Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Great Depression

This morning, we were talking in Sunday School about the Church and whether it had dropped the ball on charity thatallowed the state to encroach.
Mustang had posited that LBJ was the worst president, but I think that FDR did the most damage of any president to this country and yet he is still is considered one of the greats!

"He saw us through the Great Depression AND World War Two."

It's quite obvious that his policies extended the Great Depression and arguable that he maneuvered us INTO World War Two.

The Christian Church had for years provided charitable activity to the population, but the depression was such a monster that the reserves of the church (the wealth of it's members) was strained.

Was this the intent of the FDR administration?
To enslave the populace by tying their welfare to the state by weakening the ability of the Church to respond?

Normal economic cycles could be absorbed by society,  but was this long harsh economic downturn exacerbated intentionally?
Did Obama do the same?


  1. Ed, FDR did Much damage. I would also add that siding with Stalin to go through France rather than Germany's back door (as Churchill wanted) killed a lot of Americans needlessly.

    But - America recovered from all that damage. I don't think America will ever recover from the damage LBJ did - welfare/wic, SS bankrupt to cite a few obvious ones.

    1. I'm not sure we recovered from FDR.
      The Great Depression which his policies prolonged changed American self-reliance to government reliance.
      He instilled socialism in america.

    2. Ed,... You may be right on that. I was thinking how America became awesome after being a major part of winning WWII over hitler and hirohito. We were walking the walk and talking the talk for a good couple decades, but you may be right about the seed of socialism being sown and how too much of America was attracted to it.
      It seems the constitution has not gone far enough to protect us from evil.

    3. You assume that the seed of socialism wasn't a factor in the prosperity.

    4. Yeah, like it was in Cuba or Venezuela....

    5. No Ed, I'm thinking of people like Norman Thomas, Michael Harrington, John Dewey and Eugene Debs.
      Is the right ignorant of the history of socialism in America or do you just ignore it?

      Cuba and Venezuela should be judged in terms of the history of that region. Why not judge Cuba in terms of Haiti which has been the recipient of our tender ministrations?

  2. Thank you for the mention, Ed ...

  3. Ed, I think “socialism” in America raised its ugly head long before FDR came along ... but I think you are correct to say that it has been all along a leftist intention to enslave Americans to the good graces of the government —and those who embrace such notions seem to forget that whatever it is that the government can give you, the government can also take away. To be honest, I have not seen much in the way of “taking things away” (beyond our loss of self-respect, our sense of self-reliance, and our ability to get things done for our families without the meddling of government bureaucrats), because Democrats can increase their voting rolls by promising more, and more, and more.

    Actually, Ed ... I think leftist policy far surpasses the mere reaching out to needy folks; it involves creating even more needy folks. I am astounded that when the left speaks of poverty in America, they are usually talking about people who do have an automobile, do live in a climate controlled abode, do get three meals each day, everyone has a refrigerator, almost everyone has a smart-phone, and 755 of the people on the dole can afford the price of two or three packs of cigarettes every single day.

    America’s move to the left began before Andrew Jackson, but he’s the first president/would-be tyrant who first reached out to John Q. Public, who began the tradition of class warfare, and began the trek down our current path. A casual look at post-Civil War presidential races reveals one hopeful after another making promises to the masses —using inflamed rhetoric to galvanize support for class warfare ideas. For a while, this didn’t work very well; William Jennings Bryan tossed his hat in the ring three times. By the time of Woodrow Wilson, a large majority of the people were firmly in the camp of progressive politics ... and what it got them was World War I and the moral breakdown of the American people in the 1920s.

    Remember, too, that during this same period, the entire western world was marching ever so smartly toward global socialism. Wilson and FDR were as much national socialists as was Hitler, Mussolini, and a dozen or so Latin-American despots.

    A word about charities: I agree with your conclusions. For every $1 government assesses in taxes is one dollar less wage-earners have to spend as disposable income. The government’s argument is, “Don’t worry about it, we’ll tax the crap out of you and we’ll decide what is best for reaching out to your fellow man. To me, none of these decisions seem to be good ones, for while the government gives away life-saving medications to nimrods in West Africa, elderly folks back home are paying five times more for the same drug —or not, and dying. Killing off elderly people, by the way, works to the advantage of government because they can spend even more money helping train African village chiefs in such things as time management.

    I want us to return to a communities-based charitable mindset. Let the people (churches and other chests) reach out to the folks in YOUR community, and we can do the same thing here in my neighborhood, taking care of my neighbors who are in need—and let’s get the government out of this business altogether. And, should I add, for the same reasons as previously discussed. No good comes from government welfare, unless you happen to be a Mexican who is contemplating illegal entry into the United States ... in which case, it will be convenient to visit the USDA office in a Mexican border town to get application forms for the SNAP program. By the way, it wasn’t FDR who did this; it was every Democrat beginning with LBJ.

    1. Um ... "755" should read, "75%". Sorry ...

    2. Letting your local church groups and other charities take care of the indigent is a noble idea, and seems very practical on the surface. The trouble with this is that they won't.

      Local charities, social and religious groups have their own agendas, which commonly don't involve non-members. Sure, there are exceptions, but they're rare.

      Our current welfare system has faults, but the alternative is starvation. If you really want to see a revolution, all you have to do is starve the population. Do that long enough and the populace will revolt.

    3. @ Mad Jack
      You are probably correct ... in terms of our present circumstances. We should wonder why this is so. I suppose in many ways I am an anti-Federalist. There was a day when neighbors took care of one another, but this has been defeated by the federal government, which assumes an unhappy aire of superiority over the common man. It assumes that it can do a better job than communities taking care of one another. It hasn’t done that as much as create generational dependencies from within the population. I should perhaps add that this notion that we need to feed people who are capable of work defeats the idea of reaching out to those who are truly needy: the disabled, elderly, or otherwise infirm. Perhaps the best thing that state and local governments could do is to find ways of making our communities attractive to risk capitalists —businesses who put local people to work. As it is, the welfare state merely emsures the continuation of those who vote, not because political candidates are good for our communities, but rather because they offer something in return for their partisan patronage. Forgive me if I am preaching to the choir.

    4. "Wilson and FDR were as much national socialists as was Hitler, Mussolini, "
      Exactly. Mussolini admired FDR.

      My question was "Did FDR intentionally prolong the Depression to force a 'need' for socialism?" or even break down the American self-help ethos?

    5. Jack: I think you are wrong about that.
      There are MANY faith based food distribution centers, even disaster relief. Samaritan's Purse, Convoy of Hope to mention two.
      But some communities are now so overwhelmed by poverty, maybe they can't help themselves. That's part of the goal of the socialists, to enslave to government, the thrust of my post.

    6. My response is much too long for the blog, Ed.  I apologize for that ... you’ve asked me for the time, and I’m getting ready to explain how to build a watch. I’ll respond incrementally if that’s okay.

      The Great Depression period is complicated one because there was far more going on than economic collapse in October 1929. Back to 1919 and we find that a defeated Germany was being severely punished by the Allied Powers and Germany became the chief battle ground of the post-war period. The Treaty of Versailles and London Schedule of Payments demanded that Germany provide more than $12 billion in reparations. When Germany failed to make the demanded payments, France occupied the Ruhr, creating yet another crisis. Now enter the Dawes Plan of 1924, which provided international loans somewhere near 800-million marks to help Germany meet its post-war obligations. It was a fantastic investment opportunity for British and American banks and individuals. Lots of folks wanted to get in on this money-making opportunity; many of them borrowed money to invest in stocks and bonds.

      The stock market crash in October 1929 was the icing on the cake; the market had begun to decline in the summer of 1929. The initial loss was $14 billion of investments, but in two months the losses increased to more than $40 billion. It was very soon a global crisis. More than 700 American banks failed in1929. Within a year, more than 3,000. People lost their savings; there was no such thing then of deposit insurance. By 1939, bank failures increased to more than 9,000.

      Now that investments were deemed worthless, with savings diminished or depleted all together, and credit non-existent, people stopped spending money. Industrial production came to a halt; people were laid off from work, they lost their homes, and the goods purchased on installment plans were repossessed. The unemployment rate increased to 25%. Congress passed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, which imposed record tax rates on imported goods. World trade fell by more than 60%. The global picture became even worse.

    7. Next ...

      In essence, Roosevelt made all the wrong decisions, but in retrospect, we have to admit that the New Deal was the largest peacetime expansion of federal power in America’s history —many of these programs are still with us today: acreage allotments, pricing controls on agriculture, regulations involving private securities, federal intrusion into union-management relations, government lending, imposition of minimum wage, national unemployment insurance, and Social Security and Welfare programs —many of which are extended to non-US citizens.

      Lacking any wisdom at all, Roosevelt told the American people to stop spending money ... which was the exact opposite of what was needed. Roosevelt also suspended banking transactions until the government approved their operations ... a process that dragged on for more than a year and did little more than heighten the public’s fear for their future.

      Believing that the Depression was the result of fallen prices (actually the opposite was true), Roosevelt ordered prices increased; Roosevelt created artificial shortages. His cure for the Depression was to cut back on production. It was nothing if not self-defeating; tens of millions of Americans suffered as a result of from these inane policies. Then, to make matters worse, there was an environmental crisis caused by poor farming practices, from Colorado to Texas.

      So, your question was, did Roosevelt intentionally extend the Great Depression in order to implement a socialist government—to defeat our tradition of self-reliance? I find your question intriguing and I’m not at all sure I can answer it without studying actual documents from the period.

      What I do know is that the political left has long held that an astute politician will always take advantage of a crisis. I am quite sure that Roosevelt and his many advisors, most of whom Roosevelt ruthlessly intimidated, had many conversations about the crisis’ long-term benefits to the Democratic Party. One may even recall Roosevelt’s “court-packing plan,” devised after the courts had ruled that several of his New Deal plans were unconstitutional. We should also consider Roosevelt’s goofiest move ever: he abandoned the gold standard, which was the bedrock restraint on inflation and government growth. In one fell swoop, Roosevelt nationalized the monetary gold stock, prohibited private ownership of gold (excepting jewelry), and nullified all contractual promises to pay in gold.

      In my view, the word to describe Roosevelt’s handing of the economy is inept; to suggest that Roosevelt intentionally extended the Depression gives him far more credit than I think he deserves. This is not to say, however, that Roosevelt and his advisers neglected opportunities to advance their agenda for as long as the crisis lasted. Equally intriguing to me is Roosevelt’s manipulation of Japan and their subsequent “sneak attack” in Hawaii ... which seemed to offer Americans nearly 100% employment.

    8. This is certainly how I understand the events and then some - tax increases and tariffs. I believe Pearl Harbor was a setup.

      Just food for thought- did the 29 crash cause the depression or did the depression cause the market crash?

      The 25% UE number is interesting too. I don't know how they arrived the number in the 30's but today we have 40% of working age people not working.

    9. Mustang: You are forgiven, and the choir gives you a hearty Amen!

      I agree with your summary of a topic that has filled numerous dry historical texts. I would point out that when you find Roosevelt's handling of the economy inept, you're assuming he's trying to fix the depression. He might not have been.

      If fixing / ending the Great Depression was on his list of priorities, there may have been a few items ahead of the solution. The Depression presented an opportunity to expand the government, and Roosevelt took advantage with everything he had.

      As far as War 2 and Japan's attack, I think he saw it coming, and because Roosevelt wanted to go to war, he allowed the attack to happen. After that, there was no question about the state of the Union.

    10. Thank you both of you, particularly for addressing the notion that the prolonging was intentional.
      Particularly as it seems that he was willing to see our Navy suffer heavily to advance his agenda.
      I think Obama took a page from his book.
      Early on, Obama was compared to FDR if you recall.

  4. ED---G-d bless you this Sept 11th..I will never forget...keep the faith .xoxoxox G-d bless America.........

  5. Good question posed here. For every tax dollar stolen and redistributed (wasted) in the bureaucracy machine, it is one less dollar I can give at church for worthy causes. Many people tend to rationalize incorrectly that their obligation to the poor and their fellow man has been transferred to The State.

  6. Couple things Ed:

    1. Hoover felt that charity would be enough to get us through the depression. He was wrong.

    2. The worst thing FDR did to prolong the depression was trying to balance the federal budget.

    3. The first nation to recover from the worldwide depression was Sweden which used complete Keynesian policy.

    4. We had made good progress toward managing the business cycle until Saint Ronnie Raygun started to unwind it and Newt Gingrich unleashed his Contract on America. Once gain, the right refuses to man up and take responsibility but takes refuge in rabies radio cheap cliches.

    1. 1)Hoover may have been right if FDR hadn't lengthened the Depression.
      2&3) Morgenthau: "We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work."
      4) Reagan set Gingrich up to balance the budget. After Carter's "malaise".

    2. Regarding Hoover. In the case where the depression destroyed so much of the wealth of America, how can charity regenerate that wealth?

      Morgenthau was not an economist and the quote needs context.
      Was it in reference to his opposition to the Vietnam War?

      Gingrich was an authoritarian brigand.

    3. Charity cannot generate wealth. It is the voluntary redistribution of wealth.
      Morgenthau was FDR's Secretary of the Treasury.
      The quote was in 1938, I think, and was referring to FDR's economic policy, which was Keynesian, thus referring to throwing all the money at the problem.
      Maybe Gingrich was. IDK. :)

    4. My bad, I thought you meant Hans Morgenthau, Johnson's advisor.

      How can you redistribute wealth that doesn't exist?

    5. You can't. I was just saying Charity cannot generate wealth. It is the "privatization" of socialism.

  7. FDR, by far....not LBJ.

    Charity wasn't intended to create wealth! Charity helped those who needed it until they could get back on their feet!!

    1. Thanks. I think the war (as Kid pointed out) and the depression were prolonged by FDR decisions.
      Not to neglect LBJ.
      Thank God LBJ couldn't get re-elected!