By David Glenn Cox
The markets bleed off waiting on leadership. Corporate America bleeds off waiting for leadership and America bleeds off waiting for bleeding leadership.
“True they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence. They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.” – FDR, First Inaugural Address
After the crash of 1929, Herbert Hoover listened to what his cabinet advised. Direct intervention would only make things worse. Hoover’s Quaker background taught him; loss of personal responsibility would lead to personal despondency. So, Hoover opposed any direct aid to the hungry and starving. His personal morality had no such reservation regarding corporate America. The Depression was caused by an over-extension of credit and the loss of purchasing power.
Hoover came up with a $2 billion-dollar corporate aid package to help industry to re-open factories. So, Ford could produce new cars to sell in cities with 70 and 80% unemployment. The reality of the Depression overwhelmed Hoover, personally, professionally and philosophically. Starving farm families in the dust bowel were sent seed kits. First, there had been a drought. Second, families were being dispossessed in record numbers and third, they were hungry today.
“Three or four million heads of households don’t turn into tramps and cheats overnight, nor do they lose the habits and standards of a lifetime. […] They don’t drink any more than the rest of us, they don’t lie any more, they’re no lazier than the rest of us. […] An eighth or a tenth of the earning population does not change its character which has been generations in the molding, or, if such a change actually occurs, we can scarcely charge it up to personal sin.” – Harry Hopkins
This was the great moral divide. The Conservative newspapers stressed all these bad people no differently than today. Blaming the homeless for being homeless. Painting the unemployed as lazy or shiftless redirecting the blame on the workers. Painting hunger marches and marches of the unemployed as riots and revolutionary uprisings.
“The depression was just a state of mind. It is over for everyone who has changed his state of mind.” -Henry Ford
But it wasn’t over, two people an hour were dying of hunger in Detroit. Hoover was worried about personal morality while the people were ignored. Hoover wasn’t a bad man he was just a man out of his element his personal and philosophical beliefs blinded him to needed actions. Hoover worked with the Red Cross and private agencies but did not believe in direct Federal intervention. Intellectually it might have been defensible eating fresh fruit for breakfast, but morally millions of Americans were destitute and that was morally indefensible.
A moral and politically policy that said it was better children die than to risk their self-esteem. Hoover had only been in office eight months when Wall Street crashed. Had the markets not crashed he would probably be forgotten as his was a caretaker regime. Don’t make waves, throw out the first pitch and make a proclamation on Thanksgiving Day.
History rhymes, a candidate that trusts Wall Street, a candidate who promises a return to the good old days. A Candidate that says we can’t afford Medicare for all and we must trust in the insurance industry and Obama Care to save us.
“These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men.” – FDR, First Inaugural Address
FDR’s First inaugural address is one of the greatest documents of our Republic. After laying out the plans of attack Roosevelt made his point. “Restoration calls, however, not for changes in ethics alone. This Nation asks for action, and action now.”
Do something! Don’t just rearrange the flowers on the desk. His speech is remembered for the line, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” It’s a great line but it’s not the best line. Roosevelt was elected with a wide majority in the House, but the Senate was closer. So, FDR said this, something no President has ever said before or since.
“It is to be hoped that the normal balance of executive and legislative authority may be wholly adequate to meet the unprecedented task before us. But it may be that an unprecedented demand and need for undelayed action may call for temporary departure from that normal balance of public procedure.
I am prepared under my constitutional duty to recommend the measures that a stricken nation in the midst of a stricken world may require. These measures, or such other measures as the Congress may build out of its experience and wisdom, I shall seek, within my constitutional authority, to bring to speedy adoption.
But in the event that the Congress shall fail to take one of these two courses, and in the event that the national emergency is still critical, I shall not evade the clear course of duty that will then confront me. I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis—broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.
For the trust reposed in me I will return the courage and the devotion that befit the time. I can do no less.” – FDR, First Inaugural Address
There’s a new sheriff in town, you’ll work with me or I’ll do it without you.
We face an economic crisis, a health crisis and a leadership crisis. Maybe what we need to do is elect a bowl of vanilla ice cream as President. Elect Me for more of the same! Why back in the good old days Barack and I refloated the banks, brokerage house and we rescued General Motors and freed them from their pension responsibilities. We set up a mortgage rescue plans that left the banks in charge, a program that left 95% of Americans with nothing.
The Vanilla Ice cream says this country doesn’t want a revolution it wants solutions. As a survivor of the last Great Depression in 2008 I can tell you those solutions didn’t help me one wit. It’s taken twelve years to recover half of what I’ve lost. Between an orange Ape and a bowl of Vanilla Ice cream and Revolution…I’ll take Revolution for $100 Alex!