Uploaded on Jul 14, 2011
"Some of the reactionary economists urged that we should allow the liquidation to take its course until we had found bottom.... We determined that we would not follow the advice of the bitter-end liquidationists and see the whole body of debtors of the United States brought to bankruptcy and the savings of our people brought to destruction...Instead we met the situation with proposals to private business and to Congress of the most gigantic program of economic defense and counterattack ever evolved in the history of the Republic." -Hoover
Hoover confronted a world of political possibilities when he returned home in 1919. Democratic Party leaders looked on him as a potential candidate for President, and President Wilson privately preferred Hoover as his successor. "There could not be a finer one," asserted Franklin D. Roosevelt, then a rising star from New York. Hoover briefly considered becoming a Democrat, but he believed that 1920 would be a Republican year.
A self-described progressive and reformer, Hoover saw the presidency as a vehicle for improving the conditions of all Americans by encouraging public-private cooperation—what he termed "volunterism".
Long before he had entered politics, he had denounced laissez-faire thinking.
At the outset of the Depression, Hoover claims in his memoirs that he rejected Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon's suggested "leave-it-alone" approach, and called many business leaders to Washington to urge them not to lay off workers or cut wages.
Congress, desperate to increase federal revenue, enacted the Revenue Act of 1932, which was the largest peacetime tax increase in history. The Act increased taxes across the board, so that top earners were taxed at 63% on their net income. The 1932 Act also increased the tax on the net income of corporations from 12% to 13.75%.
The final attempt of the Hoover Administration to rescue the economy occurred in 1932 with the passage of the Emergency Relief and Construction Act, which authorized funds for public works programs and the creation of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC). The RFC's initial goal was to provide government-secured loans to financial institutions, railroads and farmers. The RFC had minimal impact at the time, but was adopted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and greatly expanded as part of his New Deal.
Even so, New Dealer Rexford Tugwell later remarked that although no one would say so at the time, "practically the whole New Deal was extrapolated from programs that Hoover started."
"For three long years," Roosevelt said in accepting his party's nomination, "I have been going up and down this country preaching that government . . . costs too much. I shall not stop that preaching."
FDR campaigned in 1932 on a platform of slashing the size and cost of government, and of ending the "reckless and extravagant" spending of Herbert Hoover.
Stop that preaching he didn't. He accused Hoover of presiding over "the greatest spending administration in peacetime in all our history . . . an administration that has piled bureau on bureau, commission on commission." He slammed the Republican's record of "reckless and extravagant" spending, and of thinking "that we ought to center control of everything in Washington as rapidly as possible." He mocked those who thought "a huge expenditure of public funds" was the best way to grow the economy of succumbing "to the illusions of economic magic." His running mate, Texas Congressman John Nance Garner, even warned that Hoover was "leading the country down the path of socialism." - Jeff Jacoby
Recorded October 18, 1931
Full speech at The Authentic History Center
Transcript at: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pi...