Obama Explains FDR’s Folly?

Jan 28, 2009
In The News

Congressman Frank Lucas (R-OK) offered KNID radio an illuminating glimpse into President Obama’s much-discussed stimulus pep talk with House Republicans.  According to Lucas, Obama expressed his belief during the meeting that a major problem with FDR’s New Deal is that it didn’t spend enough money in the early going.  Here’s a partial transcript of the congressman’s interview:

“The president offered a comment in the conference the other day.  He said that the spending program that President Roosevelt used in the beginning of the depression – the real problem was that Roosevelt slowed down on public spending in the first two years.  If he’d just kept on spending that money, we’d have gotten out of the depression quicker…

I think [that’s] an indication of what’s coming.  Maybe not just an $825 Billion increase in the national debt for additional spending this year, but if the economy continues to sag over the course of the year, don’t be surprised—based on his comment about the 1930s—if President Obama [proposes] another increase in the national debt and another big spending package after this.”

In other words, Obama thinks FDR’s plan was a laudable start, but ultimately faltered because it didn’t spend more money, sooner.  I haven’t seen similar accounts of Obama’s remarks reported elsewhere, but if Lucas’ recollection is accurate, shouldn’t these comments be alarming to skeptics of the current stimulus package?

Jonah’s excellent piece in the current edition of NRODT, and exhaustive analysis from the Heritage Foundation, make the case that the New Deal suffered from a number of major flaws.  Its failure to pump out countless more government dollars at an even faster clip was not among them.

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