With Geoffrey Batt
In a Washington Post article from 1938 one finds an interesting warning from former president Herbert Hoover, in which he declares that the FDR "New Deal" is leading the US to fascism. In a grass roots convention, Hoover stated that "despite every alibi, this depression is the direct result of Government actions. The torch of liberty has been dashed out by some sort of fascism in 14 nations of more than 240,000,000 people - they all undertook new deals under some title, usually planned economy. The New Deal started with a government debt of $21 billion and today finds itself with a debt either direct or guaranteed of $42 billion. It started with 12 million unemployed; it finds itself after five years with 12 million unemployed. If the 12 million unemployed are not due to [overextension in new construction or in capital equipment or speculation requiring liquidation] to what are they due? Why have a recession in the face of low interest rates, no overextension of credit, no oversized inventories, no overextension of capital equipment, no overstock of goods, no speculation. If there are none of these sins or forces in the financial world, such as did exist in previous depressions, obviously the origins cannot be blamed upon finance and business. There is only one place left to search for the causes of this depression. Despite every alibi, the depression is a direct result of governmental actions." We know how the 30s ended for America, and we wonder what would have happened had the US not joined the WWII fray, which according to many economists was the only exogenous factor which pushed the country out of the depression and realigned the global map. We do not know what Hoover would say about our current regime, but we doubt it would have been full of praise.