The right wing and lying liars
But I repeat myself.
Latest nonsense I’ve heard is the right-wing talking point, “FDR turned a recession into a Depression.” Uhm, what the fuck? A recession is a minor decline in GDP for a short period of time. A depression is a *major* decline in GDP for a *long* period of time. So what did GDP do between 1929 and 1940? Let’s look:
Jesus fucking Christ, under Herbert Hoover GDP pretty much *HALVED* between 1929 and 1932! The small blip in 1938 after FDR tried to balance the budget looks downright *tiny* by comparison. And, uhm, in case you can’t tell — FDR took office basically in April 1933 (4 months into the year), and the economy under FDR went *UP* every year except for that tiny little blip in ’38. Unlike the economy under Herbert Hoover.
Next up was, “but the Depression was caused by Hoover spending like a drunken sailor rather than balancing the budget.” Really? Let’s look at federal spending between 1920 and 1940:
So yes, Hoover *did* increase spending a little — about as much as Obama increased spending, actually — but the deficits Hoover ran in 1931 and 1932 were primarily because of a collapse in tax revenues. Tax revenues declines from around $4B in 1930 (at which point Hoover is running a sizable surplus) to under $2B in 1932. Pretty much what you expect from the fact that GDP declined by around 50% too — if the economy is half the size, you’ll collect half as much money. Duh.
So anyhow, anybody who can look at those two graphs above and say that FDR made the Great Depression worse or that Herbert Hoover caused it via excess spending is either dumber than a box of rocks, or a dishonest hack. Sorry. That’s the only two answers to that question.
*Graph #1 is from Wikipedia. Graph #2 is my own graph from OMB data available from a number of locations, plotted using the Mac “Numbers” spreadsheet program.
This post originally appeared at Badtux the Snarky Penguin.