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View Diary: Obama focuses on spending cuts, closing tax loopholes in weekly address (170 comments)

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  •  Actually it probably had less (0+ / 0-)

    to do with FDR "succumbing to pressure" -- especially since Roosevelt was at his greatest political strength following the landslide '36 election -- than with his falling prey to the overly complacent sense that the worst of the depression was now behind us, that now we could return to normal economic measures including tackling the growing deficit.  Basically the non-ideological FDR was of two minds -- the fairly aggressive liberal reformer and experimenter of the first term, and also the more conservative budget balancer that had spoken out in his '32 campaign -- and following his landslide in '36 he decided he now had room to govern as a conservative.

    It wasn't any pressure, or much I'm aware of that, for instance, caused Roosevelt immediately upon reelect to begin significantly paring the employment rolls in his very helpful WPA program.  By August '37, about 1.5 million workers had been discharged from the WPA and they had nothing to fall back on.

    FDR had plenty more wiggle room -- too much perhaps -- certainly compared to Obama.  He just chose badly.  And for months, incredibly, he dithered as he watched the economy spiral downward, not knowing what to do.  This was probably by far his worst domestic policy blunder, greater certainly in its direct negative impact on the country than the attempt at packing the Sup Ct which also was a not very bright idea he cooked up upon reelect.

    FDR was one of our greatest presidents, but let's evaluate him fairly and honestly and acknowledge his sudden swing to Hooveresque policies was an unforced error, entirely of his own doing.    

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