Bachmann Blames FDR For 1930 Tariffs
Ladies and gentlemen, your United States Congress:
For those who can’t watch the video, this is Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) on the floor of Congress, blaming Franklin Delano Roosevelt for the “Hoot-Smalley Act”, which apparently raised tariffs and deepened the Great Depression.
Of course, the Hawley-Smoot Act (named after the Act’s Republican sponsors) was passed in 1930, as anyone who’s seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off knows.
Also worth mentioning–Franklin Roosevelt was opposed to the tariff hikes.
And the worst part about the whole thing is that by being such a blithering idiot for all the world to see, Bachmann has probably put quite a few dents in the credibility of free trade arguments. There’s nothing I hate worse than to see an idea I agree with (in this case, free trade) being horribly defended.
Ah, Alex, don’t run up the distress flag because Michelle the Imbecile shoots her, let us admit, attractive mouth off. She’s a stone fool and everyone whose IQ is above room temp knows it. Dentwise, I think you’re giving her way, way too much credit.
On which, see Hoot Smalley and Other Such Things, over at John Cole’s place.
Can you imagine being one of her staffers? That must be a hell of a roller coaster ride.
I expected to see Bithead here in the comments defending her.
Why’s that, Spencer?
Presumably because she blamed FDR for worsening the Great Depression.
She also claimed that the 1970 swine flu happened under Carter’s watch, when it happened under Ford’s.
On the one hand they’d probably all like to jump ship, but on the other who would hire them with this on their resume?
Well, look, in reading this I will say that Hoover’s signing Smoot, and his spending, tended to invite danger. FDR came along with the Obama-like dash to Socialism, (Or is it the other way around? Hard to tell) … thereby allowing disaster to set up housekeeping. We’re still not rid of the regulatory BS he set up.
Now as to Bachman’s mistatements, they stand on their own. I will say, though, that we have a couple names for that kind of brain fart, both involving recent Democrat Vice Presdients… Gore, and Biden.
(“Who are these guys?” indicating busts of Jefferson, Franklin and Washington, and “What’s the number for that website, anyway?”)
The concern over this seems rather selective. Call attention to it, by all means. I’ll join you. But let’s not forget who’s had the patent on this kind nonsense, all right?
As regards Smoot-Hawley, itself, let’s also remember that Obama within a few days of taking office, wrote into the ‘recovery’ act, the same kind of protectionism as Smoot offered, but on a level several times higher than Smoot envisioned.
Ah. And so, the argument now is that the Depression wouldn’t have occurred absent Hoover signing off on Smoot, given FDR’s socialism? Sorry, I don’t buy that one, either.
I don’t think Biden has brain farts, rather his brain just seems to punch itself silly at regular intervals, for no apparent reason.
I think the argument was that even though Bachmann used false evidence to support her belief that FDR worsened the recession, you will defend her because you share the same belief.
Heh. They do tend to under-estimate me, don’t they?
Well, let’s eliminate that right now.
Yes, she’s correct in that FDR made the depression worse than it needed to be, chasing his socialist dream. Hence my distrust of Obama treading that same path.
But Smoot, in place by the time he got there, gave him a head start. He’s not to blame for Smoot, but he did make it worse.
I wonder, though; What was the Democrat vote in Congress on Smoot? It’d be interesting to know, I think.
I don’t think the lefties want to play a game of their idiots versus our idiots. Both sides have ’em and both sides are quick to point out the other sides.
Now I certainly can’t defend this sort of idiocy but at least it isn’t going to damage the country like some of the idiocy I see on the other side. From what I hear Barney Frank is a very smart man but the stupid things he has done is beyond compare.
After a long day on the hill, the congresswoman just loves to go home, mix up a martini and listen to those Pack Rats…
Unfortunately it doesn’t give the party breakdown on Senate votes, nor does it imply that the Senate vote went along party lines. In the House, however, it’s quite evident that the vast majority of Republicans supported the tariff, and the vast majority of Democrats opposed.
Still, I don’t think the actions of either party’s members from 40 years ago has any bearing on the validity of either party’s position today.
Really, her comments constitute an ignorant rant, not a “brain fart”. The economy was not in recession when FDR took office, it was in a very rapid, full scale meltdown.
My wife’s boss, a wealthy life-long Republican who loves Bush (and who lived through the depression) will flat-out tell you that FDR “saved the country” during the depression.
Can you support that statement with data?
40 years ago? How about nearly 80?
I like to joke that most conservatives are still refighting the battles of the 1970s… but Bit in particular still thinks he’s combating the New Deal. That was 75-80 years ago, and it demonstrates a fundamental pathology to even ask the question about how many democrats voted for a particular bill in 1930 as if it meant anything at all.
It was certainly headed there.
Doctor Thomas Sowell:
The answer, obviously, is “yes, it is.”
Let’s put an edge on this:
Thus endeth the lesson.
So, there’s no similarity between FDR and Obama, and their policy leanings? You’re suggesting that we’re not heade fro another FDR like depression, given the same policies (And more) that Obama is now deploying?
i sort of view her as the GOP’s own version of Maxine Waters and Joe Biden.
Every party has to have their fools, and this one is the GOP’s.
I like Sowell, but his thinking here is a bit one-dimensional, as tends to happen when you are creating an argument to support your belief system.
Smoot-Hawley was clearly a failure, and it clearly made matters worse. Does it follow that ALL govermental response to an economic crisis is doomed to failure? I see nothing to support that argument. You do IT work, thus you know that some approaches fail, and others succeed. Or when something is broken, do you just call and endless meeting and sit around talking hoping it will all work out somehow? (I do know places where they do that).
The banking system was collapsing as FDR took office. The economy was not heading for a meltdown, it was there.
FDR’s programs, though they did not end the depression (WW2 did that) did greatly mitigate the vast amount of human suffering that was going on in the country at that time. They did prevent a complete economic collapse.
Actually, FDR did, at one point, make the depression worse. In 1937, concerned about deficits, he prematurely cut back federal spending , leading to the “Roosevelt Recession”>
No, Bit, I am suggested you are a sociopath who has somehow substituted his own identity with the interests of the Republican party. And that as a result, you think positions held by the Democratic party in the 1930s are relevant to issues today. Just like fanatically jihadists are still going on and on about the harm inflicted on them during the Crusades, you are locking in this Manichean Democrats vs. Republicans worldview that tries to focus every issue into a generations long partisan war.
You are, in short, living in a bizarre little fantasy world of your own creation. And the sad part is… you are an accurate reflection of the mainstream of the Republican party today. Which frankly, is a dangerous thing. Not because your brand of “Republicanism” has any chance to be influential, but rather because it is bad for democracy to not have a serious and credible opposition party.
No worries, soon enough Senator Franken will be there to give us the something or other-Smalley act, because, gosh darn it, we’re good and people really like us.
Smoot was the start. FDR was the rest.
Clearly, then, you don’t know me very well.
Else, you’re doing a little projection dance. I disagree with you, therefore I must be nucking futz.
Either way, hang it up; it ain’t happening.
And weren’t you the one complaining to me not long ago, about respect?
“My wife’s boss, a wealthy life-long Republican who loves Bush (and who lived through the depression) will flat-out tell you that FDR “saved the country” during the depression.”
FDR was lucky WWII intervened. As it is we have only recently been discovering the real statistics related to the economy and employment during FDR’s presidency. During WWII the press and politicians opposed to FDR’s policies came together to support the country.
By then the Myth of the Saviour was firmly implanted in US history.
PS. What does your wife’s boss think of Obama?
No, there are plenty of perfectly reasonable ways to express disagreement with my views or Obama’s policies (which are not always the same btw) that don’t involve insisting that the issues parallel the 1970s or 1930s or whatever.
On this particular issue, for instance, Obama’s acceptance of some protectionist measures is precisely the opposite of FDR’s relatively rapid easing of tariffs when he took office. Back then it was the GOP that was largely protectionist and the Democrats more free traders. This, however, varied on issues — Dems were protectionist on some agricultural products (Sugar particularly), while Republicans tended to be protectionists on industrial products.
But regardless, it was a complex world then as now, and reducing things to Obama = FDR = Socialist = Bad is a sign of (a) ignorance, (b) hackery, or (c) delusion.
Calling you nuts, in a way, is my way of giving you the benefit of the doubt.
BTW, I am teasing you somewhat… I am also a little serious….
Boy! Better not question Bernard……..or you are a “fanatical jihadist…….living in a bizarre little fantasy world.”
Complete nonsense, and you are smart enough to know better. The economy was collapsing even as FDR was sworn in. Period. The damage had already been done. The kind of nonsense you are peddling is what is turning the GOP into a group of delusional people muttering at each other.
As I said earlier, FDR did not end the depression, WW2 did. When FDR took office, the economy was bleeding out, and we were not far from having a corpse on our hands. He put the economy on life support, and kept it alive until ww2 revived it.
The good news is that our economy is larger and more dynamic then in the 30s by orders of magnitude, and we should be able to find our way out of the weeds.
Or, as I put it, Nucking Futz.
You’re learnin’, Drew…. You’re learnin’.
Perhaps, but I’m willing to cede the idea that they’re similar, just so you hvae a leg left to stand on… because thr truth is that they are VERY similar. And I fear, so will the results be, as well.
Yep. And left to it’s own adjustments the whole thing would ahve been over in a year or two. They’d not have had to wait for WWII to solve the problem for them.
It’s seldom indeed, economies go belly up on their own, they almost always have government help. And more government ‘help’ isn’t the solution.
I think you would have a hard time trying to prove that.
Oh, Drew… really? Gonna make common cause with Bithead?
Defend your assertion, or withdraw, Bernard.
And you base that theory on… what exactly?
Had FDR failed to act, a more likely scenario would be that the banking system collapses entirely, the economy becomes dominated by the barter system, and when WW2 comes around, we no longer have the industrial capacity to meet the challenge…
Well, again, from Sowell:
Now, there’s only one of two ways we can go with this; Either the result of the crash was far worse than any historian has ever indicated, and took half a decade to be fully felt, or else the fixes as applied by FDR made things worse in direct proportion.
The latter seems more logical.
A third way is that reactions prior to FDR’s inauguration played a significant role in making the problem worse between 1929 and 1933. You seem to be equating any “fixes” applied during that time with FDR.
….would be advised (and I’m shocked at its absence in this thread) to acknowledge the role of money. See Friedman and Schwartz’s Monetary History of the United States and the role of money in the Depression. It is perhaps the single greatest variable.
Tone it down.
Pots and kettles, from what I can see.
Unemployment is but is single subset of economic data. Per capita GDP sank like a stone under Hoover, but began to rise almost immediatly under FDR, and continued to increase throughout his term of office.
How about some data on overall business failures? Bank failures? Monetary supply? The focus on unemployment smacks of cherry picking.
At any rate, the data suggests that the unemployment horse was out of the barn before FDR took office.
1929 – 3.2 percent
1930 – 8.7 percent
1931 – 15.9 percent
1932 – 23.6 percent
1933 – 24.9 percent (the highest during the Great Depression)
1934 – 21.7 percent
1935 – 20.1 percent
1936 – 16.9 percent
1937 – 14.3 percent
1938 – 19.0 percent
I’d say that chart, anjin-san, does more to undermine the notion that FDR saved the country/economy than anything else. The economy does not turn on a dime and shortly, very shortly, after FDR took office things turned around. This also fits with the unemployment data as that is a lagging indicator/series that will peak after the economy starts to expand again.
Looking at this graph is interesting in that the U.K., which went of the gold system quite early, seems to have dodged the worst of it in terms of GPD at least.
Via Edit: Oh, and NBER puts the end of the Great Depression as March 1933. There was then an expansion for just over 5 years.
How about we just stup with the silly notion of giving credit to Presidents for ending recessions when in reality they probably did nothing.
The FDR haters around here are so adorable…amazing that just about everyone (historians, most of the American people who are polled on the issue, the media, and many people who actually lived through the Great Depression) think that FDR was a great president, probably the best of the 20th century…it’s telling that it’s mostly right-wing ideologues who think otherwise…
Explain, An Interested Party, how FDR turned the economy around in 2 months given that it had been in recesion for about 41 months prior to his taking office. Such an answer would likely be of great interest to the current administration.
Confidence does not appear on a pie chart, but it is a very real thing. It was pretty close to zero when FDR took office.
Why is paper money worth anything? Because people have confidence that it is…
I am curious Steve, how come you don’t take issue with Bit’s contention that the economy went from bad to train wreck as a result of FDR’s policies?
Explain, An Interested Party, how (Obama) FDR turned the economy around in (3) 2 months given that it had been in recesion for about (13)41 months prior to his taking office.”
Because the media said so……..if you can hear them above the slurping noises….
meanwhile, back in the real world…..
Ummmm… re read point one.
Ill take that one: Accounting tricks?
And yes, I think it is interesting to the current administration.
By the way; Somebody ask Josh Marshall when we’re going to see TPM gving space to a Bidenism or two, like the one we saw just today.
Because in looking at the data, 1 to 2 months after FDR took office it appears to have turned around. GDP was growing and unemployment was going to peak and start going down.
While confidence is an ecnomic indicator I don’t think you can pin it all on that. 43 months is a long time, it is quite possible that the economy was starting to turn around and possibly the improvement in confidence helped, but the idea that FDR is a savior we should all fall to our knees and thank is just not going to fly with me.
I think we need to stop fetishizing our elected leaders.
More cherry picking bit? The chart clearly disproves your notion that FDR took a bad economy and made it worse with his policies. You are kind of quiet about that…
re: Steve Verdon at April 30, 2009 16:39
I don’t have to do that because I never made that claim…
So…then saying FDR didn’t save the economy, its questionable that his policies ended the Depression, and at best merely alleviated some of the pain due to the Depression, and that in 1937 he dropped the ball badly so that unemployment went back up to 1 in 5…such statements are reasonable and doesn’t qualify one as an FDR hater? Just trying to get a better handle on your rhetoric.
Oh, and in looking at wikipedia’s entry for Roosevelt, he came into office in March of 1933. The Great Depression was dated as ending in March 1933. I think its safe to say Roosevelt did damn little to end the Depression.
Can we just stop fetishizing the man. He may have been a good president, even possibly a great one with WWII. But he didn’t end the Depression and he didn’t invent bread.
Huh? What assertion?
That Bithead sees all politics are a Manichean struggles between the forces of Good — Republicans — and forces of Evil — Democrats. Even going so far as to cite the policies of Democrats in the 1930s or 1970s as evidence of what Democrats today believe.
Bithead — would you be willing to name a single time that any Democrat has been right about anything significant? If so, I will gladly retract my statement.
What, the two posts on TPM today isn’t enough?
Steve-Aren’t you being a bit disingenuous claiming that the Depression ended so employment should have risen? At the end of this post I have a link. Look at the chart at the bottom. GDP in 1929 was $103 billion. In 1933 it was $56 billion. The economy then grew rapidly, why the Depression was considered over, but GDP did not reach $100 billion again until 1940.
I think Presidents get too much credit and too much blame for the economy’s performance. Most economists I read, quite a few, believe FDR had a mixed record on affecting the Depression. Outlier partisans are the ones making total negative or positive assessments IMO.
Mostly because that’s your fantasy. Address unemployment.
No, Bernard. You’re talking out the wrong end. I’m not too keen on about half the Elected Republicans, either. YOu want to pat closer attention.
Of course. I’ll use this example, since it’s been mentioned here several times, once inside the last month, if I’m not mistaken…that I thought Clinton interventions in Kosovo was one of the few things he managed to get correct.
Oops, forgot. On my dinky no account blog, we have resurrected the idea of the Celebrity Death Match. Our current leading contenders would be a match between Bachman and Maxine Waters. Since inane dialogue was part of the allure of that show, we think these two would be perfect.
Funny, because I thought the Kosovo intervention was badly conceived and executed even worse.
But fair enough. Bithead, I hereby apologize for my unfair efforts to apply pop psychology to your political views. You are neither a sociopath nor do you have the same sort of Manichean world view as a jihadist.
I’d substitute Cynthia McKinney for Waters personally.
Well, I suppose I can try an make it more plain. Look at the data I posted above. in 1929 unemployment is virtually nil. In 1930, it takes off like a rocket, rapidly accelarating. In ’32 FDR takes office, and unemployment peaks shortly thereafter, then begins to decline until 1937, where FDR made a serious miscalculation, hence the “Roosevelt Recession”.
Unemployment did remain as a terrible problem until the war came along. FDR mitigated. to some extent, the problem that he inherited. To claim that he was gasoline on the fire is nonsense.
OK bit, now address the per-capita GDP numbers, from The Hoover years thru the FDR Era. Maybe produce some data to support your claims. Citing Sowell does not impress me all that much, I was reading him 25 years ago. Don’t just cite some authority, do a little leg work and support your position. Or will you just give us a lame “I’m not playing your game”?
Yea, that peace and prosperity thing really sucked…
Well I know I never said he was, and I don’t think anyone else in this thread did. I do think FDR was a great President, we have had a few, Lincoln comes to mind. He certainly was a brilliant politician. His courage and determination in dealing with his handicap is something I think just about anyone can respect.
None of this equates to “worship”. I admire FDR, just like I admire John Lennon, Bruce Lee, Ghandi, or Ronald Reagan, for that matter.
I am not sure why the level of respect FDR enjoys so bothers you. My Grandfather came from a place where the poverty was so bad, 4 of his siblings did not live to the age of 10. When he was 8 he was sent down to the mines where he nearly died. He came to America with a little change in his pocket & worked for 42 years as a dry cleaner. He owned his own home & sent all his kids to college. Grandpa loved FDR until the day he died, simply because he felt Roosevelt was a great man who genuinely cared about the average man. What the heck is wrong with that?
Nothing I have ever learned (and I have done some research) leads me to conclude that Grandpa was wrong about Roosevelt.
Wait… peace and prosperity? the image of Peace you’re trying t o push gets clipped in the line you’re referring to, sice it talk about Kosovo…a military deployment we’re still not home from. Only you could miss that one, Anjin.
Properity? The dot-com bibble? A modified CRA that pushed us into our current situation?
The case against the execution is certainly arguable. I epect those issues to come up every time a liberal’s CinC. The justifcations for going there, however, are unarguable, IMV.
Drew answers that point rather nicely.
No. You are ignoring how recessions are determined ot be over. You look at growth in GDP and when you have, IIRC, 3 or more consecutive quarters of growth a recession is deemed over. The idea that GDP has to surpass the previous high is not and never has been the measure.
And yes, it is quite possible for unemployment to peak after a recessions end. Unemployment/employment is a lagging indicator, not a coincident or leading indicator.
I’d say he had no influence since it ended precisely as he became President. If you believe the above that Presidents don’t have nearly the impact they often claim, then logic dictates that FDR had extremely little to no effect at all.
In this case it is based on your premise: Presidents get or claim to much credit in ending bad economies, coupled with the two observations that the Depression was determined to be over in March of 1933 by the organization that has been making such determinations for a very long time and that FDR took office in March of 1933.
Nothing shocking here at all.
Historical revisionism? No, FDR took office in March of 1933.
You mentioned your wife’s boss or some such who is supposedly an ardent Republican who claims FDR was our economic savior. The man is most likely ignorant of the facts.
Because so many fetishize him. That comment about thanking some higher force on our knees was actually something written in the New York Times shortly after his death. Your wife’s boss/co-worker.
To quote Lord Acton,
“…[P]ower tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. All great mean are almost always bad men,….”
I happen to agree with Dave Schuler that FDR was at best a statist who pursued very bizzare policies like slaughtering pigs to drive up pork prices. Paid farmers not to grow food so that produce prices would rise. All at a time when people were unemployed and securing food, let alone shelter was of great concern. He favored collectivization and subordinating the objectives of big business to the goals he set for the nation. Many of his early programs were deemed unconstitutional and in response threatened to pack the court with judges till the SCOTUS voted his way. Clearly an attempt to undermine the checks-and-balances in the Constitution.
Please. I think you know there are no absolutes. Did the world’s only superpower have military deployments during what I refer to as a time of peace, including some where shots were fired? Of course it did. BTW, how many men did we lose in Kosovo? Was there some economic problems during the 8 year Clinton era, of course there were. Grow up Bit, and learn to give credit where credit is due.
Has there ever, in human history, been a period of absolute peace? No. Either you are just using bogus criteria because your ideology will not allow you to give Clinton credit for his accomplishments, or you have not studied history much or well.
The reign of Antonius Pius was a very good time to be a Roman, one of the very in the long history of their civilization. Now you can argue that his preoccupation with domestic affairs left many issues unresolved out on the marches that Marcus Aurelius had to deal with, but well he was in charge, life was about as good as it ever got for the average Roman.
The bottom line is that the Clinton years were a good time for America, and for most American’s. Just as the Reagan years and the Eisenhower years were. In the final analysis, that is really all you can ask of a leader. Reagan & Ike both made some big mistakes, just as Clinton did. Ike saw 3 recessions and he overthrew 2 democratically elected governments. I will still take him any day. They were all fine Presidents in my book.
Oh, I have… exactly why, you see, I called BS on your claim. I still do. The ‘peace and prosperity’ line can only be taken seriously where it actually applies.
And in both the cases of ‘peace’ and ‘properity’ Clinton doesn’t qualify, particularly given the mess the the Clintons left hebind.
Who knew that Lincoln and FDR were conservatives…
Oh, then President Obama deserves a hell of a lot of leeway, considering the mess that Bush left behind…
Yea, big mess. A mild economic downturn and repeated warnings to bush about the seriousness of the terrorist threat that were ignored because bush was focused on tax cuts for billionaires and keeping consumers from being able to get government data about tire safety, for God’s sake.
I guess you prefer the absolute train wreck Bush left us…
OK, bit, enlighten us. When in the history of the United States have we had a period of peace and prosperity? Confer with the 3 other members of the GOP that remain if you wish…
Hmmm, well he was there, and he has forgotten more about money than most people, including you, I suspect, will ever know. How many millions have you made in your lifetime? I am talking about someone who has made many times many. Some know the theory, and others know the practice…
You really do operate with your eyes closed, don’t you?
Thank you Anjin, you prove my point, however unwittingly. If you’re willing to admit that point, then stop talking about peace like it was actually attainable. THere’s quite a bit of implication there. Work on it for a while.
And the level of hero worship that goes on surrounding FDR, is all about whether not the policies that he implemented , and the principles upon which they are based, are in fact valid.
They are not. They never were. It is on that basis that my disrespect for the man rests. It’s on the same basis… that of policy and the principles behind that policy that I also disrespect Obama, THe Peanut Farmer, Bubba, and LBJ. Clear enough?