Roosevelt, Obama and the Economy: Equally Inept

by Crocker on October 22, 2011, 4:38 pm

in Economics,History,Politics

When it comes to demagoguery and economic incompetence, Franklin Roosevelt and Barack Obama are in a dead heat.

Over the past several years we’ve been treated to the spectacle of government waste on a scale never before seen in human history. TARP and the various stimulus programs have put us trillions further into debt. At the same time our president has vilified entire groups of people to create division while his regulators persecute ordinary citizens. Crony capitalism abounds.

Demagoguery and government waste is unfortunately nothing new. Both Franklin Roosevelt and Barack Obama seem to have followed the same dog-eared playbook – not one they invented, mind you, but used with gusto nevertheless.

After all, Roosevelt’s New Dealers enacted the Agricultural Adjustment Act, by which the government paid farmers to plow under crops, slaughter livestock and destroy surplus food stocks at a time when people were going hungry.

And then there was the National Recovery Act, which imposed wage and price controls on small businesses in an effort to maintain prices in a deflationary economy. But not every business could pay employees the required wages.

From the December 17, 1934, issue of Time magazine, we learn what happened to Fred Perkins, who owned a small battery manufacturing business in York, Pennsylvania, and who was unable to pay his employees the NRA-mandated wage of 40 cents per hour. The government imprisoned Perkins, eventually tried him and fined him – and his employees – out of existence. Here is a “March of Time” newsreel story about Perkins’ travails.

As we know, the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately declared the NRA unconstitutional in Schechter Poultry v. United States (known to generations of lawyers as the “sick chicken case”). Unfortunately, the court was too late to save Fred Perkins’ business or his employees’ jobs.

A compliant mainstream media willingly produced propaganda to magnify both Roosevelt and the New Deal. Here’s a “patriotically contributed” MGM short-subject extolling both, starring Jimmy Durante. Observe that the banker is the villain and the viewer is left with Roosevelt’s all-seeing visage. Rather like today, don’t you think?

The only thing new in this world is the history that you don’t know.

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