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Obama and Roosevelt – What You Might Not Know

Franklin Delano Roosevelt
(Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

It can be strange — even shocking — when you find out the rest of the story.

Prior to the 2008 election, a few comparisons between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Obama  were raised, but the historical resemblance has largely been ignored. Now that we are into Obama’s second term it’s worth cross-examining the two leaders.

The Foundation for Economic Freedom in 2004 did a series of stories about the “Three Myths of the Great Depression.

Compare these facts to what is happening with Obama and our economy today:

When Roosevelt took office in 1932, the economy was still struggling from the 1929 Wall Street crash. FDR decided to substitute government programs for normal business recovery with The New Deal. Programs like the Works Progress Administration, Tennessee Valley Authority and 52 other social programs are well-known.

  • From 1932 to 1935 the tax rate for the top 10 percent income earners went from 24 percent to 75 percent!
  • In 1941, FDR proposed raising the tax rate for those who made over $100,000 a year to 99.5 percent!  It ended up at 90 percent. Investors, fearing their capital would be seized by the feds, refused to invest in the economy. This forced more government spending.
  • The unemployment rate during the New Deal Program from 1932 until the start of WWII averaged 17 percent and never dropped below 14.
  • FDR’s own Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau said in 1939:

We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. We have never made good on our promises…we have just as much unemployment as when we started, and an enormous debt, to boot!

In February 1936, polls showed GOP presidential challenger Alf Landon leading FDR by large margins because of the economic failure of The New Deal. FDR ordered even more New Deal money to be spent to make sure more jobs were “created” before election day.  When the WPA ran out of money in October, FDR ordered that no workers were be let go before Nov. 5!  Votes for subsidies worked; he ended up winning re-election.

Because they feared reprisals from FDR, most of his staff didn’t publicly share what they really thought of the president. Consider what his highest officials privately said about him:

  • Hugh Johnson – Head of the NRA, (National Recovery Act), the man in charge of The New Deal: He seeks complete subservience, he thrives on adulation and submission.
  • Secretary of Labor Francis Perkins: Roosevelt never understood the point of view of the business community.
  • Raymond Moley, Roosevelt’s speech writer 1932-36: I was impressed as never before by the utter lack of logic of this man…by the gross inaccuracies of his statements…my impression is that he is dangerous in the extreme.
  • Treasury Secretary Morganthau: He pictures himself as being called in as a consultant to the various nations of the world…

Now, think about Obama, the Stimulus Program, the Affordable Care Act and the Fiscal Cliff. Where were unemployment rates before 2008, and where are they now? What has been his general attitude towards those who oppose his programs and policies? What has his foreign policy done to affect the reputation and standing of the U.S. as a world leader?

Is is safe to say that history does indeed, repeat itself?

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