I just heard Bob Beckle reiterate his view that Barack Obama is the best economic president since Roosevelt, and I have to agree with him, but I'd change economic to un-economic. The two presidents do have a lot in common. They are both great speakers who promised prompt action and did not deliver.
At the beginning of both of their presidencies they were faced with rising unemployment and banking crises and both rushed into stimulus packages and bailouts. Roosevelt was elected in Nov of 1932 and inaugurated early 1933 and two years later, in spite of his prompt actions and urgent stimulus package, the country could only boast "some measure" of recovery. Roosevelt's answer to this was a government entitlement program, higher taxes on the wealthy, control over the banks and a general expansion of the power of the federal government. Roosevelt is responsible for the Federal Reserve as well. A great legacy as we can see it now.
After his re-election in 1936, which of course was the result of promises to fix a problem he hadn't yet been able to impact in his first 4 years, he attempted to change the Supreme Court to load it with supporters who would not object to his New Deal initiatives. He failed, but this opened the door to government regulations on the economy. Thanks Frank. More Power.
With the war growing in Europe, Roosevelt failed to send troops and help our allies, waiting until the Nazi army had spread nearly beyond control and until we were attacked ourselves. His isolationist ideas would not risk our men to stop the Nazi's because, after all, what does the holocaust have to do with us over here. No moral or ethical stance was worth a human life. Gee, sounds familiar.
Roosevelt's economic policies are credited with delivering us from the depression, but the facts don't support this. After 8 years of Roosevelt's rule the unemployment rate had stabilized in the mid-teens. In 1941, before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the unemployment rate was still 14%. Roosevelt had taken an astronomical employment rate and after all of his years of his policies, failed to even cut that in half. All Roosevelt really did was prolong the pain.
There are many parallels between the two presidents, but what I can't understand is why Roosevelt is considered to be a great economic president. The unemployment rate was never under control under his watch until we joined the War and sent our men overseas to fight. Then the unemployment rate was so low that the women were encouraged to work. The issue with this is that it could have, and should have, happened sooner.
The philosophy of government control of all things that Roosevelt began and Obama is following has already proven itself to be ineffectual. Not only that, but the majority of the economic problems we currently face are the result of programs that Roosevelt initiated.
If Bob Beckle is right and Obama is the best economic president since Roosevelt, then we're basically screwed.
The information on Roosevelt was obtained from http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/franklindroosevelt
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