Tag Archives: Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Americans Didn’t Need the Original New Deal, by Laurence M. Vance

The original New Deal was a disaster, the Green New Deal will be even more so. From Laurence M. Vance at fff.org:

We have heard much this year about how much the country needs a Green New Deal to reverse the negative effects of climate change, ensure economic security, revamp the nation’s transportation system, restore damaged ecosystems, secure a sustainable environment, and achieve justice and equality. Overlooked in all of the analyses of the Green New Deal is that Americans didn’t need the original New Deal.

The Green New Deal

On February 7, newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) introduced in the U.S. House a resolution (H.Res.109) “recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal.” On the same day, the veteran Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) introduced a companion resolution (S.Res.59) in the U.S. Senate. According to the U.S. Senate, “A simple resolution addresses matters entirely within the prerogative of one house,” is “also used to express the sentiments of a single house,” or may simply give “advice.” Simple resolutions require neither the approval of the other House of Congress nor the signature of the president, as they do not have the force of law.

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FDR’s Worst Perversion of Freedom: The “Four Freedoms” Speech, by James Bovard

Speaking of fascism, how about the US’s most fascist president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt? From James Bovard at mises.org:

Franklin Roosevelt did more than any other modern president to corrupt Americans’ understanding of freedom. Last week was the 75thanniversary of his 1944 speech calling for a second Bill of Rights to guarantee economic freedom to Americans. Nation magazine whooped up the anniversary, proclaiming that Democrats now have a “unique—and likely fleeting—opportunity to deliver where FDR fell short” with vast new government programs.

The 1944 speech, given as the tide in World War Two was finally turning, was a followup of his 1941 “Four Freedoms” speech which exploited Americans’ rising apprehensions tosee far more power for the government. Roosevelt promised citizens freedom of speech and freedom of worship and then, as if he was merely enumerating other self-evident rights, declared: “The third [freedom] is freedom from want . . . everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear . . . anywhere in the world.” Proclaiming a goal of freedom from fear meant that government should fill the role in daily life previously filled by God and religion. Politicians are the biggest fearmongers, and “freedom from fear” would justify seizing new power in response to every bogus federal alarm.

FDR’s list was clearly intended as a “replacement set” of freedoms, since otherwise there would have been no reason to mention freedom of speech and worship, already guaranteed by the First Amendment. The “four freedoms” offered citizens no security from the State, since it completely ignored the rights guaranteed in the original Bill of Rights that restricted government power, including the Second Amendment (to keep and bear firearms), the Fourth Amendment (freedom from unreasonable search and seizure), the Fifth Amendment (due process, property rights, the right against self-incrimination), the Sixth Amendment (the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury), and the Eighth Amendment (protection against excessive bail, excessive fines, and cruel and unusual punishments).

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Christmas 2018: Not the Worst of Times, by Patrick J. Buchanan

Christmas 2018 is hardly the most dire Christmas America has faced. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

“Deck the halls with boughs of holly,” goes the old Christmas carol. “‘Tis the season to be jolly.” Yet if there were a couplet less befitting the mood of this capital city, I am unaware of it.

“The wheels are coming off,” was a common commentary on the Trump presidency on Sunday’s talk shows. And the ostensible causes of what is looking like a panic in the political establishment?

The December crash of the stock and bond markets, the worst since the Great Recession. The shutdown of a fourth of the U.S. government over the Trump border wall. The president’s decision to pull 2,200 troops out of Syria. Resignation, in protest of Donald Trump’s treatment of U.S. allies, by Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

But there has to be more to it than this. For America has endured, in the lifetime of its older generations, far worse Christmases than this.

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Hitler’s Economics, by LLewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.

Socialists disown Hitler although Socialist is in the Nazi name (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers’ Party). Keynesians disown Hitler although many of his economic policies are straight from Keynes’ playbook. From Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. at mises.org:

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[Originally published August 02, 2003.]

For today’s generation, Hitler is the most hated man in history, and his regime the archetype of political evil. This view does not extend to his economic policies, however. Far from it. They are embraced by governments all around the world. The Glenview State Bank of Chicago, for example, recently praised Hitler’s economics in its monthly newsletter. In doing so, the bank discovered the hazards of praising Keynesian policies in the wrong context.

The issue of the newsletter (July 2003) is not online, but the content can be discerned via the letter of protest from the Anti-Defamation League. “Regardless of the economic arguments” the letter said, “Hitler’s economic policies cannot be divorced from his great policies of virulent anti-Semitism, racism and genocide.… Analyzing his actions through any other lens severely misses the point.”

The same could be said about all forms of central planning. It is wrong to attempt to examine the economic policies of any leviathan state apart from the political violence that characterizes all central planning, whether in Germany, the Soviet Union, or the United States. The controversy highlights the ways in which the connection between violence and central planning is still not understood, not even by the ADL. The tendency of economists to admire Hitler’s economic program is a case in point.

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American Pravda: Our Great Purge of the 1940s, by Ron Unz

Back in the 1930s and 1940s, media figures who incurred Roosevelt Administration disfavor were banished, and there was no internet to turn to as an alternative. There’s a cottage industry devoted to canonizing FDR, but the man was a first class liar and son of a bitch. This is a long article, but well worth reading. From Ron Unz at unz.com:

 

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Although I’ve soured on him in recent years, for the first decade and more of Paul Krugman’s tenure at the New York Times I regarded him as about the only national columnist worth reading. Certainly many others felt the same way, and Krugman regularly ranked among the most influential liberal voices in the country, gaining that position by his uniquely strong stance against the Iraq War plans of President George W. Bush, while his prestige was capped by winning 2007 Nobel Prize in Economics.

But few probably remember that just a couple of years into his column there was a concerted effort to pressure the Times into firing him, a campaign spearheaded by blogger Andrew Sullivan, then an ardent Bush supporter. Given the steady drum-beat of harsh accusations and the climate of that period, I had feared that it would succeed. Now suppose that he had been purged from all media access in 2002, and also that Bush’s Iraq adventure had turned out to be a considerable success, rather than the utter disaster it actually became. A couple of decades hence, would anyone remember Krugman, except in some minor historical footnote recounting the misguided naysayers whom our heroic President “W” had fortunately overcome?

Perhaps by 2040 any mention of Krugman’s name would either draw a blank stare or evoke a vague sense that he had been some sort of disreputable radical activist, perhaps with pro-Islamicist leanings and even suspected by some of having had a hand in the 9/11 attacks. History has traditionally been written by the political winners, and this was especially true in the days before the growth of the Internet weakened the total monopoly of our establishment media.

These were some of the thoughts that gradually crossed my mind during the middle part of the 2000s as I discovered some remarkable anomalies while creating my content-archiving website, a system intended to provide convenient access to millions of articles from America’s most influential publications of the last 150 years. Since I had never really studied American history, my views were generally quite conventional ones, formed from a mixture of the History 101 classes I had taken and what I had casually absorbed over the years from all the newspapers and magazines that I read.

To continue reading: American Pravda: Our Great Purge of the 1940s

When The U.S. Government Defaulted, by Global Macro Monitor

Every gold bug worth his or her salt knows when the US defaulted, but many non-gold bugs are not aware of it. From Global Macro Monitor at macromon.wordpress.com:

One of the most pervasive myths about the United States is that the federal government has never defaulted on its debts. There’s just one problem: it’s not true, and while few people remember the “gold clause cases” of the 1930s, that episode holds valuable lessons for leaders today. – Sebastian Edwards, Project Syndicate,  May 21, 2018

My friend, UCLA professor,  Sebastian Edwards, is out with a must-read summer book, American Default: The Untold Story of FDR, the Supreme Court, and the Battle over Gold.

 

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Sebastian has also published an excellent synopsis of the the book, Learning from America’s Forgotten Default, on the Project Syndicate (PS) website.   It is an excellent introduction to the subject material but only scratches the surface and should not be a substitute or excuse for not purchasing the book.

Money quotes from the Project Syndicate  piece:  

  • There was a time, decades ago, when the US behaved more like a “banana republic” than an advanced economy, restructuring debts unilaterally and retroactively
  • In April 1933, in an effort to help the US escape the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt announced plans to take the US off the gold standard and devalue the dollar. 
  • …this would not be as easy as FDR calculated. Most debt contracts at the time included a “gold clause,” which stated that the debtor must pay in “gold coin” or “gold equivalent.” 
  • These clauses were introduced during the Civil War as a way to protect investors against a possible inflationary surge.
  • …the gold clause was an obstacle to devaluation. If the currency were devalued without addressing the contractual issue, the dollar value of debts would automatically increase to offset the weaker exchange rate, resulting in massive bankruptcies and huge increases in public debt.
  • Congress passed a joint resolution on June 5, 1933, annulling all gold clauses in past and future contracts.
  • Republicans were dismayed that the country’s reputation was being put at risk, while the Roosevelt administration argued that the resolution didn’t amount to “a repudiation of contracts.”
  • On January 30, 1934, the dollar was officially devalued. The price of gold went from $20.67 an ounce – a price in effect since 1834 – to $35 an ounce.

To continue reading: When The U.S. Government Defaulted

Yes, The U.S. Government Can Still Confiscate Gold, by Tom Lewis

In 1933, President Roosevelt made it illegal for private individuals to own gold. It could happen again. From Tom Lewis at goldtelegraph.com:

People around the world love gold. It has always been the most reliable hedge against economic uncertainty. Yet few people consider that the government (who is usually responsible for the turndown in the first place), has the authority to seize your gold.

Historically, the government will seize gold when it’s the most valuable, during times when its fiat currency has become utterly devalued. When President Roosevelt made ownership of gold bullions illegal in 1933, the move was preceded by the boom of the Roaring Twenties, then the crash of 1929. Although Roosevelt didn’t call it gold confiscation; he preferred the term “gold hoarding.”

By the 1930s, the US government was facing its most severe financial crisis, and it needed gold (something of value), to stimulate the economy that was running on the fumes of fiat currency. So, it took people’s gold. It was as simple as that. Non-compliance was threatened with severe punishment.

We may be facing another financial crisis, and it might be best to avoid the role of fugitive “gold hoarder.” At this point, it doesn’t make sense for the government to confiscate private gold, as a cashless society will indirectly control peoples finances.

Why would the government seize gold? In 1933, under the 1913 Federal Reserve Act, the dollar had to be backed by 40 percent gold. This would give the Federal Reserve room to print new money when needed. What’s a government to do when it needs to print money, but doesn’t have the gold reserves needed to back it up? It passes an Executive Order making gold ownership illegal but buys up the illegal gold itself. That’s what Roosevelt did. When the government continued to print more money, it declared ownership of silver illegal a year later.

To continue reading: Yes, The U.S. Government Can Still Confiscate Gold