Posts Tagged ‘FDR’
October 26th, 2012 at 2:47 pm
Obama and America’s Historic Poverty Rate

Byron York says when it comes to talking about America’s historically high poverty rate, “Barack Obama ignores the issue when it comes time to campaign. A sky-high poverty rate doesn’t fit his theme that things are getting better. So he doesn’t talk about it.”

“But the problem is still there. According to the Census Bureau, the poverty rate has gone from 12.5 percent in 2007 to 13.2 percent in 2008 to 14.3 percent in 2009 to 15.1 percent in 2010 to 15.0 percent in 2011. The last time it was higher than 15.1 percent was in 1965, when the nation’s anti-poverty programs were just taking effect.”

For all his pretensions about being the next FDR, it looks like President Obama’s tenure could signal the death knell for LBJ’s expensive and failed Great Society.

September 11th, 2010 at 2:20 pm
Obama More Hoover Than Carter?

National Review’s Jonah Goldberg makes a good case that the real analogue to President Barack Obama’s increasingly inept tenure in office is Herbert Hoover.  As political scientist Gordon Lloyd makes clear in his anthology, The Two Faces of Liberalism, Hoover was not the ‘market fundamentalist’ FDR and other liberals like to claim.  He, like Obama, meddled relentlessly in the market causing it to stagnate.  When FDR’s frenetic policymaking was mistaken for good economics, Hoover got the blame while his successor got the credit.

Goldberg sees a similarity in the offing:

For reasons fair and unfair, the Great Depression discredited laissez-faire economics for a generation or more. Hoover, who was hardly the “market fundamentalist” FDR made him out to be, suffered largely from the (bad) luck of the draw, giving Democrats a chance to argue for a new deal of the cards. For reasons fair and unfair, Obama, who inherited a bad recession and made it worse, every day looks more like a modern-day Hoover, whining about his problems, rather than an FDR cheerily getting things done. Inadequate to the task, Obama is discrediting the statism he was elected to restore.

The punch line? When the economy finally rebounds, it might be just in time for Obama’s replacement to get all the credit.

January 28th, 2010 at 7:31 pm
More on POTUS vs. SCOTUS

Those watching last night’s State of the Union Address may have noticed that a third of the Supreme Court wasn’t in attendance. It couldn’t have been an ideological statement because the absentees included Associate Justices John Paul Stevens, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas. After President Obama castigated the Court’s recent ruling on national television, ABC’s Jake Tapper reports that insult could lead to the other six members finding better things to do during next year’s speech.

At the end of Tapper’s piece is an intriguing quote from Franklin D. Roosevelt about his thoughts while getting sworn in by the Chief Justice for his second term as president.

After his second inaugural, FDR recalled to an aide, when “the Chief Justice read me the oath and came to the words ‘support the Constitution of the United States’ I felt like saying: ‘Yes, but it’s the Constitution as I understand it, flexible enough to meet any new problem of democracy—not the kind of Constitution your Court has raised up as a barrier to progress and democracy.’”

Tapper doesn’t comment on the quote, but it’s worth mentioning that FDR’s deviation from the Constitutionally-prescribed oath says a lot about the Executive’s abuse of power up through Obama. Is there any doubt FDR’s current successor feels any differently about his ability to judge how flexible our fundamental laws are?

October 21st, 2009 at 10:53 am
Cash-for-Clunkers Could Be Money-for-Make-Work

The last sentence on Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter’s entry on The Huffington Post says it all:

We could all take a lesson from FDR.”

And what, pray tell, might that lesson be? Apparently, that it is the government’s job to put people back to work when the private sector can’t. The key to the Specter Plan is creating an indirect subsidy to out-of-work people via cash incentives to employers for hiring more workers. For example:

A tax credit to encourage employers to create new jobs or extend hours worked is just the kind of direct subsidy that worked so well with the cash-for-clunkers program. That was about cars. This is about jobs and people, an unquestionable priority. The moral imperative to act is aggressively clear.”

Astute readers will notice a disagreement between this author and the Gentleman from Pennsylvania about whether paying one party in order to benefit third party is a “direct” or “indirect” subsidy. Logic would seem to dictate that if one wants to help someone pay his bills, the most efficient way to do so is to skip the go-between and give the man some money. If people need help now – and many do – why not send them a check that covers the cost of bills and requires the recipient to get relevant job training? In today’s credential-crazed economy, the time and money spent earning a Microsoft Office certificate or sales license would go a lot further in landing a job than bribing employers to hire people they can’t otherwise afford.

And what about the alleged success of the cash-for clunkers program? The long-term effects of the program reduced the number of used cars thus driving up the price of those that remained. This FDR-style intrusion into the market decreased the sales of used car dealers and put car purchases out of reach for the poorest families. Now, Specter wants to spend more taxpayer money on jobs that cannot be sustained without subsidies. There may be a moral imperative to act. But like health care reform and the bank bailouts, the only worthwhile government acts are those that get the private sector moving away from the public’s money as fast as possible.