Norman Lear, in an article on HuffPo, said this in regard to a Romney win on Tuesday:
“Thanks to a series of right-wing nominees who joined the Court before the Obama administration, the right wing’s decades-long desire to roll back the New Deal and just about every good thing that has happened since then has a friendly ear on the pro-corporate court.”
The common wisdom among seemingly all of America, but specifically, every single political science professor is that FDR is one of the finest presidents in our history. I have heard this throughout my life, and had never really looked into it to be able to form my own opinion. Well, as I’ve learned more and more, “common wisdom” isn’t always so wise, and just because a professor tells you something doesn’t mean it’s true.
This is where Dr. Burton Folsom comes in. In his book, New Deal or Raw Deal?, Folsom takes a scalpel to the economic policies of FDR, and the results may surprise some. As it turns out, FDR’s policies, and ultimately his ego actually prolonged the depression dramatically.
As I have been reading the book, I have been struck by just how similar FDR and Barack Obama are, not only in regards to their egos, but their policies as well. History is repeating itself and we are watching as if something new is happening; as if we haven’t seen this before. Seemingly no one is willing to connect the dots between FDR and Obama. Well, I’m going to connect the dots. Lets break his down, and build the case.
In a confession before the House Ways and Means Committee, on May 9th, 1939, Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morganthau Jr. (One of FDR’s closest and most trusted friends), said this:
“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before, and it doesn’t work…We have never made good on our promises…after eight years of this administration, we have just as much unemployment as when we started…and an enormous debt to boot!”
Sound familiar? After $5.4 trillion in debt expansion during his first term, unemployment is now back up to 7.9% (though the 7.8% September jobs numbers were extremely suspect in the first place, when you consider that a great number of the new jobs being counted were part time), which is higher than where it was when he took office. Obama promised that unemployment wouldn’t rise above 8% if his stimulus was passed, and it subsequently skyrocketed to above 10%. Obama has made many promises and claims that he has subsequently failed to keep.
2. FDR was said to be a “natural leader”, with a charm and voice that reassured the people. In New Deal or Raw Deal?, Folsom says that Roosevelt was “So congenial, so charismatic and so optimistic that he always had people believing he could succeed in whatever he undertook to do.” Roosevelt’s son, Elliot said this of his father “Promoters were drawn to him like bees to honey.”
A reporter from the New York Post said that Roosevelt “Speaks with a strong, clear voice, with a tenor note…which rings-sings…with…and intangible, utterly charming and surely vote-winning quality.”
Many people, it seems a majority of the nation were lulled by FDR and his intangible charms. Sound familiar? Going into the 2008 election, Barack Obama, having little to no accomplishments of his own and numerous potential flaws, began to propagate a personality and speaking style that enchanted the country. Obama was creating a cult of personality. This blinded people to his flaws (such as his association with Jeremiah Wright, his abortion record, and his socialist leanings) and any potential, future issues.
Emotional appeal is always underestimated, but ultimately plays a huge part in every election. It just so happens that Barack Obama, much like FDR, has that intangible something that draws people in. Unfortunately, a large part of the electorate fails to see the sewage underneath the speech.
3. FDR, according to Folsom, had a terrible business sense. He hated business owners because he believed that they were greedy and horde wealth. FDR wanted to spread the wealth.
According to New Deal or Raw Deal?, FDR was gifted at politics, but lacked business sense. He ran a number of failed businesses before getting back into politics.
“One friend, Franklin Lane, Wilson’s secretary of Interior, concluded, ‘Roosevelt knows nothing about finance, but he doesn’t know he doesn’t know.'”
Henry Wallace, later FDR’s Veep, said this: “I reached the conclusion…that I would under no circumstances, ever have any business dealings with him.”
And according to Folsom, FDR’s grades at Harvard were none too good, mostly consisting of C’s and C pluses. This is all to say that he was not an intelligent business man.
Over the course of his presidency, FDR waged war on businesses. He would demagogue big business in his speeches because he knew that business owners could take him down. They were the ones suffering the most, and they knew it was FDR’s policies that were hurting the economy. Roosevelt tried to create a divided culture. Turning the “rich” against the poor, the middle class against the rich, and average citizens against business. Class warfare was the only way he believed he could keep his job.
Sound familiar? Obama has fostered resentment by constantly pitting the middle class against the “rich” and citizens against the evils of big business. He has created a phony war on women to make it appear as though conservatives hate women, and he has demagogued Romney’s wealth to paint him as an outsider, who doesn’t understand the “common man.”
4. FDR would lie, then in the face of proof, completely deny it ever happened. The most famous example of this is when he claimed to have written the constitution of Haiti. He said: “The facts are that I wrote Haiti’s constitution myself and, if I do say so, I think it’s a pretty good constitution.”
When the opposition found out about this lie, they were all over it. Despite repeating the lie several times, once in Butte–where 31 people signed a document swearing that they heard him say it–he denied ever having said it.
Sound familiar? Nowadays, it is much more difficult to get away with a lie as a politician, yet the Obama administration continues to do so. Let’s take the $5 trillion dollar lie, for example. During the first debate, Obama repeatedly accused Romney of wanting a $5 trillion tax increase. When interviewed on CNN the next day, campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter repeated the lie. She was eventually forced to admit that it wasn’t quite true. And guess what? Despite video evidence of Cutter admitting a lie (insomuch as she can), they are now right back to repeating the same lie.
The Obama administration continues to lie, even after being caught, and most of the media are complicit in it. This is just one example of many. I’m not writing a book here.
5. Federal bailout money causes greedy and dishonest competition for votes, and kills innovation and competition among businesses.
Roosevelt described his desire to see government intervene in the economy as such: We need government intervention “to inject life into our ailing economic order.” And create a “More equitable distribution of national income.”
FDR bailed out states with millions of taxpayer dollars. This caused states to compete for how much money they could get, resulting in extremely dishonest practices. Some states, like Massachusetts refused bailout money, but were still taxed for the other states. And once Massachusetts refused the money, the citizenry realized that they could get the bailout if they elected another Governor. The next election, Governor Ely was ousted and Massachusetts got the bailout money.
Even more, the states that needed the money most weren’t the ones getting it. The states Roosevelt needed for re-election were the ones where most of the cash was going.
Again, sound familiar? Obama’s $800 billion dollar bailout did little, if nothing to improve the economy, but waste taxpayer money. In addition, Governors who refuse the money are now in danger of being ousted simply due to greed. It is behaving similarly to FDR’s bailout. Finally, the bailout of the auto-industry has not only been a failure (GM still owes taxpayers $25 billion), it has stifled growth and promoted failure.
Businesses compete by innovating and making things better than they were before. If the government bails out an industry, it encourages laziness and non-competitiveness, which ultimately fails the consumer and the industry.
Government intervention is creating a nanny state that is allowing more and more people to become dependent. Once dependency rules, our nation is lost. History is repeating. FDR enacted many programs, such as the NRA (National Recovery Act), the AAA, and Social Security, among others. All of these programs put large burdens on the taxpayer, and most have ultimately failed.
6. Higher taxes on the “rich” and big business simply gets passed on to the consumer. Higher taxes restrict cash flow.
Prior to FDR’s presidency, the secretary of the treasury was Andrew Mellon. He created a plan that cut taxes on high income from 73% to 24%, and on smaller incomes from 4% to 1/2%. There was an immediate economic boom.
However, by 1939, FDR had set the top income tax rate at a staggering 79%. Businesses were no longer taking risks and investing because they could keep so little of their money. FDR was upset that businesses wouldn’t pay more in taxes to fund his various programs and still invest in the economy. Higher taxes, as we have learned, do not stimulate growth or increase revenue to the government.
We learned this again in the 90’s, then again in the 00’s. In 1995, Bill Clinton lowered the capital Gaines tax from 28% to 20%. An economic boom followed. George Bush lowered it again to 15%. Another boom. According to economist Thomas Sowell, lowering taxes increases revenue.
What we’re learning though all of these examples is that high taxes on businesses are passed right on to the consumer, thereby rendering those taxes moot insomuch as the cash going to the government in taxes is being taken out of the pockets of consumers.
And we are learning that high taxes on individuals also stifles economic growth. It is a basic idea that the less money people get to keep, the less they will pour back into the economy. The same applies to business. Obama claimed that he wants to lower taxes for the middle class. That is false. Among the auto bailout, the stimulus, and Obamacare, Obama has already increased the tax burden on the middle class substantially. In addition, his desire to tax businesses will burden the middle class, the very consumers who he claims he wants to help.
I could go on to list numerous other ways in which Obama mirrors FDR, but I’m not writing a book. The point is that history is repeating itself, and no one is looking. The case against Obama is strong, and we need only look to history to see why. Obama is FDR reincarnated. Let’s vote out FDR.