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David Rosenberg: Barack Obama is Sounding Like Herbert Hoover

by Brett on January 27, 2011

David Rosenberg writes in today’s Breakfast With Dave that Obama was channeling Herbert Hoover during the State of the Union!

A long-standing colleague and reader sent this off to me yesterday and it blew me away. Read on:

Obama’s State of the Union:

“Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again.”

Herbert Hoover, May 1st 1930, US Chamber of Commerce Meeting:

“While the crash only took place six months ago, I am convinced we have now passed the worst and with continued unity of effort we shall rapidly recover.”

Obama’s State of the Union:

“Thanks to the tax cuts we passed, Americans’ paychecks are a little bigger today. Every business can write off the full cost of the new investments they make this year. These steps, taken by Democrats and Republicans, will grow the economy and add to the more than one million private sector jobs created last year.”

Herbert Hoover, October 22, 1932, campaign speech in Detroit:

“It can be demonstrated that the tide has turned and that the gigantic forces of depression are today in retreat. Our measures and policies have demonstrated their effectiveness. They have preserved the American people from certain chaos. They have preserved a final fortress of stability in the world.”

Obama’s State of the Union:

“But now that the worst of the recession is over…”

Herbert Hoover, June 1930, to a delegation requesting a public works project:

“Gentlemen, you have come sixty days too late. The depression is over.”

Obama’s State of the Union:

“The steps we’ve taken over the last two years may have broken the back of this recession…”

Herbert Hoover, State of the Union, December 6, 1932:

“The unprecedented emergency measures enacted and policies adopted undoubtedly saved the country from economic disaster…”

I’ve done quite a bit of reading on the Great Depression over the last few years – the parallels with our current recession are striking in some respects!

One of the most interesting things I’ve found is that the Fed’s actions were also viewed as wildly inflationary at the time.

From Murray Rothbard’s America’s Great Depression:

If the Federal Reserve had an inflationist attitude during the boom, it was just as ready to try to cure the depression by inflating further. It stepped in immediately to expand credit and bolster shaky financial positions. In an act unprecedented in its history, the Federal Reserve moved in during the week of the crash—the final week of October—and in that brief period added almost $300 million to the reserves of the nation’s banks. During that week, the Federal Reserve doubled its holdings of government securities, adding over $150 million to reserves, and it discounted about $200 million more for member banks. Instead of going through a healthy and rapid liquidation of unsound positions, the economy was fated to be continually bolstered by governmental measures that could only prolong its diseased state.

President Hoover was proud of his experiment in cheap money, and in his speech to the business conference on December 5, he hailed the nation’s good fortune in possessing the splendid Federal Reserve System, which had succeeded in saving shaky banks, had restored confidence, and had made capital more abundant by reducing interest rates.

Gives you pause when considering the current inflation concerns, huh!

For more reading about the Great Depression, check out these recent pieces:


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