most were relatively minor compared to what he could have received they still resulted in substantial graft. Not only were his actions flawed, but he was blatantly hypocritical about it.
This was the most corrupt and blatant abuse of official power for personal gain by the First Family that has ever happened in this nation — and this includes Harding, Nixon (Agnew), Clinton and Grant. While others corruption was in their cabinets (except Clinton) — this graft and corruption was tied to the President and his immediate family and to degrees that boggle the mind to this day.
Absolute Power corrupts absolutely — and FDR had more power than any other President in history — and more control over more relative wealth than probably any one person ever will, or should.
FDR’s Failed Moral Leadership
A new book, Where They Stand, written by National Interest editor Robert W. Merry, shows that American historians consistently list Franklin Delano Roosevelt just behind Lincoln and Washington on their ratings of American presidents. A recent issue of Newsweek lists FDR as the top modern president. Years ago, the Schlesinger Presidential Poll even rated FDR first among all presidents.
I believe these judgments cannot be sustained. Correcting them might help Americans clarify what kind of character they want in the presidents they elect.
FDR was certainly influential. After all, even if economists on the right and left debate whether it was his stimulus policies or World War II rearmament that finally ended depression era unemployment, FDR certainly bolstered American confidence after the Depression and during World War Two, while greatly extending the scope of American government.
My quarrel with FDR’s high rating is that in judging a president, it is not just achievements or influence—the criteria used by most historians–that matter. One must also consider whether a President’s conduct is based on moral principles and lives up to such American ideals as truth, dignity and compassion.
Some might argue that President Nixon’s opening to China or founding of the Environmental Protection Agency were great achievements, but historians consistently rate Nixon near the bottom. Why? Because of his terrible abuse of power. Similarly, no one rates President James Buchanan highly. Buchanan did preserve a pre-Civil War peace, but only by acquiescing in the continuation and protection of the immoral institution of slavery. And Warren Harding always appears at or near the bottom of presidential rankings, despite presiding over the great economic recovery of 1921. Why?Because the Teapot Dome and other ethical failings of his administration that came to light after his death, while not attributed directly to Harding, still have stained his moral standing with historians.
In that light, it is time to take another look at FDR. Whatever one may think of his overall domestic and foreign policies, FDR made two—and perhaps four–of the most cowardly, immoral decisions by any president in our history.
First was FDR’s executive order at the beginning of World War Two to intern—by modern definitions one could use the word “enslave”–over a hundred thousand west coast American citizens and aliens with one-sixteenth or more Japanese blood. This action was later criticized in the Yale Law Journal by Eugene Rostow as similar to “the pseudo-genetics of the Nazis.”
It’s not as if FDR acted in ignorance. He ignored his own Attorney General, Frances Biddle, who initially ridiculed the “Armchair strategists and Junior G-men” pushing for internment with no evidence of sabotage. He also ignored his FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover—not usually known as a defender of civil liberties—who, referring to “public hysteria,” stated “The necessity for mass evacuation is based primarily upon public and political pressure rather than on factual data.”
Instead, FDR sided with Assistant Secretary of War, John J. McCloy, who, referring to the American citizens involved, believed “we can … cover the legal situation … in spite of the Constitution.” Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson weighed in, citing military necessity, although General Mark Clark, in a report to Chief of Staff George Marshall, found “mass evacuation was unnecessary.”
The internment of thousands continued into 1945, and while the war was by then clearly decided and thousands of Japanese-American young men had served with distinction on the European front, FDR did not back off, reconsider, apologize, or offer compensation. These tasks would be left to successors Harry Truman and Gerald Ford, and the 1988 Congress and Ronald Reagan.
It’s one thing to accept the historic institution of slavery, as our founding fathers did, and ponder how to get rid of it. It’s another to initiate racial internment as FDR did, almost a century after Lincoln brought about the abolition of racial slavery.
Along with this act of immoral commission came a disgraceful act of omission. That was FDR’s failure to take the most obvious steps to mitigate or stop the worst genocide in history: the Holocaust.
Roosevelt was silent in the thirties as Hitler began his anti–Semitic policies. FDR was silent in 1940 as the ship St. Louis hovered off the coast of Florida with almost a thousand German Jews unsuccessfully looking for refuge. FDR was silent in 1941 as his State Department refused to apply unused quotas to Jewish refugees seeking entrance to the U.S. FDR was silent in 1942 as news arrived of the deaths of millions of Jews in Nazi death camps.
Roosevelt turned down meetings with those Jewish leaders who pressed for action. He personally refused to even consider a request from his Interior Secretary, Harold Ickes, to use the Virgin Islands as a refuge for Jews fleeing Europe.
Again, as shown in Christian minister David Wyman’s book Abandonment of the Jews, it was not because FDR did not hear arguments to act. Treasury Department officials under Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr. pushed hard for rescue of Jews through Switzerland. One treasury lawyer, Randolph Paul, commented, “I don’t know how we can blame the Germans for killing them when we are doing this. The law calls [it] para-delicto, of equal guilt…”
At a public rally in 1943 honoring the far greater efforts of Sweden and Denmark to rescue Jews, the former head of the Office of Price Administration, Leon Henderson, called the allied governments and their leaders guilty of “moral cowardice” for failing to offer refuge from the Nazi extermination efforts. The problem, said Henderson, has been “avoided, submerged, postponed, played down, and resisted with all the forms of political force available to powerful governments.”
Many newspapers editorialized, demanding action. The Hearst papers repeated the refrain “This is not a Christian or Jewish question. It is a human question and concerns men and women of all creeds.” But until way too late, all these pleas were to no avail.
Our first president, George Washington, to whom historians compare Roosevelt, spoke incessantly of how America must offer refuge for those suffering religious persecution. It was a message that FDR ignored—or just forgot.
FDR’s inaction was capped by his refusal in 1944 to order the bombing of the Auschwitz gas chambers and railroads leading there despite the pleas of the Slovak Jewish underground leaders, the Polish and Czech governments in exile, and the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People. FDR followed the advice of his Assistant Secretary of War McCloy and his Department, which, without consulting European Air Force commanders, called this action “impracticable” because it would divert resources from the war effort. Yet with allied control of the skies and hundreds of planes bombing the area all around Auschwitz, including oil and rubber installations adjoining Auschwitz, one plane dropping a few bombs, while killing hundreds, could have prevented the extermination of thousands.
There is still a third immoral decision that FDR made, involving the cover up of the Soviet massacre in Katyn, Poland. This cover up has come to light with the release just recently of thousands of declassified documents from the National Archives. According to scholars and press reports, these documents show that secret coded messages from American POWs during 1943 to the highest levels of American military intelligence, made clear that the Soviets had murdered 22,000 Polish officers in 1940 and tried to blame the deaths on the Nazis. The information coincided with the known direct communication to FDR by his Special Emissary to the Balkans, George Earle, reaching the same conclusion. The cover-up, including suppressing broadcasts of Polish-Americans during the war, and squelching Special Emissary Earle’s efforts to publish his views while exiling him to Samoa, was either designed to win the Polish-American vote in 1944 or affect American policies toward the Soviet Union and post war Poland, or, more likely, both. It can be said that in this case FDR did not initiate action such as the internment of thousands of Japanese-Americans, or refuse to take action, such as stopping the loss of thousands of Jewish lives, since he learned of the massacre well after it occurred, and could not have stopped it. Yet the cover up decision had grave future consequences and does not show great moral character.
The fourth issue regarding FDR’s morality or lack thereof, involves his spotty record in the fight against racial segregation. To his credit, FDR signed an executive order banning discrimination in the defense industry, but at the same time he reneged on a promise to African-American leader Philip Randolph to desegregate the armed forces, leaving that to his successor, Harry Truman. Truman became the first president to address the NAACP, the first president to send a full scale civil rights message to Congress and the first Democratic President to stand up to the Southern Democrats by accepting a civil rights plank at the 1948 convention. Just to make sure the message was received, Truman two weeks after the convention issued an executive order mandating equal opportunity in the armed forces and federal civil service, thus insuring that Democratic segregationists would run their own candidate and greatly risking Truman’s reelection. FDR in a far more commanding political position, expended no political capital on desegregation during his four election campaigns. As with the Katyn massacre, we can say that FDR did not initiate segregation nor could he have completely stopped it. He just didn’t exercise great moral leadership.
Of course, FDR’s apologists can blame the intense anti-Japanese sentiments, anti-Semitism, pro-Soviet feelings, and the power of segregationists in Congress for these four actions or non-actions. But that is precisely the point: great moral leadership sometimes means going against the baser elements of public feeling, and on that score, despite numerous opportunities, FDR failed. Lincoln stood against widespread anti-Negro feelings during the Civil War, and Washington led a revolution against British rule which until the end, commanded much but probably never overwhelming popular support.
One would think a listing of American presidents should measure not only their achievements but their commitment, in the face of hostility, to American ideals and morality. Lists of our greatest presidents typically don’t include those with great moral failings.
American historians might do well to consider morality in all their presidential rankings, even if it means downgrading one of their political favorites.
Now that we have totally beaten up FDR, lets wrap this article by roundly trouncing Biden.
Joe Biden: The Most Corrupt President Since Warren Harding: With both men, the rampant corruption is stunning.
The headlines about the massive griftocracy that is the Biden family are ramping up.
In the article, Dov says, among other very pointed reveals, this:
In contemplating the pay-to-play corruption, nowhere has there ever been as much evident and overt financial filth under the color of the White House as there has been in the Biden orbit. Some day, perhaps in another era, someone will look back when there no longer is a Left to cover up Biden nonfeasance, malfeasance, and misfeasance. Someday, the entire story will come out: Biden’s lifetime of manipulating White assembly-line Rust Belt union workers, playing them for dummies, and posing as a working-class stiff from Scranton who rides the trains. Give the guy his due: In one solitary area of life, Biden truly figured out and discovered the color of his parachute, the one and only area where he really does excel: making wealthy people of nuclear family mediocrities by empowering and enabling them to leverage his government roles to gain them insider access to millions. George Neumayr has written on it. So has Peter Schweizer. But there always is more because, for the Bidens — especially Hunter — it is never enough.
Over there at the New York Post, here is the headline from Mary Kay Linge: “Hunter Biden’s firm helped China gain control of electric-car mineral: report.”
Devine’s book, as released excerpts show in vivid detail, reveals a family that has spent the decades of Joe Biden’s career grifting off of his positions as U.S. senator from Delaware and vice president of the United States.
The New York Post editorial board writes of all this: “At the very least, the Chinese were paying the vice president’s son for government access. But it also now seems that the Chinese were paying Joe Biden millions through his son.”
The Post, which, recall, had their initial scoop of the Hunter laptop in the stretch of the 2020 campaign ignored by Big Media or blocked outright by Big Tech, adds this: “We’ve asked these questions of the administration and it ignores us, knowing that CNN, The Washington Post, The New York Times, et al. have its back and will never press things.”
What all of this recalls is no less than the presidency of one Warren Harding, the Republican senator from Ohio elected in a landslide in 1920 — exactly 100 years ago. Personable, popular Warren Harding seemingly had everything to be a great president. His Cabinet picks were stellar. Charles Evans Hughes, the former governor of New York, 1916 GOP presidential nominee, and ex-Supreme Court justice, was a beacon of personal integrity and ability as secretary of state. So too was the secretary of the treasury, the legendary banker Andrew Mellon. This is not to mention the widely respected secretary of commerce, Herbert Hoover.
But Harding had a problem. Just as Joe Biden’s problem is his personal family — his son Hunter, his brothers and sister — Harding’s problem was his political family from Ohio dubbed “the Ohio Gang.” Wikipedia describes the Ohio Gang thusly:
“The Ohio Gang was a gang of politicians and industry leaders closely surrounding Warren G. Harding, the 29th President of the United States of America. Many of these individuals came into Harding’s personal orbit during his tenure as a state-level politician in Ohio, hence the name.
During the Harding administration, several members of the Ohio Gang became involved in financial scandals. These included the Teapot Dome scandal and apparent malfeasance at the U.S. Department of Justice, some of which ended in prison terms and a suicide.”
It should be noted that while the term “Ohio Gang” became an epithet in the political vernacular of the day, it did indeed include members who were not from Ohio. But what all had in common was that they were very much instrumental members in Harding’s political family.
Two members of the Harding Cabinet, Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall and Attorney General Harry Daugherty would go to prison for accepting bribes. The infamous Teapot Dome scandal — now regarded as the greatest political scandal in American history until Watergate — involved the lease of Navy oil reserves in Teapot Dome, Wyoming. Fall allowed the oil companies to get the leases at low rates with no competitive bidding — after accepting bribes to do so. Fall has the historical asterisk of being the first U.S. Cabinet member to be sent to federal prison.
But whether it is a president’s political family, as with Harding, or his personal family, as with Biden, the rampant corruption is stunning. And the fact that the mainstream media effectively tries to ignore the blatant scandal of the Biden family will only further the mainstream media’s decided loss of credibility with millions of Americans.
Can you imagine — can you imagine — if the players at the heart of the Biden scandals were named . . . Trump? If Don Jr. had ever come close to what Hunter Biden has actually done — and done repeatedly — he would have been relentlessly tracked and prosecuted until there were no more cows left to come home.
What is on vivid display with both the Biden family and the protection it is getting from the liberal media is nothing less than the massive corruption of the American political system. This kind of systemic corruption is exactly why so many millions of Americans elected Donald Trump in the first place.
Add to this rampant Biden corruption the abysmal failures of the Biden policies, from soaring inflation and gas prices to the Afghanistan disaster to the chaos of the southern border to his handling of COVID, and it’s no wonder Joe Biden’s poll numbers have plummeted, with Kamala Harris’s lurching even further south.
Not to mention that this is exactly why a headline of another poll reads this way: “Donald Trump Beats Joe Biden in Key Swing States in 2024 Matchup, New Poll Shows.”
Exclusive: Joe Biden Turned Corruption Into The Family Business
Long before Hunter Biden ever considered joining a Ukrainian energy company named Burisma, Joe Biden and his family used his power and position to leverage business deals with businesses seeking his influence, according to a new book. Joe Biden personally benefited from his political influence in a series of fortuitous real estate landfalls, even as virtually every member of the Biden family claimed its own piece of the pie, writes New York Post columnist Miranda Devine in her new book, Laptop from Hell: Hunter Biden, Big Tech, and the Dirty Secrets the President Tried to Hide.
Decades ago, the president decided Hunter Biden would act as the family’s cash cow Devine says. “Hunter, who would have preferred to be an artist or a writer, was assigned the role of paying the bills for the rest of the family through lucrative grace-and-favor jobs and sweetheart deals facilitated by Joe’s network of connections in Delaware and, later, throughout the world,” she writes.
In addition to records from his missing laptop showing that Hunter held 10% of a Chinese business deal for “the big guy,” Devine quotes an email Hunter wrote to his oldest daughter, Naomi, in 2019:
I hope you all can do what I did and pay for everything for this entire family for 30 years. It’s really hard. But don’t worry, unlike Pop, I won’t make you give me half your salary.
Hunter later allegedly complained to his aunt, who raised him after his mother’s tragic death, that although Joe Biden co-signed student loans for Hunter and Beau Biden, he expected Hunter to pay off both loans. “Dad never paid one dime,” Hunter wrote in an email, the book says.
Devine says she found evidence that Joe Biden benefited from Hunter’s deals in multiple emails, such as one concerning “JRB bills.” In another email, detailed by Devine, dated April 12, 2018, Hunter gets locked out of one of his Wells Fargo accounts, because “[m]y dad has been using most lines on this account which I’ve through the gracious offerings of Eric [Schwerin, a close family adviser] have paid for past 11 years.” When Schwerin writes about the amount of money in “my” account, his scare quotes imply its contents belong to him in name only.
Devine traces how this began decades earlier, in Delaware.
The Biden family grift is ‘The Delaware Way’
Devine writes that the entire Biden family benefited from the “grift” run by Joe Biden — including the future president himself.
In 1975, first-term U.S. Senator Joe Biden bought a “grand 10,000-square-foot five-bedroom” DuPont mansion, “with pool house, basketball court, and manicured gardens” for $185,000, Devine writes. In 1996, he would sell the estate for $1.2 million to John Cochran, the vice-chairman of MBNA . Contemporaneous media accounts suggest that’s more than the property was worth — and Cochran financed that gain while selling his own home in nearby Maryland at a significant loss. Luckily, MBNA reimbursed Cochran $330,115 for making the move.
The New York Times reported that “Lunch Bucket Joe” upgraded to his next mansion with the help of campaign donors and “bankers with an interest in legislation before the Senate, who bought his old house for top dollar, sold him four acres at cost and lent him $500,000 to build his new home.”
The same year Devine reports, MBNA gave Hunter Biden his first job fresh out of law school, with a salary of $100,000 a year, as well as a signing bonus. Biden stayed at the firm for two years. He then moved into another $100,000-a-year job at the Clinton administration’s Commerce Department upon the recommendation of Biden lawyer William Oldaker in 1998, then to Oldaker’s lobbying firm: Oldaker, Biden & Belair.
The Biden family cashes in
Joe Biden’s younger brother, Jimmy Biden, has been a lifelong beneficiary of the Biden name. “In the 1970s, as Joe was entering the Senate and taking a seat on the Banking Committee, James obtained unusually generous loans from lenders who later faced federal regulatory issues,” Politico noted. Devine says “the grift” would continue, as Jim partnered with Hunter Biden in a series of international investment schemes including in Ukraine and China.
“Don’t worry about investors,” the president’s younger brother Jim Biden reportedly told investors in his hedge fund, Paradigm Global Advisors. “We’ve got people all around the world who want to invest in Joe Biden.”
Sometimes the payoffs came directly from the U.S. taxpayer. Hunter’s aunt Val received an appointment to a United Nations position that paid $26,000 over four months. Her daughters, Hunter’s cousins Missy and Casey, received full-time jobs in the Obama administration, as did Hunter’s business partner, Eric Schwerin.
But more often, the Biden family ran private enterprises that seemed to benefit from their family connections. In 2009 Joe Biden’s younger brother, Frank, engaged in casino and real estate deals in Costa Rica, after his brother flew to the isthmus, where he now handled policy for the Obama administration — much as he handled Ukrainian policy during his tussle with the government over a prosecutor looking into Burisma.
Frank touted his relationship with “my brother” in an advertisement for Boca Raton-based Berman Law Group, which pays Frank as an adviser although he is not a lawyer. As The Daily Wire reported, Frank Biden joined the environment-focused law firm “the same day that Joe, then a Democratic presidential candidate, announced his campaign’s environmental plan” in July 2018.
Family expectations reached such heights that Devine says, when Jim negotiated for his daughter Caroline Biden — whom, he emailed Hunter, had never “had a steady work environment” — to take a marketing position with an $85,000 annual salary, she hit the roof. “I have never made this little money in my life,” she replied. “I cannot survive on this.”
Yet, as Devine notes, the grift went on even as Joe Biden mounted his third presidential campaign.
“Aren’t you concerned that you’re going to put your brother’s  presidential campaign at risk? You know, the Chinese, the stuff that you guys have been doing already in 2015 and 2016, around the world?” Tony Bobulinski asked brother Jim. “Jim chuckled and looked knowingly at Bobulinski,” writes Devine, before telling Bobulinski the Biden clan survives thanks to “plausible deniability.”
A Wilmington businessman named Sam Waltz once told Nation magazine, “Joe says that when someone helps his family, it’s just like helping Joe.” If that’s the case, an innumerable group of special interests and foreign governments have helped themselves into Joe Biden’s good favor through the years.
Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute and senior contributor at Breitbart News, explained how Joe Biden’s family members — dubbed the Biden Five — monetized political connections and influence in an interview aired on Tuesday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host Alex Marlow.
The Biden Five is composed of Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden; his younger brothers Frank Biden and James Biden, his sister Valerie Biden, and his daughter Ashley Biden.
Marlow highlighted Schweizer’s latest book, Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America’s Progressive Elite, as “the gateway into understanding not just Joe Biden and the Biden family, but also the entire institutional Democratic Party at this moment and their corruption.”
Marlow described Schweizer’s investigation of the Biden family as yielding “indisputable evidence that Joe Biden is running a crime-like syndicate where he is, if nothing else, enabling his family members to get rich, without really any noticeable skill, using the American people’s good name.”
Schweizer noted the internationalization of the Biden family’s business dealings following Joe Biden becoming vice president.
“There’s no question about it. Joe Biden is the planet around which the moons of his family travel,” Schweizer said, “and the gravitational pull is Joe Biden’s power and his position, and the family has enriched themselves based on the positions he has.”
Schweizer continued, “Before Joe Biden is vice president of the United States, they’re really not doing many international deals, but once Joe Biden becomes vice president of the United States, suddenly, they’ve got foreign governments and foreign entities falling over themselves to cut them in on deals that they have no background or no expertise in. There’s a direct link between the corrupt acts of the family and the policy positions and power that Joe Biden has.”
1 – Hunter Biden
Hunter Biden joined his father aboard Air Force Two in December of 2013 on a flight to China. Ten days later, he secured over $1 billion in financing from the state-run Bank of China for a newly launched private equity firm he co-founded.
Schweizer explained, “Before Joe Biden becomes vice president of the United States, Hunter is a lobbyist for online gambling companies in Europe. That’s what he’s doing. That’s his professional background. Once his dad becomes vice president of the United States, he suddenly starts doing a whole host of global deals beginning with China. He flies with his dad on Air Force Two to Beijing China in December 2013.”
“Within 10 days of that trip, Hunter Biden joins the board of directors and gets an equity stake in a Chinese government-financed investment firm called BHR Partners, Bohai Harvest RST,” Schweizer added. “He has no backgroundin private equity. He has no background in China. They put him on the board precisely because his father is vice president and precisely because his father is taking pro-China positions on the global stage.”
Schweizer focused on Hunter Biden’s lack of expertise related to either private equity or China as indicative of the Chinese government’s rationale for funding BHR.
In 2015, the Obama administration approved the sale of a strategically sensitive American company, Henniges Automotive, in a joint-purchase shared by a Chinese military contractor and BHR. The foreign acquisition required special approval from the Committee of Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) due to the company’s manufacturing of technology with military applications.
Schweizer remarked, “Hunter Biden’s business partners were quite explicit that he doesn’t bring anything to the table. He’s not bringing any money. He’s not bringing any expertise. He was the, quote, ‘pipeline to the administration,’ meaning the Obama-Biden administration.”
The Chinese Communist Party viewed Hunter Biden as a conduit through which political influence with the Obama administration could be procured, Schweizer held.
“There’s a very clear reason why the Chinese government wants the son of the vice president sitting on their board involved in these deals,” Schweizer said, “because they need the approval of the Obama-Biden administration, which is, of course, what they get when they start acquiring these companies.”
Joe Biden repeatedly denied having discussions with Hunter Biden about his son’s foreign financial dealings. “I’ve never discussed my business or their business, my sons’ or daughter’s,” said Joe Biden in 2019. And I’ve never discussed them because they know where I have to do my job and that’s it and they have to make their own judgments.”
Joe Biden previously declared the existence of an “absolute wall” between himself and his family members’ business. He said, I have never discussed, with my son or my brother or with anyone else, anything having to do with their businesses. Period.”
Laws prohibiting political bribery include transference of money to elected officials’ family members, Schweizer noted.
Schweizer pointed to a photograph of Joe Biden posing with oligarch Kenes Rakishev of Kazakhstan, who once reportedly explored business with Hunter Biden as further evidence of the former vice president’s deception in denying knowledge of his family’s financial dealings.
A recent report from the Daily Mail suggests the procurement of political favors from Joe Biden via Hunter Biden by Yelena Baturina, a Russian oligarch who wired $3.5 million to Rosemont Seneca, a private investment firm co-owned by Hunter Biden. Baturina’s brother said the consultancy fee was “a payment to enter the American market.”
Schweizer identified Hunter Biden’s previous position on the board of directors for Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, as further evidence of Joe Biden’s monetization of political influence through his son.
“[Hunter Biden] was getting a million dollars a year from a corrupt Ukrainian energy company,” Schweizer stated. “He had no background energy. He had no background in Ukraine. We now know with emails that have been released that he was working at Burisma’s direction to try to deflect investigations into Burisma, which is a very corrupt company run by corrupt oligarchs.”
Schweizer highlighted Joe Biden’s admission in 2018 that he pressured Ukraine to terminate Viktor Shokin during his vice presidential tenure. At the time, Shokin was a Ukrainian prosecutor investigating corruptio? on the part of Burisma.
The Biden family’s lack of expertise in fields within which they have been paid millions of dollars from foreign governments and interests reveals their sale of political influence through Joe Biden, Schweizer assessed.
“What are the Bidens selling?” asked Schweizer. “What product or what service are they providing these Chinese companies [or] a Ukrainian energy company? They don’t know anything about the energy business. They don’t know anything about private finance [or] equity companies. They don’t know anything about that, so the point is these foreign entities are paying the Bidens money — millions of dollars. The question is, what are they getting in return?
Schweizer concluded, “These are not charities. These are not philanthropies. They are expecting and they are getting something in return, or they would stop paying.”
2 – Frank Biden
Companies owned by Frank Biden, Joe Biden’s youngest brother, received millions of dollars in taxpayer loans related to real estate development in the Caribbean during Joe Biden’s vice presidency.
Schweizer said, “[Frank Biden was] basically was a real estate agent — not very successful — in Florida. Suddenly decides he’s going to go into the renewable energy business. [He had] no background in any of that. He set up companies in Costa Rica [and] sets up another company in Jamaica, and lo and behold, gets involved in deals that get taxpayer-backed loans from the U.S. government — or more specifically, from the Obama-Biden administration, to do renewable energy projects in Costa Rica and Jamaica.”
Frank Biden’s business interests also received millions of dollars in grants from the Department of Education towards the construction of charter schools. Joe Biden’s youngest brother described his family name as a “tremendous asset” that delivered “automatic acceptance” for government approvals of school projects and securing public funding.
“These are our grants that are discretionary, which means the Department of Education can decide who they want to give them to,” Schweizer explained. “[Frank Biden] took in millions of dollars from the Education Department while his brother was vice president of the United States.”
Schweizer added, “[Frank Biden] actually had a meeting involving his companies in the Oval Office with Barack Obama and just a couple of other individuals. If his name had been Frank Jones instead of Frank Biden, I doubt any of that would have happened.”
3 – James Biden
James Biden, the younger brother of Joe Biden, worked as executive vice president of HillStone International, a firm that received $1.5 billion in government contracts during the Obama administrations, including a contract to build 100,000 homes in Iraq as part of an international development project.
Kevin Justice, founder and president of Hillstone International, visited the White House in 2010 and met with Michele Smith, a top aide to then-Vice President Joe Biden who worked as a liaison to “global government officials and business executives.”
James Biden had no background in construction or international development when he joined the company. Hillstone International’s company profile of James Biden touted his familial connection to Joe Biden as a professional attribute.
“Within six months [of HillStone’s founding], they land these billion-dollar contracts to build homes in Iraq,” recalled Schweizer. “This is part of the Iraqi reconstruction after the war, and who is in charge of the Iraqi reconstruction at the time? Joe Biden, his brother. Now we have a third member of the family, who because of Joe’s position, is cashing in. In this case, taxpayer money is flowing to a member of the Biden family.”
4 – Valerie Biden
Joe Biden’s sister Valerie Biden, who previously managed Joe Biden’s senatorial campaigns in Delaware, financially benefited from donations to her brother’s later presidential campaigns. In 2008, she sent $2.5 million to her political communications firm from Citizens for Biden and Biden for President Inc.
Schweizer described Valerie Biden’s enrichment via Joe Biden’s campaign funding as “legal graft.” He recalled, “When Joe Biden ran for the senate in Delaware — obviously a very safe for him, there hasn’t been a Republican in there for 40 years — what does Joe do? Joe hires his sister to run his campaigns [and] hires her firm as a consultant. As a result, millions of dollars flow to Valerie Biden.”
“It speaks to the pattern [of] the Bidens looking at opportunities to take money, whether it’s taxpayer money, political money, or business money, and steer it to their family members for their benefit,” Schweizer explained.
5 – Ashley Biden
Joe Biden assisted his daughter Ashley Biden by helping her husband, Howard Krein, launch healthcare company StartUp Health in 2011. He arranged a meeting with former President Barack Obama in the Oval Office weeks after the company’s founding.
StartUp Health’s meeting with Barack Obama was a “huge hookup,” Schweizer explained, noting StartUp Health’s securing of an invitation to Health Data-Palooza, a joint conference run by federal government and health industry.
“Health Data-Palooza is very prestigious and very hard to get into,” Schweizer stated. “They get hooked up and they are put front and center in this very important conference, and that’s the beginning of the favors that happen.” Joe Biden gave several private speeches and briefings to the partners and investors of Howard Krein’s business.
Joe Biden’s inside knowledge regarding the Obama administration’s planned healthcare policies afforded Howard Krein a competitive advantage relative to competing healthcare companies, Schweizer held.
Krein is now advising Joe Biden’s campaign on coronavirus matters while StartUp Health plans to invest $1 million in companies developing goods and services pertaining to the novel virus. Politico reported, “Krein simultaneously advising the campaign and venturing into Covid investing could pose conflict-of-interest concerns for a Biden administration or simply create the awkward appearance of Krein profiting off his father-in-law’s policies.”
Schweizer credited the Biden family with expanding the frontiers of American political corruption.
“The Bidens, to me, are unprecedented in the extent and scope of the corruption, because I’ve been doing this for a long time,” Schweizer determined. “I’ve exposed Republicans and Democrats. The most that I’ve ever seen up to this point was a Republican senator from Missouri that had three family members engaged in this kind of behavior. The Bidens now have five, making the Biden Five, in my mind, the the reigning champs when it comes to corrupt behavior in Washington, D.C.”
So I think that just about wraps it up my comparison between FDR and Biden. As you can see there are quite a few commonalities between the two. I am sorry if I burst your FDR or Biden Bubble. I just tell like it is.
time.com, “How Joe Biden Is Positioning Himself as a Modern FDR.” By Charlotte Alter; “The Roosevelt Myth.” By John T. Flynn; “Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor.” By Robert B. Stinnett; brewminate.com, “Presidential Rivalry and Bad Blood in American History.”; news.sky.com, “No mea culpa for all the bad blood, but Trump has bowed to public pressure: Donald Trump’s fate was sealed by mounting legal defeats and the insurmountable margins, not the controversial advocates.” By Cordelia Lynch; lifesitenews.com, “A staggering partial list of Democrats’ flagrant corruption in the 2020 election: In state after state, Democrats put the lie to the claim that America had a ‘free and fair’ election last year.” By Raymond Wolfe; spac.umd.edu. “Social Media’s Impact on the 2020 Presidential Election: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” By Hayleigh Moore and Mia Hinckle; westernjournal.com, “Watch: Biden Peddled Lies About Rittenhouse During 2020 Election, Now He’s Media Target.” By Isa Cox;
Virtually everyone in a position of authority, from Washington to Honolulu, was culpable for being so thoroughly taken by surprise by the attack on Pearl Harbor. By Paul Stillwell; “The Tragedy of Patton: A Soldier’s Date with Destiny.” By Robert Orlando;
providencemag.com, “The Debacle of Biden’s Afghanistan Withdrawal.” By Mark Melton; thehill.com, “Biden’s Afghanistan debacle will cast a long shadow over transatlantic security.” BY DANIEL KOCHIS; igeek.com, “FDR: Corruption”; theamericanconservative.com, “FDR’s Failed Moral Leadership.” John R. Miller; spectator.org. “Joe Biden: The Most Corrupt President Since Warren Harding: With both men, the rampant corruption is stunning.” By Jeffrey Lord; thedailywire.com, “Exclusive: Joe Biden Turned Corruption Into The Family Business, New Book Alleges.” By Ben Johnson; breitbart.com, “‘The Biden Five’: The Definitive Breakdown of One of America’s Most Corrupt Families.” Robert Kraychik; usni.org, “Plenty of Blame to Go Around: Virtually everyone in a position of authority, from Washington to Honolulu, was culpable for being so thoroughly taken by surprise by the attack on Pearl Harbor.” By Paul Stiwell;
What Caused the Great Depression?
The definitive guide to the key events and policies that caused the Great Depression.
Few areas of historical research have provoked such intensive study as the causes of America’s Great Depression—and for good reason. Tens of millions of humans suffered intense misery and despair.
How bad was the Great Depression? The dimensions of the economic catastrophe in America and the rest of the world cannot be captured fully by quantitative data alone, but here are some figures that might help put this economic nightmare into perspective:
- From 1929–1933, production at the nation’s factories, mines, and utilities fell by more than half.
- People’s real disposable incomes dropped 28%.
- Stock prices collapsed to one-tenth of their pre-crash height.
- The number of unemployed Americans rose from 1.6 million in 1929 to 12.8 million in 1933.
- At the height of the Depression, one of every four workers was out of a job.
Because of these unspeakable traumas, the Great Depression and its causes have remained at the forefront of economic study and debate. The Great Depression was a complex event, and understanding what happened is no small challenge. In this guide, we aim to give you a clear picture of the key historical figures, policies, and events that caused and extended America’s Great Depression.
We’ll start by breaking down the timeline of how exactly the Depression unfolded, which we’ll break up into into four distinct phases.
The Four Phases of the Great Depression
When you think of the Great Depression, probably the first thing that comes to mind is the massive stock market crash of 1929, when stock prices plummeted spectacularly and investors dumped their stocks as fast as they could. The ensuing panic was memorable indeed, but it was only one aspect of the Depression. In fact, the Depression had four distinct phases:
- The government’s “easy money” policies caused an artificial economic boom and a subsequent crash.
- President Herbert Hoover’s interventionist policies after the crash suppressed the self-adjusting aspect of the market, thus preventing recovery and prolonging the recession.
- After Hoover left office, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “New Deal” expanded Hoover’s interventionism into nearly every aspect of the American economy, thus deepening the Depression and extending it ever longer.
- Labor laws such as the Wagner Act struck the final blow to the remaining healthy sectors of the economy, dragging the last remaining bulwarks of productivity to their knees.
Each of these phases are marked by distinct events, and each had their own specific causes. Together they produced one common result: business stagnation and unemployment on a scale never before seen in the United States. Let’s examine each phase and its causes in turn.
1. Easy Money: A Series of False Signals
The first phase of the Great Depression was a massive boom during the “Roaring 20’s,” which inevitably burst in 1929. In order to understand this crash, we first have to understand the boom and how it happened.
For various reasons, the government in the 1920’s created monetary policies that ballooned the quantity of money and credit in the economy. A great boom resulted, followed soon after by a painful day of reckoning. None of America’s depressions prior to 1929, however, lasted more than four years and most of them were over in two. The Great Depression lasted for a dozen years because the government compounded its monetary errors with a series of harmful interventions. But how exactly did the government inflate the economy, and how did that cause the boom and inevitable bust?
Monetary Policy, Interest Rates, and the Business Cycle
The key to understanding how the government’s policies caused the initial boom and bust of the Great Depression lies in understanding how businessmen and investors use interest rates to decide how and when to spend their money.
Investors rely on interest rates to gauge the level of risk for various investments. In simplistic terms, a relatively low interest rate for a given loan signals to potential investors that taking out the loan is probably a safe bet; a high interest rate, on the other hand, signals to investors that money can bet better invested elsewhere. The government’s expansion of the money supply artificially reduces and thus falsifies the interest rates, and thereby misguides businessmen in their investment decisions.
In the belief that declining rates indicate growing supplies of capital savings, investors embark upon new production projects. The creation of money gives rise to an economic boom. It causes prices to rise, especially prices of capital goods used for business expansion.
The costs of capital goods used for business expansion soar ever higher until business is no longer profitable. It is at this point that the decline begins. In order to prolong the boom, the monetary authorities may continue to inject new money until finally, frightened by the prospects of a run-away inflation, they being to contract the money supply. The boom that was built on the quicksand of inflation then comes to a sudden end.
The ensuing recession is a period of repair and readjustment. Prices and costs adjust anew to consumer choices and preferences.
Most importantly, interest rates readjust to reflect once more the actual supply of and demand deposits in savings. The malinvestments are abandoned or written down. Business costs are reduced through through various means until business can once more be profitably conducted, capital investments earn interest, and the market economy functions smoothly again.
Changes in the supply of money in the economy do have an effect on economic activity. This effect works through the fluctuations of interest rates, which in turn cause fluctuations in business activity.
When money is provided to the market in the form of credit expansion through the banking system, business firms erroneously view this as an increase in the supply of capital. Due to the decreased interest rate in the loan market brought about by the fictitious “increase” in capital, businesses increase their investments in long-range projects that appear profitable.
In addition, other factors as well can cause a discrepancy between the natural rate of interest and the rate which is paid in the loan market. Government policies with regard to debt creation, monetization, bank deposit guarantees, and taxation, can effectively externalize the risk associated with running budget deficits, thus artificially lowering loan rates in the market.
Either of these two influences on interest rates, or a combination of the two, can and do influence economic activity by inducing businesses to make investments that would otherwise not be made. Since real savings in the economy, however, do not increase due to these interventionist measures, there is no real money for businesses to finance the supplies and workers needed for production and growth. And thus the business boom must ultimately give way to a bust.
The Artificial Boom of the Roaring 20’s
Now that you can see how manipulations of interest rates and money supply can affect the economy, we can take a look at the boom and bust business cycle leading up to the Great Depression.
The spectacular crash of 1929 followed five years of significant credit expansion by the Federal Reserve System under the Coolidge Administration. In 1924, after a sharp decline in business, the Reserve banks suddenly created some $500 million in new credit, which led to a bank credit expansion of over $4 billion in less than one year.
While the immediate effects of this new powerful expansion of the nation’s money and credit were seemingly beneficial, initiating a new economic boom and effacing a 1924 decline, the ultimate outcome was most disastrous. It was the beginning of a monetary policy that led to the stock market crash in 1929 and the following depression.
The Federal Reserve System launched a further burst of inflation in 1927, the result being that total currency outside banks plus demand and time deposits in the United States increased from $44.51 billion at the end of June, 1924, to $55.17 billion in 1929. The volume of farm and urban mortgages expanded from $16.8 billion in 1921 to $27.1 billion in 1929.
Similar increases occurred in industrial, financial, and state and local government indebtedness. This expansion of money and credit was accompanied by rapidly rising real estate and stock prices. Prices for industrial securities, according to Standard & Poor’s common stock index, rose from 59.4 in June of 1922 to 195.2 in September of 1929. Railroad stock climbed from 189.2 to 446.0, while public utilities rose from 82.0 to 375.
The flood of easy money drove interest rates down, pushed the stock market to dizzy heights, and thus gave birth to the “Roaring Twenties.”
The Inevitable Bust
As the boom matured, business costs rose, interest rates began to readjust upward, and profits began to fall. The easy-money effects of the expansion wore off, and the monetary authorities, fearing price inflation, slowed the growth of the money supply. The manipulation was enough to knock out the shaky supports from underneath the economic house of cards.
After a failed attempt at stabilization in 1928, the Federal Reserve System finally abandoned its easy money policy at the beginning of 1929. It sold government securities and thereby halted the bank credit expansion. It raised its discount rate to 6% in August, 1929. Time-money rates rose to 8%, commercial paper rates to 6%, and call rates to the panic figures of 15% and 20%. The American economy was beginning to readjust to fair value levels. In June, 1929, business activity began to recede. Commodity prices began their retreat in July.
The security market reached its high on September 19 and then, under the pressure of early selling, slowly began to decline. For five more weeks the public nevertheless bought heavily on the way down. More than 100 million shares were traded at the New York Stock Exchange in September. Finally it dawned upon more and more stockholders that the trend had changed.
By early 1929, the Federal Reserve was taking the punch away from the party. It choked off the money supply, raised interest rates, and for the next three years presided over a money supply that shrank by 30%. This deflation following the inflation wrenched the economy from tremendous boom to colossal bust.
Only the sharpest financers saw that the party was coming to an end before most other Americans did. Some even began selling stocks and buying bonds and gold as early as 1928. As Joseph Kennedy said, “only a fool holds out for the top dollar.”
When the masses of investors caught up with forward-looking financers like Kennedy, they sensed the change in Fed policy, and the stampede was underway. The stock market, after nearly two months of moderate decline, plunged on “Black Thursday”—October 24, 1929—as the pessimistic view of large and knowledgeable investors spread.
After the crash in 29, the masses rushed on the banks to withdraw their money. The pressure on banks was great and tended not to decrease with the passage of time. In 1929, 659 banks failed; in 1930, 1,352; in 1931, 2,294, and in 1932, 1,456.
2. Hoover’s Anti-Adjustment Policies
We might have done nothing. That would have been utter ruin. Instead, we met the situation with proposals to private business and the Congress of the most gigantic program of economic defense and counter attack ever evolved in the history of the Republic. —Herbert Hoover
If this crash had been like previous ones, the subsequent hard times might have ended in a year or two. But unprecedented political bungling, starting with the policies of President Herbert Hoover, prolonged the misery for twelve long years.
Unemployment in 1930 averaged a mildly recessionary 8.9%, up from 3.2% in 1929. It shot up rapidly until peaking out at more than 25% in 1933. Until March 1933, these were the years of President Herbert Hoover.
But, as we’ll see, Hoover’s interventionist policies prevented the natural readjustment of the market. He not only signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, which we’ll cover in the next section, but also encouraged businessmen to artificially prop up wages, expanded government spending, set up all manner of government lending facilities, and increased the budget deficit. Along with the Federal Reserve System’s failure to do its job, resulting in a 30% drop in the money supply, Hoover’s interventions were responsible for turning what might have been a severe but swift recession into the Great Depression.
The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act
The Hoover administration passed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff in June 1930. The most protectionist legislation in U.S. history, Smoot-Hawley aimed to prop up prices in the American economy by keeping foreign products out.
The Act raised American tariffs to unprecedented levels, which practically closed our borders to foreign goods. According to most economic historians, this was the crowning folly of the whole period from 1920 to 1933 and the beginning of the real depression.
“Once we raised our tariffs,” wrote Benjamin Anderson,
an irresistible movement all over the world to raise tariffs and to erect other trade barriers, including quotas, began. Protectionism ran wild over the world. Markets were cut off. Trade lines were narrowed. Unemployment in the export industries all over the world grew with great rapidity. Farm prices in the United States dropped sharply through the whole of 1930, but the most rapid rate of decline came following the passage of the tariff bill.
Officials in the administration and in Congress believed that raising trade barriers would force Americans to buy more goods made at home, which would solve the nagging unemployment problem. They ignored an important principle of international commerce: trade is ultimately a two-way street; if foreigners cannot sell their goods here, then they cannot earn the dollars they need to buy here.
Foreign companies and their workers were flattened by Smoot-Hawley’s steep tariff rates, and foreign governments soon retaliated with trade barriers of their own. With their ability to sell in the American market severely hampered, they curtailed their purchases of American goods.
American agriculture was particularly hard hit. With a stroke of the presidential pen, farmers in this country lost nearly a third of their markets. Farm prices plummeted and tens of thousands of farmers went bankrupt. With the collapse of agriculture, rural banks failed in record numbers, dragging down hundreds of thousands of their customers.
Agricultural commodity prices, which had been well above the 1926 base before the crisis, dropped to a low of 47 in the summer of 1932. Crashing prices plunged hundreds of thousands of farmers into bankruptcy. Farm mortgages were foreclosed until various states passed moratoria laws, thus shifting the bankruptcy to countless creditors.
American exports fell from $5.5 billion in 1929 to $1.7 billion in 1932. American agriculture customarily had exported over 20% of its wheat, 55% of its cotton, 40% of its tobacco and lard, and many other products. When international trade and commerce were disrupted, American farming collapsed. In fact, the rapidly growing trade restrictions, including tariffs, quotas, foreign exchange controls, and other devices were generating a world-wide depression.
Hoover’s Taxes, Subsidies, and Relief Schemes
Hoover dramatically increased government spending for subsidy and relief schemes. In the space of one year alone, from 1930 to 1931, the federal government’s share of GNP increased by about one-third.
President Hoover called together the nation’s industrial leaders and pledged them to adopt his program to maintain wage rates and expand construction. He sent a telegram to all the governors, urging cooperative expansion of all public works programs. He expanded Federal public works and granted subsidies to ship construction.
And for the benefit of the suffering farmers, a host of Federal agencies embarked upon price stabilization policies that generated ever larger crops and surpluses which in turn depressed product prices even further. Economic conditions went from bad to worse and unemployment in 1932 averaged 12.4 million.
In this dark hour of human want and suffering, the Federal government struck a final blow. The Revenue Act of 1932 doubled the income tax, the sharpest increase in the Federal tax burden in American history. Under the new Revenue Act:
- Tax exemptions were lowered.
- “Earned income credit” was eliminated.
- Normal tax rates were raised from a range of 1.5% to 5% to a range of 4% to 8%.
- Surtax rates were raised from 20% to a maximum of 55%.
- Corporation tax rates were boosted from 12% to 13.75 and 14.5%.
- Estate taxes were raised.
- Gift taxes were imposed with rates from .75 to 33.5%.
On top of all these, a 10% gasoline tax was imposed, a 3% automobile tax, a telegraph and telephone tax, a 2¢ check tax, and many other excise taxes. And, finally, postal rates were increased substantially.
When state and local governments faced shrinking revenues, they, too, joined the Federal government in imposing new levies. The rate schedules of existing taxes on income and business were increased and new taxes imposed on business income, property, sales, tobacco, liquor, and other products.
Murray Rothbard, in his authoritative work on America’s Great Depression (Van Nostrand, 1963), estimates that the fiscal burden of Federal, state, and local governments nearly doubled during the period, rising from 16% of net private product to 29%. This blow alone would bring any economy to its knees.
3. The New Deal: FDR’s Interventionism
Soon after Herbert Hoover assumed the presidency in 1929, the economy began to decline, and between 1930 and 1933 the contraction assumed catastrophic proportions never experienced before or since in the United States. Disgusted by Hoover’s inability to stem the collapse, in 1932 the voters elected Franklin Delano Roosevelt, along with a heavily Democratic Congress, and set in motion the radical restructuring of government’s role in the economy known as the New Deal.
Roosevelt was undeterred by the failure of the Hoover programs to achieve their object. So far as they considered them in that light at all, the New Dealers thought the Hoover effort was too timid and much too piecemeal. In any case, they were much more convinced of the healing powers of monetary inflation than Hoover had been.
The most prominent of the New Deal programs were supposed to deal with economic problems arising from the Great Depression. Most of them were put forward as remedies for depression-related conditions, many of them in an emergency atmosphere. But rather than cure the depression, they plunged it to new depths.
The New Deal’s Central Planning: NRA and AAA
One of the great attributes of the private-property market system is its inherent ability to overcome almost any obstacle. Through price and cost readjustment, managerial efficiency and labor productivity, new savings and investments, the market economy tends to regain its equilibrium and resume its service to consumers. It doubtless would have recovered in short order from the Hoover interventions had there been no further tampering.
However, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt assumed the Presidency, he, too, fought the economy all the way. Instead of clearing away the prosperity barriers erected by his predecessor, he built new ones of his own. He struck in every known way at the integrity of the U.S. dollar through monetary expansion schemes. He seized the people’s gold holdings and subsequently devalued the dollar by 40%.
With some third of industrial workers unemployed, President Roosevelt embarked upon sweeping industrial reorganization. He persuaded Congress to pass the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), which set up the National Recovery Administration (NRA).
The professed purpose of the NRA was to get business to regulate itself, ignoring the antitrust laws and developing fair codes of prices, wages, hours, and working conditions. The President’s Re-employment Agreement called for a minimum wage of 400 an hour ($12 to $15 a week in smaller communities), a 35-hour work week for industrial workers and 40 hours for white collar workers, and a ban on all youth labor.
This was a naive attempt at “increasing purchasing power” by increasing payrolls. But, the immense increase in business costs through shorter hours and higher wage rates worked naturally as an anti revival measure. After passage of the Act, unemployment rose to nearly 13 million. The South, especially, suffered severely from the minimum wage provisions: the Act forced 500,000 Blacks out of work.
These National Recovery Administration codes were typically concerned with restricting competition within an industry, reducing hours of labor, and raising prices and wages. Employers were usually forbidden to employ children under 16 years old. A minimum wage throughout the industry and a work week of 40 hours were ordinarily specified. Further, the Cotton Textile Code, for example, forbade employers to use “productive machinery in the cotton textile industry for more than two shifts of 40 hours per week.” Planning was supposed to be accomplished by the companies and workers acting in concert with government.
Nor was it simply major industries that were governed by codes initially; any and every sort of undertaking was included.
- Code 450 regulated the Dog Food Industry
- Code 427regulated the Curled Hair Manufacturing Industry and Horse Hair Dressing Industry
- Code 262 regulated the Shoulder Pad Manufacturing Industry.
In New York, I. ‘Izzy’ Herk, executive secretary of Code 348, brought order to the Burlesque Theatrical Industry by insisting that no production could feature more than four strips.
President Roosevelt also attempted to address the disaster that had befallen American agriculture. He attacked the problem by passage of the Farm Relief and Inflation Act, popularly known as the First Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA).
The objective was to raise farm income by cutting the acreages planted or destroying the crops in the field, paying the farmers not to plant anything, and organizing marketing agreements to improve distribution. The program soon covered not only cotton, but also all basic cereal and meat production as well as principal cash crops. The enormous costs of the program were to be covered by a new “processing tax” levied on an already depressed industry.
The AAA was expected to do for agriculture much the same sort of thing that NRA would for industry, only more. Farmers were reckoned to be in much worse condition than manufacturers and industrial workers. The first task with them, according to the planners, was to bring farm income up to a “parity” (as it was called) with industrial income.
The years 1909-1914 were chosen as a base for most farm staple products, and the aim was to raise farm prices to a level that would give them an income equivalent to the ratio between farm and industry that prevailed in the base period.
The main device for accomplishing this was reduction of production of staples. So dramatic was the need for reduction, New Dealers thought, that a considerable portion of the 1933 cotton crop was plowed up and destroyed, and many small pigs put to death.
Thereafter, farmers were induced to plant less by government subsidies for those who “cooperated.” Under the first AAA (1933–1936), the money to pay for the various benefits paid to farmers came from a tax on processors. Many farmers had long believed, of course, that the middlemen got the profits from their endeavors. The New Deal gave this spurious notion legal standing by levying the tax.
NRA codes and AAA processing taxes came in July and August of 1933. Again, economic production which had flurried briefly before the deadlines, sharply turned downward. The Federal Reserve index dropped from 100 in July to 72 in November of 1933.
The thrust of the NRA and AAA was in the opposite direction from what was needed. If people have material needs, are unemployed or underemployed, the solution for them is either to produce for themselves what they need or produce for sale in the market enough of what is wanted to be able to buy what they need. These things require more, not less, production and changes in production activities, not the freezing of them into patterns of the past.
That is not to say that government would have had greater success in planning increased production. Some things were already being produced in greater quantities than could be profitably produced for the market. Any general effort to solve the problem was doomed to failure, for the problem was one of individuals, families, and other producing units. Only they could solve it.
The Supreme Court, by unanimous decision, outlawed NRA in 1935 and AAA in 1936. The Court maintained that the Federal legislative power had been unconstitutionally delegated and states’ rights violated. These two decisions removed some fearful handicaps under which the economy was laboring.
The NRA in particular was a nightmare with continuously changing rules and regulations by a host of government bureaus. Above all, voidance of the act immediately reduced labor costs and raised productivity as it permitted labor markets to adjust. The death of AAA reduced the tax burden of agriculture and halted the shocking destruction of crops. Unemployment began to decline. In 1935 it dropped to 9.5 million, or 18.4% of the labor force, and in 1936 to only 7.6 million, or 14.5%.
Inflation and Pump-Priming Measures
When the economic planners saw their plans go wrong, they simply prescribed additional doses of Federal pump priming. In his January 1934 Budget Message, Mr. Roosevelt promised expenditures of $10 billion while revenues were at $3 billion. Yet, the economy failed to revive; the business index rose to 86 in May of 1934, and then turned down again to 71 by September. Furthermore, the spending program caused a panic in the bond market which cast new doubts on American money and banking.
The New Dealers held generally that the depression was caused by a shortage of purchasing power, or, at the least, a shortage in the hands of those who would spend it. In the most obvious sense, there was some sort of shortage of purchasing power by those who had great difficulty in providing for their most direct wants.
That is, there was food, clothing, shoes, and other goods available in stores. Yet, many people had to resort to charitable aid to get the wherewithal to live. Surely, they lacked the purchasing power to buy the goods.
They did not lack money—money, per se, is not purchasing power. Money is a medium of exchange. It is, then, a medium through which purchasing power is exercised.
The idea that pumping new money stimulates the economy stems from the idea that money itself is what gives people purchasing power. The problem is that purchasing power is not merely money; it is, in fact, real goods or services. Ultimately, all exchanges are of goods for goods. In a money economy, goods are exchanged for money, and money is then exchanged for other goods. A shortage of purchasing power, then, is in fact a shortage of goods.
Operating on the idea that purchasing power is money, the New Dealers simply printed more money in the hopes of restoring purchasing power to the underemployed masses. But this policy amounts to a trade in which money is exchanged not for goods, but for nothing at all.
The problem is that trading with a shortage of goods is not a normal market phenomenon at all. It occurs only as a result of a large scale intervention in the market through credit expansion fueled by debt; this process is known as inflation. Monetized debt, or inflation, is based not on trading goods for goods, but on trading goods for the promise of goods that don’t exist yet, but will be produced in the future. It is nothing other than a promise of future production.
Flooding the economy with money that has not been traded for real goods introduces a whole set of temporary imbalances in the economy. There is a trade imbalance because the goods to be traded for other goods have not yet been produced. There is a price imbalance because prices are no longer in proportion to the money supply. There is a shortfall of real purchasing power (i.e., goods and services). In the wake of the credit expansion there will be an imbalance of production, for many producers will be induced to increase their production, and even their facilities for production, for there are many willing buyers with the money, it seems, to pay for their wares.
The imbalances resulting from any single monetary expansion, however large, will be only temporary. The market tends always toward balance, and if people are free to operate the market, balance will be restored. Prices will rise to compensate for the increase in the money supply. People will generally pay their debts out of production, if they can, and the trade imbalance will be restored.
However, at this stage the shortage of purchasing which was there at the outset will become obvious. Much of production must go into repaying debts. Moreover, even when the debts are repaid, there may need to be a further interval for savings to be made before many new purchases can be made. Many plants may lie idle, and there will be a depression. The adjustments that must be made to restore the balance are often difficult and unpleasant.
The impact of all these multitudinous measures – industrial, agricultural, financial, monetary, and other – upon a bewildered industrial and financial community was extraordinarily heavy. We must add the effect of continuing disquieting utterances by the President. He had castigated the bankers in his inaugural speech. He had made a slurring comparison of British and American bankers in a speech in the summer of 1934… That private enterprise could survive and rally in the midst of so great a disorder is an amazing demonstration of the vitality of private enterprise. —Benjamin Anderson
4. The Wagner Act and Labor Laws
The third phase of the Great Depression was thus drawing to a close. But there was little time to rejoice, for the scene was being set for another collapse in 1937 and a lingering depression that lasted until the day of Pearl Harbor. More than 10 million Americans were unemployed in 1938, and more than 9 million in 1939.
The Wagner Act of July 5, 1935, radically changed American employment and business. It took legal employer-employee disputes over labor contracts out of the courts of law and brought them under a newly created Federal agency, the National Labor Relations Board, which became prosecutor, judge, and jury, all in one. Labor union sympathizers on the Board further perverted the law that already afforded legal immunities and privileges to labor unions. The U. S. thereby abandoned a great achievement of Western civilization, equality under the law.
The Wagner Act, or National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), was passed in reaction to the Supreme Court’s voidance of NRA and its labor codes. It aimed at crushing all employer resistance to labor unions. Any legal defense from an employer became an “unfair labor practice” punishable by the Board. The law not only obliged employers to deal and bargain with the unions designated as the employees’ representative; later Board decisions also made it unlawful to resist the demands of labor union leaders.
The NRLA placed the power of government behind the organization of labor unions, mainly by way of the National Labor Relations Board, weighted the legal scales in favor of unions, and signaled a determination by the federal government that unions should prevail. Thereby, unions were able to extort higher wages from employers than they could have received in the market. The differential is a redistribution of wealth from employers to employees.
Following the election of 1936, the labor unions began to make ample use of their new powers. Through threats, boycotts, strikes, seizures of plants, and outright violence committed in legal sanctity, they forced millions of workers into membership. Consequently, labor productivity declined and yet wages were forced upward. Labor strife and disturbance ran wild. Ugly sit down strikes idled hundreds of plants. In the ensuing months economic activity began to decline and unemployment again rose above the ten million mark.
From the White House on the heels of the Wagner Act came a thunderous barrage of insults against business. Businessmen, Roosevelt fumed, were obstacles on the road to recovery. New strictures on the stock market were imposed. A tax on corporate retained earnings, called the “undistributed profits tax,” was levied.
The relentless assaults of the Roosevelt administration against business, property, and free enterprise guaranteed that the capital needed to jumpstart the economy was either taxed away or forced into hiding. When Roosevelt took America to war in 1941, he eased up on his anti-business agenda, but a great deal of the nation’s capital was diverted into the war effort instead of into plant expansion or consumer goods.
Not until both Roosevelt and the war were gone did investors feel confident enough to “set in motion the postwar investment boom that powered the economy’s return to sustained prosperity.”
On the eve of America’s entry into World War II and twelve years after the stock market crash of Black Thursday, ten million Americans were jobless. Roosevelt had pledged in 1932 to end the crisis, but it persisted two presidential terms and countless interventions later.
Along with the horror of World War II came a revival of trade with America’s allies. The war’s destruction of people and resources did not help the U.S. economy, but this renewed trade did. More important, the Truman administration that followed Roosevelt was decidedly less eager to berate and bludgeon private investors, and as a result, those investors came back into the economy to fuel a powerful postwar boom.
In the final analysis, the genesis of the Great Depression lay in the inflationary monetary policies of the U.S. government in the 1920s. It was prolonged and exacerbated by a litany of political missteps: trade-crushing tariffs, incentive-sapping taxes, mind-numbing controls on production and competition, senseless destruction of crops and cattle, and coercive labor laws. It was not the free market that produced twelve years of agony; rather, it was political bungling on a scale as grand as there ever was.
The Great Depression
Although the Great Depression engulfed the world economy some 40 years ago, it lives on as a nightmare for individuals old enough to remember and as a frightening specter in the textbooks of our youth. Some 13 million Americans were unemployed, “not wanted” in the production process. One worker out of every four was walking the streets in want and despair. Thousands of banks, hundreds of thousands of businesses, and millions of farmers fell into bankruptcy or ceased operations entirely. Nearly everyone suffered painful losses of wealth and income.
Many Americans are convinced that the causes of the Great Depression reflected the breakdown of an old economic order built on unhampered markets, unbridled competition, speculation, property rights, and the profit motive. According to them, the Great Depression proved the inevitability of a new order built on government intervention, political and bureaucratic control, human rights, and government welfare. Such persons, under the influence of Keynes, blame businessmen for precipitating depressions by their selfish refusal to spend enough money to maintain or improve the people’s purchasing power. This is why they advocate vast governmental expenditures and deficit spending – resulting in an age of money inflation and credit expansion.
Classical economists learned a different lesson. In their view, the Great Depression consisted of four consecutive depressions rolled into one. The causes of each phase differed, but the consequences were all the same: business stagnation and unemployment.
The Business Cycle
The first phase was a period of boom and bust, like the business cycles that had plagued the American economy in 1819-20, 1839-43, 1857-60, 1873-78, 1893-97, and 1920-21. In each case, government had generated a boom through easy money and credit, which was soon followed by the inevitable bust.
The spectacular crash of 1929 followed five years of reckless credit expansion by the Federal Reserve System under the Coolidge Administration. In 1924, after a sharp decline in business, the Reserve banks suddenly created some $500 million in new credit, which led to a bank credit expansion of over $4 billion in less than one year. While the immediate effects of this new powerful expansion of the nation’s money and credit were seemingly beneficial, initiating a new economic boom and effacing the 1924 decline, the ultimate outcome was most disastrous. It was the beginning of a monetary policy that led to the stock market crash in 1929 and the following depression. In fact, the expansion of Federal Reserve credit in 1924 constituted what Benjamin Anderson in his great treatise on recent economic history (Economics and the Public Welfare, D. Van Nostrand, 1949) called “the beginning of the New Deal.”
The Federal Reserve credit expansion in 1924 also was designed to assist the Bank of England in its professed desire to maintain prewar exchange rates. The strong U.S. dollar and the weak British pound were to be readjusted to prewar conditions through a policy of inflation in the U.S. and deflation in Great Britain.
The Federal Reserve System launched a further burst of inflation in 1927, the result being that total currency outside banks plus demand and time deposits in the United States increased from $44.51 billion at the end of June, 1924, to $55.17 billion in 1929. The volume of farm and urban mortgages expanded from $16.8 billion in 1921 to $27.1 billion in 1929. Similar increases occurred in industrial, financial, and state and local government indebtedness. This expansion of money and credit was accompanied by rapidly rising real estate and stock prices. Prices for industrial securities, according to Standard & Poor’s common stock index, rose from 59.4 in June of 1922 to 195.2 in September of 1929. Railroad stock climbed from 189.2 to 446.0, while public utilities rose from 82.0 to 375.
A Series of False Signals
The vast money and credit expansion by the Coolidge Administration made 1929 inevitable. Inflation and credit expansion always precipitate business maladjustments and malinvestments that must later be liquidated. The expansion artificially reduces and thus falsifies interest rates, and thereby misguides businessmen in their investment decisions. In the belief that declining rates indicate growing supplies of capital savings, they embark upon new production projects. The creation of money gives rise to an economic boom. It causes prices to rise, especially prices of capital goods used for business expansion. But these prices constitute business costs. They soar until business is no longer profitable, at which time the decline begins. In order to prolong the boom, the monetary authorities may continue to inject new money until finally frightened by the prospects of a run-away inflation. The boom that was built on the quicksand of inflation then comes to a sudden end.
The ensuing recession is a period of repair and readjustment. Prices and costs adjust anew to consumer choices and preferences.
And above all, interest rates readjust to reflect once more the actual supply of and demand for genuine savings. Poor business investments are abandoned or written down. Business costs, especially labor costs, are reduced through greater labor productivity and managerial efficiency, until business can once more be profitably conducted, capital investments earn interest, and the market economy function smoothly again.
After an abortive attempt at stabilization in the first half of 1928, the Federal Reserve System finally abandoned its easy money policy at the beginning of 1929. It sold government securities and thereby halted the bank credit expansion. It raised its discount rate to 6 percent in August, 1929. Time-money rates rose to 8 percent, commercial paper rates to 6 percent, and call rates to the panic figures of 15 percent and 20 percent. The American economy was beginning to readjust. In June, 1929, business activity began to recede. Commodity prices began their retreat in July.
The security market reached its high on September 19 and then, under the pressure of early selling, slowly began to decline. For five more weeks the public nevertheless bought heavily on the way down. More than 100 million shares were traded at the New York Stock Exchange in September. Finally it dawned upon more and more stockholders that the trend had changed. Beginning with October 24, 1929, thousands stampeded to sell their holdings immediately and at any price. Avalanches of selling by the public swamped the ticker tape. Prices broke spectacularly.
Liquidation and Adjustment
The stock market break signaled the beginning of a readjustment long overdue. It should have been an orderly liquidation and adjustment followed by a normal revival. After all, the financial structure of business was very strong. Fixed costs were low as business had refunded a good many bond issues and had reduced debts to banks with the proceeds of the sale of stock. In the following months, most business earnings made a reasonable showing. Unemployment in 1930 averaged under 4 million, or 7.8 percent of labor force.
In modern terminology, the American economy of 1930 had fallen into a mild recession. In the absence of any new causes for depression, the following year should have brought recovery as in previous depressions. In 1921-22 the American economy recovered fully in less than a year. What, then, precipitated the abysmal collapse after 1929? What prevented the price and cost adjustments and thus led to the second phase of the Great Depression?
Disintegration of the World Economy
The Hoover Administration opposed any readjustment. Under the influence of “the new economics” of government planning, the President urged businessmen not to cut prices and reduce wages, but rather to increase capital outlay, wages, and other spending in order to maintain purchasing power. He embarked upon deficit spending and called upon municipalities to increase their borrowing for more public works. Through the Farm Board which Hoover had organized in the autumn of 1929, the Federal government tried strenuously to uphold the prices of wheat, cotton, and other farm products. The GOP tradition was further invoked to curtail foreign imports.
The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act of June, 1930, raised American tariffs to unprecedented levels, which practically closed our borders to foreign goods. According to most economic historians, this was the crowning folly of the whole period from 1920 to 1933 and the beginning of the real depression. “Once we raised our tariffs,” wrote Benjamin Anderson, “an irresistible movement all over the world to raise tariffs and to erect other trade barriers, including quotas, began. Protectionism ran wild over the world. Markets were cut off. Trade lines were narrowed. Unemployment in the export industries all over the world grew with great rapidity. Farm prices in the United States dropped sharply through the whole of 1930, but the most rapid rate of decline came following the passage of the tariff bill.” When President Hoover announced he would sign the bill into law, industrial stocks broke 20 points in one day. The stock market correctly anticipated the depression.
The protectionists have never learned that curtailment of imports inevitably hampers exports. Even if foreign countries do not immediately retaliate for trade restrictions injuring them, their foreign purchases are circumscribed by their ability to sell abroad. This is why the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act which closed our borders to foreign products also closed foreign markets to our products. American exports fell from $5.5 billion in 1929 to $1.7 billion in 1932. American agriculture customarily had exported over 20 percent of its wheat, 55 percent of its cotton, 40 percent of its tobacco and lard, and many other products. When international trade and commerce were disrupted, American farming collapsed. In fact, the rapidly growing trade restrictions, including tariffs, quotas, foreign exchange controls, and other devices were generating a world-wide depression.
Agricultural commodity prices, which had been well above the 1926 base before the crisis, dropped to a low of 47 in the summer of 1932. Such prices as $2.50 a hundredweight for hogs, $3.28 for beef cattle, and 32¢ a bushel for wheat, plunged hundreds of thousands of farmers into bankruptcy. Farm mortgages were foreclosed until various states passed moratoria laws, thus shifting the bankruptcy to countless creditors.
Rural Banks in Trouble
The main creditors of American farmers were, of course, the rural banks. When agriculture collapsed, the banks closed their doors. Some 2,000 banks, with deposit liabilities of over $1.5 billion, suspended between August, 1931, and February, 1932. Those banks that remained open were forced to curtail their operations sharply. They liquidated customers’ loans on securities, contracted real estate loans, pressed for the payment of old loans, and refused to make new ones. Finally, they dumped their most marketable bond holdings on an already depressed market. The panic that had engulfed American agriculture also gripped the banking system and its millions of customers.
The American banking crisis was aggravated by a series of events involving Europe. When the world economy began to disintegrate and economic nationalism ran rampant, European debtor countries were cast in precarious payment situations. Austria and Germany ceased to make foreign payments and froze large English and American credits; when England finally suspended gold payments in September, 1931, the crisis spread to the U.S. The fall in foreign bond values set off a collapse of the general bond market, which hit American banks at their weakest point—their investment portfolios.
1931 was a tragic year. The whole nation, in fact, the whole world, fell into the cataclysm of despair and depression. American unemployment jumped to more than 8 million and continued to rise. The Hoover Administration, summarily rejecting the thought that it had caused the disaster, labored diligently to place the blame on American businessmen and speculators. President Hoover called together the nation’s industrial leaders and pledged them to adopt his program to maintain wage rates and expand construction. He sent a telegram to all the governors, urging cooperative expansion of all public works programs. He expanded Federal public works and granted subsidies to ship construction. And for the benefit of the suffering farmers, a host of Federal agencies embarked upon price stabilization policies that generated ever larger crops and surpluses which in turn depressed product prices even further. Economic conditions went from bad to worse and unemployment in 1932 averaged 12.4 million.
In this dark hour of human want and suffering, the Federal government struck a final blow. The Revenue Act of 1932 doubled the income tax, the sharpest increase in the Federal tax burden in American history. Exemptions were lowered, “earned income credit” was eliminated. Normal tax rates were raised from a range of 1¹/2 to 5 percent to a range of 4 to 8 percent, surtax rates from 20 percent to a maximum of 55 percent. Corporation tax rates were boosted from 12 percent to 13¾ and 141/2 percent. Estate taxes were raised. Gift taxes were imposed with rates from 3/4 to 331/2 percent. A 10 gasoline tax was imposed, a 3 percent automobile tax, a telegraph and telephone tax, a 2¢ check tax, and many other excise taxes. And, finally, postal rates were increased substantially.
When state and local governments faced shrinking revenues, they, too, joined the Federal government in imposing new levies. The rate schedules of existing taxes on income and business were increased and new taxes imposed on business income, property, sales, tobacco, liquor, and other products.
Murray Rothbard, in his authoritative work on America’s Great Depression (Van Nostrand, 1963), estimates that the fiscal burden of Federal, state, and local governments nearly doubled during the period, rising from 16 percent of net private product to 29 percent. This blow, alone, would bring any economy to its knees, and shatters the silly contention that the Great Depression was a consequence of economic freedom.
The New Deal of NRA and AAA
One of the great attributes of the private-property market system is its inherent ability to overcome almost any obstacle. Through price and cost readjustment, managerial efficiency and labor productivity, new savings and investments, the market economy tends to regain its equilibrium and resume its service to consumers. It doubtless would have recovered in short order from the Hoover interventions had there been no further tampering.
However, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt assumed the Presidency, he, too, fought the economy all the way. In his first 100 days, he swung hard at the profit order. Instead of clearing away the prosperity barriers erected by his predecessor, he built new ones of his own. He struck in every known way at the integrity of the U.S. dollar through quantitative increases and qualitative deterioration. He seized the people’s gold holdings and subsequently devalued the dollar by 40 percent.
With some third of industrial workers unemployed, President Roosevelt embarked upon sweeping industrial reorganization. He persuaded Congress to pass the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), which set up the National Recovery Administration (NRA). Its purpose was to get business to regulate itself, ignoring the antitrust laws and developing fair codes of prices, wages, hours, and working conditions. The President’s Re-employment Agreement called for a minimum wage of 400 an hour ($12 to $15 a week in smaller communities), a 35-hour work week for industrial workers and 40 hours for white collar workers, and a ban on all youth labor.
This was a naive attempt at “increasing purchasing power” by increasing payrolls. But, the immense increase in business costs through shorter hours and higher wage rates worked naturally as an antirevival measure. After passage of the Act, unemployment rose to nearly 13 million. The South, especially, suffered severely from the minimum wage provisions: the Act forced 500,000 Blacks out of work.
Nor did President Roosevelt ignore the disaster that had befallen American agriculture. He attacked the problem by passage of the Farm Relief and Inflation Act, popularly known as the First Agricultural Adjustment Act. The objective was to raise farm income by cutting the acreages planted or destroying the crops in the field, paying the farmers not to plant anything, and organizing marketing agreements to improve distribution. The program soon covered not only cotton, but also all basic cereal and meat production as well as principal cash crops. The expenses of the program were to be covered by a new “processing tax” levied on an already depressed industry.
NRA codes and AAA processing taxes came in July and August of 1933. Again, economic production which had flurried briefly before the deadlines, sharply turned downward. The Federal Reserve index dropped from 100 in July to 72 in November of 1933.
When the economic planners saw their plans go wrong, they simply prescribed additional doses of Federal pump priming. In his January 1934 Budget Message, Mr. Roosevelt promised expenditures of $10 billion while revenues were at $3 billion. Yet, the economy failed to revive; the business index rose to 86 in May of 1934, and then turned down again to 71 by September. Furthermore, the spending program caused a panic in the bond market which cast new doubts on American money and banking.
Revenue legislation in 1933 sharply raised income tax rates in the higher brackets and imposed a 5 percent withholding tax on corporate dividends. Tax rates were raised again in 1934. Federal estate taxes were brought to the highest levels in the world. In 1935, Federal estate and income taxes were raised once more, although the additional revenue yield was insignificant. The rates seemed clearly aimed at the redistribution of wealth.
According to Benjamin Anderson, “the impact of all these multitudinous measures – industrial, agricultural, financial, monetary, and other – upon a bewildered industrial and financial community was extraordinarily heavy. We must add the effect of continuing disquieting utterances by the President. He had castigated the bankers in his inaugural speech. He had made a slurring comparison of British and American bankers in a speech in the summer of 1934… That private enterprise could survive and rally in the midst of so great a disorder is an amazing demonstration of the vitality of private enterprise.”
Then came relief from unexpected quarters. The “nine old men” of the Supreme Court, by unanimous decision, outlawed NRA in 1935 and AAA in 1936. The Court maintained that the Federal legislative power had been unconstitutionally delegated and states’ rights violated.
These two decisions removed some fearful handicaps under which the economy was laboring. NRA, in particular, was a nightmare with continuously changing rules and regulations by a host of government bureaus. Above all, voidance of the act immediately reduced labor costs and raised productivity as it permitted labor markets to adjust. The death of AAA reduced the tax burden of agriculture and halted the shocking destruction of crops. Unemployment began to decline. In 1935 it dropped to 9.5 million, or 18.4 percent of the labor force, and in 1936 to only 7.6 million, or 14.5 percent.
A New Deal for Labor
The third phase of the Great Depression was thus drawing to a close. But there was little time to rejoice, for the scene was being set for another collapse in 1937 and a lingering depression that lasted until the day of Pearl Harbor. More than 10 million Americans were unemployed in 1938, and more than 9 million in 1939.
The relief granted by the Supreme Court was merely temporary. The Washington planners could not leave the economy alone; they had to earn the support of organized labor, which was vital for re-election.
The Wagner Act of July 5, 1935, earned the lasting gratitude of labor. This law revolutionized American labor relations. It took labor disputes out of the courts of law and brought them under a newly created Federal agency, the National Labor Relations Board, which became prosecutor, judge, and jury, all in one. Labor union sympathizers on the Board further perverted the law that already afforded legal immunities and privileges to labor unions. The U. S. thereby abandoned a great achievement of Western civilization, equality under the law.
The Wagner Act, or National Labor Relations Act, was passed in reaction to the Supreme Court’s voidance of NRA and its labor codes. It aimed at crushing all employer resistance to labor unions. Anything an employer might do in self-defense became an “unfair labor practice” punishable by the Board. The law not only obliged employers to deal and bargain with the unions designated as the employees’ representative; later Board decisions also made it unlawful to resist the demands of labor union leaders.
Following the election of 1936, the labor unions began to make ample use of their new powers. Through threats, boycotts, strikes, seizures of plants, and outright violence committed in legal sanctity, they forced millions of workers into membership. Consequently, labor productivity declined and wages were forced upward. Labor strife and disturbance ran wild. Ugly sit down strikes idled hundreds of plants. In the ensuing months economic activity began to decline and unemployment again rose above the ten million mark.
But the Wagner Act was not the only source of crisis in 1937. President Roosevelt’s shocking attempt at packing the Supreme Court, had it been successful, would have subordinated the Judiciary to the Executive. In the U.S. Congress the President’s power was unchallenged. Heavy Democratic majorities in both houses, perplexed and frightened by the Great Depression, blindly followed their leader. But when the President strove to assume control over the Judiciary, the American nation rallied against him, and he lost his first political fight in the halls of Congress.
There was also his attempt at controlling the stock market through an ever-increasing number of regulations and investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission. “Insider” trading was barred, high and inflexible margin requirements imposed and short selling restricted, mainly to prevent repetition of the 1929 stock market crash. Nevertheless the market fell nearly 50 percent from August of 1937 to March of 1938. The American economy again underwent dreadful punishment.
Other Taxes and Controls
Yet other factors contributed to this new and fastest slump in U.S. history. The Undistributed Profits Tax of 1936 struck a heavy blow at profits retained for use in business. Not content with destroying the wealth of the rich through confiscatory income and estate taxation, the administration meant to force the distribution of corporate savings as dividends subject to the high income tax rates. Though the top rate finally imposed on undistributed profits was “only” 27 percent, the new tax succeeded in diverting corporate savings from employment and production to dividend income.
Amidst the new stagnation and unemployment, the President and Congress adopted yet another dangerous piece of New Deal legislation: the Wages and Hours Act or Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. The law raised minimum wages and reduced the work week in stages to 44, 42, and 40 hours. It provided for time-and-a-half pay for all work over 40 hours per week and regulated other labor conditions. Again, the Federal government thus reduced labor productivity and increased labor costs—ample grounds for further depression and unemployment.
Throughout this period, the Federal government, through its monetary arm, the Federal Reserve System, endeavored to re-inflate the economy. Monetary expansion from 1934 to 1941 reached astonishing proportions. The monetary gold of Europe sought refuge from the gathering clouds of political upheaval, boosting American bank reserves to unaccustomed levels. Reserve balances rose from $2.9 billion in January, 1934, to $14.4 billion in January of 1941. And with this growth of member bank reserves, interest rates declined to fantastically low levels. Commercial paper often yielded less than 1 percent, bankers’ acceptances from ¹/8 percent to 1/4 percent. Treasury bill rates fell to 1/10 of 1 percent and Treasury bonds to some 2 percent. Call loans were pegged at 1 percent and prime customers’ loans at 1¹/2 percent. The money market was flooded and interest rates could hardly go lower.
The American economy simply could not recover from these successive onslaughts by first the Republican and then the Democratic Administrations. Individual enterprise, the mainspring of unprecedented income and wealth, didn’t have a chance.
The calamity of the Great Depression finally gave way to the holocaust of World War II. When more than 10 million able-bodied men had been drafted into the armed services, unemployment ceased to be an economic problem. And when the purchasing power of the dollar had been cut in half through vast budget deficits and currency inflation, American business managed to adjust to the oppressive costs of the Hoover-Roosevelt Deals. The radical inflation in fact reduced the real costs of labor and thus generated new employment in the postwar period.
Nothing would be more foolish than to single out the men who led us in those baleful years and condemn them for all the evil that befell us. The ultimate roots of the Great Depression were growing in the hearts and minds of the American people. It is true, they abhorred the painful symptoms of the great dilemma. But the large majority favored and voted for the very policies that made the disaster inevitable: inflation and credit expansion, protective tariffs, labor laws that raised wages and farm laws that raised prices, ever higher taxes on the rich and distribution of their wealth. The seeds for the Great Depression were sown by scholars and teachers during the 1920s and earlier when social and economic ideologies that were hostile toward our traditional order of private property and individual enterprise conquered our colleges and universities. The professors of earlier years were as guilty as the political leaders of the 1930s.
Social and economic decline is facilitated by moral decay. Surely, the Great Depression would be inconceivable without the growth of covetousness and envy of great personal wealth and income, the mounting desire for public assistance and favors. It would be inconceivable without an ominous decline of individual independence and self-reliance, and above all, the burning desire to be free from man’s bondage and to be responsible to God alone.
Can it happen again? Inexorable economic law ascertains that it must happen again whenever we repeat the dreadful errors that generated the Great Depression.
Mob Mind in 1928-29
After the crash in 1929, a speech was made before the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York to explain what had happened, which discussed, among other things, the phenomena of mob mind which had been so manifest in the year and a half that had preceded the crash. The speaker made the generalization, familiar to social psychologists, that the more intense the craze, the higher the type of intellect that succumbs to it.
Kimmel’s isolation from the intelligence loop can be traced to numerous directives issued from Washington. Explanations for the cut-off varied: His need to know did not apply to diplomatic negotiations since he was a military commander; providing him information from the intercepts would have risked revealing American code-breaking success. The crash of Hawaii’s intelligence loop distribution started on November 24 shortly after the Pacific Fleet was pulled from the Vacant Sea. Commandeer Arthur McCollum contributed to the crash when he issued a new directive, which called a halt to the distribution of Rcchefort’s Communication Summaries and those of other monitoring stations that compiled Japanese naval movements. With the the approval of the Director of Naval Intelligence, Captain Theodore S. Wilkinson; McCollum sent this directive to Kimmel:
ORANGE NAVAL MOVEMENS AS REPORTED FROM INDIVIDUAL INFORMATION ADDRESSES ARE OFTEN CONFLICTING BECAUSE OF NECESSARILY FRAGMENTARY NATURE X SINCE COM 16 INTERCEPTS ARE CONSIDERED MOST RELIABLE SUGGEST OTHER REPORTS CAREFULLY EVALUATED BE SENT TO COMM 16 FOR ACTION OPNAV FOR INFORMATION X AFTER COMBINING ALL INCOMING REPORTS COM 16 DIRECT DISPATACHES TO OPNAV INFO CINCPAC BASED ON ALL INFORMATION RECEIVED INDICATING OWN EVALUATION AND PROVIDING BEST POSSIBLE CONTINUITY X REQUEST CINCAF ISSUE DIRECTIVE AS NECESARY TO FULFIL GENERAL OBJECTIVE X.
McCollum’s reasoning behind the order is highly suspect and can be seen as a means to distance Roosevelt from Rochefort’s warnings. Kimmel’s personal alert to the White House on November 25–during FDR’s dinner with Princess Martha–was the last Hawaii-originated monograph prepared for FDR.
Hawaii’s radio traffic chief Homer Kiss=ner bristled fifty years later when the author told him of McCollum’s “most reliable” pronouncement. Kisner dismissed the assertion. “Our reports wee not fragmentary. We had very little reception difficulties in Hawaii,” he said. “We intercepted at least a thousand Japanese naval messages every twenty-four hours. That’s a minimum of about forty-two per hour. Yes, at all times there were reception difficulties, but never significant, because Japan’s radio facilities constantly repeated messages and we obtained missing broadcasts from the repeats.”
After November 26, the reports detailing the advance on Hawaii were excised from the Presidential monographs. Decrypts about the movement of two-thirds of the Japanese fleet’s submarines toward Hawaii, and the location of the Akagi and oil tankers in the Vacant Sea directly north of Oahu, were kept from the usual distribution by McCollum’s order. So were TESTM reports from the “most reliable” CAST. FDR’s monographs were stripped of all information that mattered.
But the American intelligence network was a complex and multifaceted one. If one channel was blocked, vital information could still flow through many others. The Japanese were coming and Roosevelt knew it.
Plenty of Blame to Go Around
Virtually everyone in a position of authority, from Washington to Honolulu, was culpable for being so thoroughly taken by surprise by the attack on Pearl Harbor.
On Saturday, 6 December 1941, Admiral Husband E. Kimmel granted a rare interview to Joseph C. Harsch of the Christian Science Monitor. Harsch asked whether Kimmel believed the Japanese would attack the United States.
“No, young man. I don’t think they’d be such damned fools.” His rationale was that the Soviet Union still remained a potent threat in the Far East, so the Japanese would not get involved in a war with the United States and thus face the prospect of a two-front conflict. The following day, of course, the Japanese did just that and inflicted a devastating defeat on the United States. Americans wondered how U.S. forces at Pearl Harbor could have been caught so completely by surprise.
Within two weeks, Kimmel was relieved of command and reverted to his permanent rank of rear admiral. Many individuals have played the role of Monday-morning quarterback since 7 December 1941, offering alternatives to the actions that Admiral Kimmel took—and did not take—as the Japanese bore down on Hawaii that Sunday morning. The goal here is to focus less on what could have happened and more on what actually did.
Kimmel to CinC Pacific Fleet
In the spring of 1940 President Franklin D. Roosevelt directed that the ships of the Battle Force remain in Hawaiian waters rather than return to their normal West Coast bases after the conclusion of that year’s Fleet Problem. The President’s rationale was that having the U.S. warships poised to strike would deter Japanese aggression in Asia.
U.S. Fleet Commander-in-Chief Admiral James O. Richardson challenged the President’s action, arguing that the fleet would be better served by returning to the West Coast, where support facilities for war preparation were far superior. As a result of such bluntness, the President fired Richardson and replaced him with Rear Admiral Kimmel on 1 February 1941. Kimmel was promoted to four-star rank, jumping over nearly 50 more senior officers when he took command of what then became the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Perhaps his service with Roosevelt more than 25 years earlier was a factor in his selection.
Despite the fate of his predecessor, Kimmel nevertheless repeatedly asked the Navy Department for more support than he received. He had already lost a number of warships that were transferred to beef up the Atlantic Fleet when German U-boats threatened Britain-bound convoys. Kimmel balked successfully when asked about a proposal that would send still more ships to the Atlantic.
Between February and December, Kimmel exercised the fleet with the same vigor he had displayed in previous tours. The ships operated in task forces of mixed types rather than sticking to the sterile target-practice routine. The fleet was in the process of developing fast carrier task force doctrine, although the battleship still had primacy. Kimmel’s mandate was to prepare the fleet to execute the existing war plan against Japan, based on the premise that the Japanese would seize the Philippine Islands and other territories in the Far East. The Pacific Fleet would then steam westward, expecting to engage in a fleet action against the Japanese, perhaps in the vicinity of the Marshall Islands.
As 1941 progressed, the United States and Japan moved ever closer to war. To put pressure on Japan because of its continuing war against China, the President instituted economic sanctions that cut off oil and scrap metal exports to Japan and froze its assets in this country. Japan’s bellicose government felt compelled to seize territory in The East Indies and elsewhere in Asia as a means of ensuring a source of oil and other resources. As the world now well knows, Japan planned to protect its invasion southward by knocking out the U.S. warships based at Pearl Harbor.
During this time, Kimmel was in frequent correspondence with Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Harold Stark in Washington. The memoir Admiral Kimmel’s Story (Chicago: H. Regnery Co., 1955) describes much of that exchange. Top Navy officials in the capital warned Kimmel a number of times to be prepared for war. The most strident message came in late November, beginning with the words, “This dispatch is to be considered a war warning.” What Kimmel did not know—because he did not have the type of decoding machines supplied to Washington, Britain, and the Philippines—was the extent to which the U.S. government was reading Japanese diplomatic messages.
On Saturday, 6 December, with indicators suggesting that war with Japan was imminent, Kimmel asked his fleet staff officers if anything else should be done than what already had been carried out. They concluded there was nothing else that could be done. Even then, for instance, the carriers Lexington (CV-2) and Enterprise (CV?6) were returning from the delivery of combat aircraft to outlying islands.
In Washington, immediately after the attack, President Roosevelt and the secretaries of War and the Navy were putting together an investigating team. Known as the Roberts Commission, it comprised two retired Navy admirals, two Army generals, and Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts. It was, in essence, a kangaroo court, placing blame for the Pearl Harbor surprise squarely on the two major commanders, Admiral Kimmel and Army Lieutenant General Walter Short. In fact, the powers that be in Washington had been no more prescient than Kimmel in foreseeing an attack, and they had the advantage of the code intercepts that indicated war would begin soon.
It suited the political leadership in Washington, particularly the President, to place all blame for the disaster on the heads of the commanders in Hawaii. That offered the public a pat explanation—essentially that the officers on the spot had been caught unaware. Once they were replaced, the nation could get on with the war effort.
An obvious term fits that situation—scapegoating. Both Kimmel and Short retired in disgrace, and Kimmel was vilified. One piece of scathing correspondence even suggested he should kill himself and thus atone for all the deaths he had permitted on 7 December. The treatment was both unfair and shameful.
Kimmel’s relief was justified, in part because it has long been standard in the Navy system to hold the man on the spot responsible and in part because the command needed someone who would not be burdened with trying to justify previous actions. But there was plenty of blame to go around. Kimmel’s mistake was the same as the one made by the leaders in Washington. Neither he nor they expected the Japanese to do something so bold, thus violating a fundamental principle of strategy—judging an enemy in terms of presumed intentions rather than capabilities. The Japanese were obviously capable of striking Pearl Harbor. The U.S. high command simply did not believe they would. Among those were Admiral Stark, Army Chief of Staff General George Marshall, Rear Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner, the Navy’s chief of war plans, and Rear Admiral Theodore Wilkinson, director of naval intelligence.
Several revisionists have advanced a conspiracy theory, arguing that the leaders in Washington knew the Japanese would strike Pearl and deliberately withheld that intelligence from Kimmel. But if there had been a conspiracy, how could the conspirators afford not to include Kimmel in it? In his own book, Kimmel provided repeated examples of the information he should have received from Washington but did not. The book, however, never charged those in Washington with having foreknowledge of an attack.
Also in his book, Kimmel put forth several alternative scenarios. He wrote that no man could know with certainty what he would have done in those circumstances, but he provided his best guesses concerning the actions he would have taken if he had been given various amounts of advance warning. What he did not offer in the memoir was an explanation of what he would have done if he and his staff had allowed for the possibility of the attack on Pearl Harbor. It is likely that their actions would have been different from what they were in fact. This, of course, gets into that business of Monday morning quarterbacking. Kimmel’s adherents argue that his options were limited because of the shortage of patrol planes, antiaircraft guns, fighter planes, radar, and so forth. All those things were true, but it was still likely that he could have had the fleet in a higher state of alert than it was.
Kimmel had received so many warnings throughout 1941 that he had probably become a bit jaded by December. On one hand, he was supposed to prepare the fleet to go out and operate offensively; on the other, he was not supposed to be provocative where the Japanese were concerned. There were so many conflicting factors that one can understand his mind-set, although one can also visualize a circumstance in which another commander—reading the same tea leaves—would have had more defensive precautions in place. Ultimately it came down to the Navy system for the man on the spot—if things turn out well, he gets a medal; if they go badly, he gets relieved.
Kimmel went off to retirement and saw the war from the sidelines. He was never given an opportunity to redeem his reputation. Stark, who failed to telephone Kimmel on the morning of 7 December—after learning of an intercepted Japanese 14-part diplomatic message—was sent to London to command U.S. naval forces in Europe. Turner, who had the idea that the Japanese might strike the Soviet Union, demonstrated his genius for amphibious warfare in the island-hopping campaign toward Japan. Wilkinson also became a respected amphibious commander. Marshall remained as Army Chief of Staff. Roosevelt was still President. And what became of Army General Douglas MacArthur? His forces in the Philippines were also caught by surprise, even though he had the benefit of knowing that the Japanese had struck Pearl earlier. But he was considered too important to be dumped and was able to play a substantial role in the war against Japan.
The whole story smacks of monumental unfairness. Other proceedings followed, notably a Navy court of inquiry in 1944. For the most part, Kimmel had not been accorded the standard protection for an accused American—a day in court. The court of inquiry was the one exception, because counsel represented Kimmel, and standard judicial procedures were followed. The court exonerated him of the charge of dereliction of duty. But Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Ernest King overturned that finding, writing that Kimmel was not considered capable of holding a position of responsibility requiring the exercise of superior judgment. Interestingly, King repudiated that decision a few years later after giving the issue more thought.
The failures of those in Washington did not absolve the fleet commander-in-chief. But to heap the entire blame on Kimmel for failing to be the lone prophet in the Navy is preposterous. He was much more sinned against than he was a sinner. A few weeks after the attack, the admiral’s son, Edward, then a university student, visited Hanson Baldwin, military correspondent of The New York Times. He asked plaintively, “Do you think my father is really as guilty as everybody says he is?” Baldwin answered that proving his innocence was indeed quite a burden to be put on a young man.
Edward had two older brothers. Manning was killed in 1944 with the loss of the submarine he was commanding, the USS Robalo (SS-273). Thomas, also a submariner, eventually retired as a captain. As a junior naval officer, Edward served sea duty during the war. For years, up until their deaths, Thomas and Edward campaigned vigorously for the restoration of their father’s four-star rank. Subsequently, Edward’s and Thomas’s sons in turn have kept the effort going to this day on behalf of their grandfather.
One result of their efforts was a review of the situation in the mid-1990s by Under Secretary of Defense Edwin Dorn. It concluded that responsibility for the damage at Pearl Harbor should not fall on only Kimmel and Short; blame was spread more broadly. The report did not exonerate the two officers, nor did it recommend restoration of their ranks. Long before that finding, one family member did take a symbolic action. Admiral Kimmel died in 1968 and was buried in a corner of the Naval Academy cemetery. Near the end of his own life, son Tom told this author: “His tombstone has four stars on it. I made sure we got that right.
From the Great White Fleet to the Pacific Fleet
Admiral Husband E. Kimmel graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1904 and served at sea in battleships, cruisers, and destroyers. As a junior officer he was on board the battleship Georgia (BB-15) during the cruise of the Great White Fleet from 1907 to 1909. In 1915 he served for a time as aide to Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt, had staff duty during World War I, and several command and staff assignments thereafter. As did many of his contemporaries, he specialized in ordnance and gunnery. He commanded the battleship New York (BB?34), a division of heavy cruisers, and the light cruisers of the U.S. Fleet’s Battle Force.
Vice Admiral John McCrea, who served in destroyers with Kimmel in the Asiatic Fleet in the mid-1920s, remembered of him: “No one worked harder at being a good naval officer.” Others shared the same sentiment. Whether speaking of a single ship or an entire fleet, the officers and men of the ships Kimmel commanded were well schooled in the many facets of war at sea.