Today, unfortunately, Obama and his minions are taking Roosevelt as a model and are straining to repeat his mistakes. Because the distortions in today’s economy are far greater than those in the 1920s and 1930s, and since the public now relies upon government far more than it did in those days, I don’t see any way around a more serious depression – the Greater Depression. It’s been going on since 2008, will get much worse, and has years left to run.
FDR himself was extraordinarily lucky. His performance looks successful because when he entered office, both the economy and the stock market were overdue for a cyclical recovery (nothing goes straight down forever). He was elected when the depression had already been going on for four years and the stock market had already fallen 90%. That fortunate timing was partly a gift from Hoover, whose large-scale interference in the economy had kept the depression going. (It’s odd how people believe Hoover was the free-marketeer and Roosevelt was the interventionist. Roosevelt really just continued and extended Hoover’s policies, but with more enthusiasm and far better PR.)
Roosevelt had more good luck (for him) with the arrival of WW2; the victories in Europe and the Pacific forever idealized every aspect of his administration. In many ways, the cult of FDR resembles that of Russia’s Joseph Stalin, who is still worshipped there as a demigod.
Although Obama seems bright enough, there’s little reason to believe he’s a student of history and no reason to believe he’s a student of economics.
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