The harm that FDR did – now reinforced 8

The figure of [Franklin Delano] Roosevelt exhibited before the eyes of our people is a fiction. There was no such being as that noble, selfless, hard-headed, wide and farseeing combination of philosopher, philanthropist and warrior which has been fabricated out of pure propaganda and which a small collection of dangerous cliques in this country are using to advance their own evil ends.

Those are the closing words of The Roosevelt Myth by John T. Flynn, published in 1948. Flynn was a Roosevelt White House insider. His book amply proves his conclusion.

Now we quote a recent article by Stephen Moore at the Daily Signal (originally in the Washington Times):

My seventh-grade son recently wrote a U.S. History paper extolling the virtues of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. “It ended the Great Depression,” he wrote with great certainty. He’s only 12 and parroting what the history texts and his teachers told him.

That’s his excuse. What’s Ken Burns’?

Mr. Burns’s docudrama on the Roosevelts — for those who weren’t bored to tears — repeats nearly all the worn-out fairy tales of the FDR presidency, including what I call the most enduring myth of the 20th century, which is that FDR’s avalanche of alphabet-soup government programs ended the Great Depression. Shouldn’t there be a statute of limitations on such lies?

Ask nearly anyone over the age of 80, and they will say that FDR cared about the working man and “gave the country hope”, a point that Mr. Burns emphasizes. Roosevelt exuded empathy, which isn’t a bad thing … but caring doesn’t create jobs or lift gross domestic product.

Nor does spending government money revive growth, despite the theories put into practice by the then-dean of all economists, John Maynard Keynes. Any objective analysis of these facts can lead to no other conclusion. U.S. unemployment averaged a rate of 18 percent during Roosevelt’s first eight years in office. In the decade of the 1930s, U.S. industrial production and national income fell by about almost one-third. In 1940, after year eight years of the New Deal, unemployment was still averaged a god-awful 14 percent.

Think of it this way. The unemployment rate was more than twice as high eight years into the New Deal than it is today, and American workers now are angry as hornets. Imagine, if jobs were twice as scarce today, the pitchforked revolt that would be going on. This is success?

Almost everything FDR did to jump-start growth retarded it. The rise in the minimum wage kept unemployment intolerably high. (Are you listening, Nancy Pelosi?) Roosevelt’s work programs like the Works Progress Administration, National Recovery Administration and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration were so bureaucratic as to have minimal impact on jobs. Raising tax rates to nearly 80 percent on the rich stalled the economy. Social Security is and always was from the start a Madoff-style Ponzi scheme that will eventually sink into bankruptcy unless reformed.

The cruel irony of the New Deal is that the liberals’ honorable intentions to help the poor and the unemployed caused more human suffering [in America] than any other set of ideas in the past century.

The most alarming story of economic ignorance surrounding this New Deal era was the tax increases while the economy was faltering. … FDR signed one of the most financially devastating taxes: “On April 27, 1942, he signed an executive order taxing all personal income above $25,000 [rich back then] at 100 percent. Congress balked at that idea and later lowered it to 90 percent at the top level.” The New Dealers completely ignored the lessons of the 1920s tax cuts, which just a decade before had unfurled an age of super-growth.

Then there was the spending and debt barrage. Federal spending catapulted from $4.65 billion in 1933 to nearly $13.7 billion in 1941. This tripling of the federal budget in just eight years came at a time of almost no inflation (just 13.1 percent cumulative during that period). Budget surpluses during the prosperous Coolidge years became ever-larger deficits under FDR’s fiscal reign. During his first term, more than half the federal budget on average came from borrowed money.

What is maddening is that thanks to this historical fabrication of FDR’s presidency, dutifully repeated by Mr. Burns, we have repeated the mistakes again and again.

Had the history books been properly written, it’s quite possible we would never had to endure the catastrophic failure of Obamanomics and the “stimulus plans” that only stimulated debt. The entire rationale for the Obama economic plan in 2009 was to re-create new New Deal.

Doubly amazing is that at this very moment, the left is writing another fabricated history — of the years we have just lived through. The [leftist] history books are already painting Obama policies as the just-in-time emergency policies that prevented a Second Great Depression. I wonder if 80 years from now, the American people will be as gullible as they are today in believing, as my 12-year-old does, that FDR was an economic savior.

In confirmation of Steve Moore’s contentions, we take two more extracts from The Roosevelt Myth. 

Of the Planned Economy, Flynn writes:

This curiously un-American doctrine was being peddled in America (under the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt) as the bright flower of the liberals. … They did not dare admit that I implied the restoration to the State of a numerous collection of those very powers which we had stripped from the State as the means of giving freedom to men. They called it the Planned Economy. But it was and is fascism by whatever name it is known. … Little by little the government must be made stronger, the, the rights of the citizens must be reduced. Little by little, if the Planned Economy is to be made to work, the free republic must wither. These two ideas – the idea of a free republic and the idea of a Planned Economy – cannot live together.

Elsewhere he quotes from a 1940 address by President Hoover, highly critical of Roosevelt’s New Deal, to warn America where such policies would lead them, explaining what led to the rise of Fascist and Communist dictatorships in Europe: :

In every single case before the rise of totalitarian governments there had been a period dominated by economic planners. Each of these nations had an era under starry-eyed men who believed that they could plan and force the economic life of the people. … They exalted the State as the solvent of all economic problems.

These men thought they were liberals. But they also thought they could have economic dictatorship by bureaucracy and at the same time preserve free speech, orderly justice and free government. They might be called the totalitarian liberals. They were the spiritual fathers of the New Deal. …

These men shifted the relationship of government to free enterprise from that of umpire to controller. Directly or indirectly they politically controlled credit, prices, production of industry, famer and laborer. They developed, pump-primed, and deflated. They controlled private business by government competition, by regulation and by taxes. They met every failure with demands for more and more power and control … Initiative slackened, industry slowed down production.

Then came chronic unemployment and frantic government spending in an effort to support the unemployed. Government debts mounted and finally government credit was undermined. Out of the miseries of their people there grew pressure groups – business, labor, farmers, demanding relief or special privilege. Class hate poisoned cooperation.

It all has a nasty familiar ring to it – because, as Steve Moore asserts, it is a description of what Democratic government is doing now. And yes, it will lead to a collectivist hell if the Democrats, with their present economic policies, are not very soon removed from power.