9/20/2008

Garage Logic From Hell


"The slogan of progress is changing from the full dinner pail to the full garage."

Herbert Hoover

7 comments:

Roadkill said...

Hey Sunny,

How about some quotes from FDR and HST, on any subject, juxtaposed with pictures from the Jim Crow Segregated south?

As I mentioned once in another comment, you really ought to pick up a copy of "The Forgotton Man" by Amity Shlaes. The author argues, persuasively, that neither Hoover nor Roosevelt really understood the root causes of the Great Depression, and that both men deepened and prolonged the country's misery through progams and policies that heaped massive new burdens on the American ecomomy.

Christopher Crock said...

Roadkill,

"and that both men deepened and prolonged the country's misery through progams and policies that heaped massive new burdens on the American ecomomy."

Oh I suppose you mean burdens like Social Security? How much better we'd be without that. Right!

Roadkill said...

Mr. Crock,

No, I don't mean social security.

I mean things such as the Hoover-backed Smoot-Hawley tariff act, which decimated international trade, and Hoover's tax hikes, which the depressed ecomomy could not afford. I also mean Roosevelt's plethora of regulatory agencies such as the NRA, which established price setting and business rules that strangled the weak ecomomy. Also, Roosevelt's utilities regulations and other "bold, persistent experimentation" with the ecomomy that stifled entrepeneurship and led to a dearth of investment.

Roosevelt did some things right, such as establishing the Federal Reserve and creating worthwhile agencies such as the CCC and the WPA. But many of this other initiatives were feckless and irresponsible actions that did far more harm than good.

Wild speculation and the stock market crash of 1929 tipped the country into recession. But government meddling in the ecomomy under both Hoover and Roosevelt turned that recession into a depression that lasted 10 miserable years. The question is not whether WWII ended the Great Depression; rather,the question should be: why was is such a deep depression and why did it last from 1929 to 1940?

Sunny B. said...

Roadkill:

Are you suggesting that Roosevelt had a well defined contingency plan at his disposal that showed the golden path to peace and prosperity and a short, painless Despression?

It looks like FDR and company were winging it and throwing programs against the wall and seeing what stuck. If it didn't work, they moved on. My guess is that is exactly what we are seeing with this Wall Street bailout. If anybody thinks anybody has a golden plan here, let's see it. The story and direction changes every day.

Roadkill said...

Sunny,

I couldn't agree more.

But I'm sure you'll agree that the throw/stick strategy is crazy. It worked poorly in the 1930's and will work poorly now. God forbid that it lead to an 11 year depression followed by world war.

The last thing we should be doing now is bailing out companies that violated basic business rules and ran themselves into bankruptcy because they actually counted on a government bailout.

I think the answer to our current problems has to do with letting the market work without govenment intervention. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, such meddling did more damage than not during the 1930's, and will do so again. Let's let a few big companies fail; others will not let that happen again.

Sunny B. said...

RK:

I checked out "The Forgotten Man" from the library and have started reading it.

Looks like a very interesting book.

Roadkill said...

Sunny,

I look forward to your book review!