I’ve said something here many times that I think readers have found surprising because it is probably the opposite of what they learned in school, heard from their parents when they were children, and read and heard in the media all their lives. The conventional wisdom is that FDR saved America from the Great Depression. You may have been incredulous when you read in previous posts that I believe FDR, with help from his predecessor Herbert Hoover, was actually the cause of the Great Depression.
The 1929 stock market crash did not cause the Great Depression, rather Herbert Hoover plunged the country into a recession by increasing government spending unreasonably, raising taxes, signing the Smoot-Hawley tariff, and imposing burdensome regulations through the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, giving $2 Billion (real money in 1932) in aid to state and local governments and made loans to banks, railroads, mortgage associations and other businesses, much like Obama did in 2009 with the $780 Billion “Stimulus” bill.
But Hoover’s missteps would have only resulted in a prolonged recession were it not for FDR and the New Deal. FDR’s New Deal doubled down on Hoover’s mistakes and turned the recession into the Great Depression. It is a long standing myth that World War II ended the Great Depression, or at least a very misleading analysis of history. World War IL stopped the New Deal and that is what ended the Depression.
After World War Ii the politicians and bureaucrats feared that the country would revert to Depression and they crafted a second New Deal to prevent that, or so they thought. But political grid lock prevented the second New Deal from being implemented, and voila, the economy quickly recovered and the post-war economic boom ensued.
This video tells that story in an easy of follow format:
Further reading: The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes; Depression, War and Cold War by Robert Higgs; New Deal or Raw Deal by Burton Folsom; FDR’s Folly: How Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression by Jim Powell
Authors who have written articles and columns on the Great Depression and its causes: Thomas Sowell, Walter E. Williams, Jeff Jacoby.