"I am not Herbert Hoover", claimed President Bush in an interview less than 60 days until Air Force One takes him back to Texas.
Hoover from 1928 to 1932 oversaw the crash, depression, and largest destruction of wealth in American history. Historians don't ponder the details of Hoover's actions very much. Many believed Hoover to be one who did little but stand by and watch the building burn down. But quite the opposite occurred.
Thomas Dilorenzo in "How Capitalism Saved America", illuminates the detailed programs, massive government spending, and intervention that Hoover implemented to stablize the economy. Hoover "orchestrated massive interventions-high-wage policies, tax and spending increases, protectionism, government credit rationing...his hyperinterventinism destroyed the economy's prospects for the kinds of adjustments that needed to take place."
What was the result? "He turned a recession turned into The Great Depression." (Dilorenzo, Thomas p. 178)
Hoover doesn't get the blame for the banks that lacked the imaginative course of making more capital available. Perhaps this ranks has the single greatest error of the age that tossed thousands of banks into bankruptcy. But Hoover's hyperinterventionism and his signing of the Smoot Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 eviscerated 83% of foreign trade and destroyed the American economic engine.
How does President Bush's term compare to the Hoover years? Deroy Murdock of National Review Online describes "comrade Bush" as a centralized planner who destroyed limited-government policies.
"Bush’s eight-year-long spending spree, his signature on at least 69,341 earmarks, his barely touched veto pen, his $783 billion Medicare drug entitlement, and his massive financial bailout (so far: $3.35 trillion in actual outlays and $13.35 trillion in total guarantees and commitments) apparently are not enough."
Strewn acorss the yard of American economics in 2008 are the bones of Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG. The $700 billion TARP, Paulson's purchase of bank preferred stock, purchase of non-performing mortgages, and moratorium on home foreclosures have been Bush's answer to stock market declines of 40%. City, county, and state officials booked their tickets for one-on-one POW WOW sessions with Senators, Congressmen, and the President pandering for fedreal dollars. Now the Big 3, facing bankruptcy, have trotted up to Washington with hands out pleading bailout money. President Bush has responded with 17 billion dollars.
Does this sound like government invervention similar to Hoover's? FDR's backers gleefully proclaimed how wonderful Hoover's administration set forth the agenda for governmet solutions as FDR was taking office. More of the same was expected. FDR was going to "do something" and not sit back. Hoover, the "golden boy", who engineered the feeding of Bolsheviks in their times of distress during Harding's Presidency, was bent on re-organizing and socially engineering capital and labor to his own likings as President. He did it.
The early 1970's saw President Nixon with Hoover & FDR type policies. He froze wages prices on a huge number of goods. He eliminated the gold standard. Nixon was free to spend America's surpluses into deficits to get re-elected. New social programs were Nixon's ideas to get re-elected. Hoover would have loved Nixon.
Did not President George Bush, who claims to be a free-market guy, not employ similar strategies? Bush gave Americans health care prescription, No Child Left behind, and forced trillions of dollars of bailout money down the throats of specified financial institutions. In addition, even when the Senate voted against funding the auto bailouts, President Bush handed the auto makers 17 billion dollars anyway.
President Bush can claim "I am not Herbert Hoover". But the facts speak a different story. Government intervention is what the Bush administration has been about. In Foreign policy and domestic policy American government has attempted to be the solution for the people under the Bush Presidency.
The "Golden Boy" of 1928 has been reincarnated in GW Bush. The only question remains: Will Obama Obama willingly play FDR?