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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Progressive Historians: History For Our Future

President Hoover was criticized for being a tool of Wall Street, a do-nothing President and a supporter of Mellon's trickle down economics. According to William Leuchtenburg in The Perils of Prosperity, 1914-1932; Hoover was just to modest in his evaluation of the economic problems he faced.

Although he disagreed with the banking sectors desire to deflate the economy, cut spending, and let markets handle the problems without intervention; he jumped in anyway. He looked at the pathway out of this recession with federal infrastructure spending and asked states and
local governments to do likewise. He brought in railroad and utility owners and convinced them to build and invest to stimulate the economy. Other major businesses were also summoned to Washington and he gained pledges to keep and maintain wage rates.

In 1929 he signed the Agricultural Marketing Act designed to encourage the growth of Cooperatives and he intervened to bolster prices with Grain and Cotton farmers. This was "big business" in the 1920's although some farming was in decline we still had a strong agrarian economy. So we find a Conservative who intervened into the market and "bailed out" farmers. Nothing new...The Federal Government has done this before. The problem was his reckless abandonment of the jobless, his lack of understanding with state and local relief programs because this level of government was already tightening the belt on spending and refused to take on projects that were needed without Federal Grants to support infrastructure projects. These Conservatives did nothing to help the less fortunate because that "would destroy the character of the recipients and create a class of public wards"....

Cities and states stopped relief payments of as little as $2.39 weekly in New York, Dallas, Houston, and Detroit. In Detroit the auto industry had fired hundreds of workers and because they were located outside of Detroit they were unable to tax these factories at that time because of their locations. When the Detroit Mayor tried to borrow funds stay in operation the banks would not loan to him and the auto industry would only if they cut welfare funds further. The Mayor had his own "Crap Sandwich", took the money, and then dropped "one-third of the families on relief". Local relief continued to be reduced as things got worse and even Churches turned away the hungry....

Many cities had no relief programs at all and those "unable to pay rent or meet mortgage payments, many families lost their homes....and began (building) crude shelters of packing crates and old pieces of metal....(that began to be known as) colonies of...'Hoovervilles'." I believe this is the America many Wisconsin Republicans now envision for us as well as many of those Republicans in primary mode for President.

Yes...Many do not follow the lessons of History. President Hoover started out with some great infrastructure projects but his Conservative Beliefs took him down the wrong path...He did not get money to small business and help them grow jobs and he turned his back on WE THE PEOPLE....Governor Walker has the same philosophies...take from the less fortunate so the upper 1% of the economy get more and allow the entire economy to collapse. Speaker Boehner and Paul Ryan like this kind of philosophy....No Federal Stimulus directly to the people, no increase taxes on those who can afford them, and no incentives unless it is to their top 1%...This new breed Republican would rather see depression to inflation and would seek a return to slave labor instead of a labor strong enough to negotiate for a decent wage and life.

President Obama's plan needs to be launched. I believe based upon my reading of it that it consists of moderate Republican Solutions and a Moderate Center Left program of money infusion to Small Business, the poor, the unemployed, and the middle class. It makes sense to draw income to support this plan from those who manipulated laws that set us up for this mess but not so much that one can see this as punishment. President Obama's Plan is a great launch with solid solutions that show Pragmatic Judgments:

Quotes come from this most worthwhile book. I highly recommend it. I chose the Kindle Edition but there are several book editions available.
Leuchtenburg, William E. (2010-09-23). The Perils of Prosperity, 1914-1932 (Kindle Locations 3408-3422). University of Chicago Press. Kindle Edition.

Progressive Historians: History For Our Future

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