Lessons from 1934


And that’s what the power-drunk “young pinkies from Harvard and Columbia” are doing in this political cartoon, originally published in the Chicago Tribune on April 21, 1934. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

Ten months before that, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed legislation which would artificially inflate prices and wages. It was fear of decreasing prices and wages, blame for which was placed squarely on the shoulders of capitalism and the free market, which facilitated Roosevelt’s New Deal policies which, according to UCLA Econonics Department Vice Chair Lee Ohanian, “short-circuited the market’s self-correcting forces.”

In other words, said Ohanian and University of Pennsylvania economist Harold Cole, Roosevelt’s leadership at a time of economic crisis actually may have extended the Great Depression by seven years, an assessment which has since been clouded by the left’s revisionist history.

“Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump,” said Ohanian back in August 2004. “We found that a relapse isn’t likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies.”

The legislation signed by FDR in June of 1933, just ten months before the Chicago Tribune cartoon was run, was called the National Industrial Recovery Act. Fast-forward to 2009 and we have the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — essentially the same name, save for the word “industrial,” likely missing because it brings up the blood pressure of the global socialists masquerading as environmentalists on the left. Since Obama’s own ill-conceived stimulus policy was signed into law, we’ve seen the young pinkos in today’s federal government almost use the “Plan of Action for U.S.” in that Chicago Tribune cartoon as a checklist.

Spend! Spend! Spend! Despite decrying the $1.2 trillion deficit inherited from the similarly free market-averse Bush administration, President Obama and his Democrats spent at a rate of approximately $1 billion per hour for every hour of his first 50 days in office. At first, it was $787 for a so-called stimulus package. Then, it was $410 billion for an appropriations bill. Somewhere after that, I lost count; last I checked, we’re hovering at about $2.5 trillion, and that’s not even including the budget.

Bust the Government! It’s a record budget this year, right in there at about $3.65 trillion, accounting for a yearly $1.75 trillion budget deficit. Some are estimating that Barack Obama will add to the national debt more than has been added by every president from George Washington to George W. Bush . . . combined.

Blame the Capitalists for the Failure! My goodness, where to even begin? We’ve seen protesters load into chartered buses so as to protest in front of houses owned by AIG executives, and heard about how those same executives and their families have received death threats. We watched as the Obama administration instituted salary caps for executives whose companies accept federal bailout funds, and shook our heads as Barney Frank lobbied to extend those salary caps to all employees of such companies. And the list goes on and on.

Junk the Constitution and Declare a Dictatorship! Well, the dictatorship has not necessarily been declared yet, but we’ve certainly turned a blind eye to our Constitution. Among other examples of blatant disregard: Congress violated Article 1, Section 9 by passing ex post facto legislation which would apply a 90 percent punitive tax on executive bonuses such as those previously provided for specifically by Congress to AIG executives. And, of course, there’s Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner lobbying for unprecedented power and control over private organizations, allowing the federal government to buy and sell assets, a clear violation of the Takings Clause. At this point, hang up your fake parchment reproduction of our Constitution, close your eyes, and throw a dart — you’re likely to hit a clause or provision which has been, or will be, brushed aside by our president and his administration.

History, we’re seeing, is repeating itself.

“The fact that the Depression dragged on for years convinced generations of economists and policy-makers that capitalism could not be trusted to recover from depressions and that significant government intervention was required to achieve good outcomes,” Cole, the Penn economist, said in 2004. “Ironically, our work shows that the recovery would have been very rapid had the government not intervened.”

Today’s Capitol Hill is the very definition of government intervention, which oddly enough even Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned us about at the World Economic Forum in January.

“Excessive intervention in economic activity and blind faith in the state’s omnipotence is another possible mistake,” Putin said. “True, the state’s increased role in times of crisis is a natural reaction to market setbacks. Instead of streamlining market mechanisms, some are tempted to expand state economic intervention to the greatest possible extent.”

Greatest possible extent? A fortnight ago, the president of the United States essentially constructively terminated a private sector CEO, General Motors’ Rick Wagoner. I’d say our government is intervening a little bit.

Unfortunately, this administration and the Democrats currently holding power in our nation’s capital are ensuring that each and every American man, woman and child bear the consequences and burdens of leadership unable to learn the lessons from history which should have been learned long ago. This Chicago Tribune cartoon, in plain black-and-white, should make that fact painfully obvious. Spread the word.

(NOTE: Economists Cole and Ohanian also penned a more recent op-ed piece for The Wall Street Journal. It can be found by clicking HERE. Many thanks to a reader who e-mailed me with the information — I had read their previous reports, but didn’t notice the WSJ piece back in February. Thank you.)



  1. Gail B says:

    The liberal Democrats KNOW that what they’re doing is going to bust the economy; it’s on the website for the Democratic National Committee! Furthermore, I heard someone on the radio talking about when the time comes for all this bailout money to be paid, it’s going to put money back into circulation, and what’s going to happen? INFLATION! Ain’t life grand? Aren’t we happy that our hopes for a brighter future are going bust and that the only change is going to be our sovereignty?

  2. Tigress says:

    WOW!! Sweet new format!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Jeff, brilliant post! I am so thankful that we have you to ‘tell it like it is’.

    Off topic (I couldn’t get the ‘comments button’ to work on your previous post): Obama issues statement on the pirate attack.


    Must read, this has gone viral, and even Mark Steyn and Rush are quoting parts of it. Great graphic too!


  4. Anonymous says:

    Atlas Shrugged all over again, and that was 1957, this cartoon was 1934. We can recover, we have before, but the years we have lost to the socialists are adding up.

  5. Anonymous says:

    From: http://bobmccarty.com/

    Michael, the creative mind at My Personal Litmus, believes the 60-year-old animated short, Make Mine Freedom (1948) above should be shown to every school child in the United States. Furthermore, he writes:

    The animators of this beauty must have had a looking-glass into the future to get things so dead on, he writes. Check out the head shape of the slimy “ISM” salesman,… looks a bit like a certain someone selling “ObamaISM”…


  6. MO MONEY MO MONEY says:

    Animated gifs like that one make me smile the whole day. Just sad that it is so dead on.

  7. Anonymous says:

    While America’s basic problem is unsound money, it’s becoming clear that the government’s intervention in housing, via Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is the catalyst that is driving down not only the housing market but the entire economy.

    The government is currently giving 4-5% loans to people who have high risk, high interest government housing loans.

    In the open market, high income loan applicants with perfect credit histories can buy down a loan, for several thousand dollars, to the 4% level.

    From an economic perspective, trying to govern risk is a form of price control that artificially sets the price of credit too low. As history shows, price controls always have a disastrous effect on the economy. Setting the price of credit, which is what the government housing programs have always done, has brought on the present calamity in the housing market and the overall economy, which is imploding.

    Unsound money leads to unsound politics and both lead to severe economic recessions and depressions.

  8. Gail B says:

    If Obama, as the ship’s captain of this administration, does not change his course, this sovereign nation (the Titanic) is going to hit a point of no return (the iceberg). “Oh, it was sad. It was sad when that great ship went down (hit the bottom, Brother).”

    Hooray for AIG’s shareholders! They are suing Geithner, Paulson, former SEC chairman Christopher Cox, et al, for $200 billion for violating their Constitutional rights by preventing access to their property, their shares. Remember the interview of William K. Black on Bill Moyers last week, in which Black said that the law was broken when the banks were not closed, and said that it was a scam on American taxpayers and a coverup?

    Story on WND is HERE. I’ve said all along that I thought the contributions to the campaigns should be returned. Those contributions are mentioned in the story, too.

    It’s about damned time somebody in Washington, D.C. was prosecuted for corruption!

    Ha-ha-ha! Word to verify: pieripl
    Pier ripple or Peer ripple? (Both?)

  9. CAL says:

    History repeats itself. Thank you for sharing that cartoon. I do not think it is a coincidence that Obama is repeating history. I think Obama and his team are well aware of what Roosevelt did. They are trying to use this crisis to expand government just as FDR did. I think their primary concern is to expand government and I do not think that improving the economy is much of a concern of theirs.

  10. Keri, a Massachusetts Conservative says:

    Beautiful post… Well documented! I believe this should be published!

    My husband read that cartoon and believed it was from this year…

    Also, I know you keep yourself pretty busy, but can you run for office? We severely need many like you, who holds the Constitution of the United States of America in the highest regards!!!

  11. lgstarr says:

    Awesome new look, Jeff! Hey, I thought you were very busy studying :-)

  12. goddessdivine says:

    Once again, great animated picture.

    Wasn’t it Winston Churchill who said something along the lines of those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it? Yeah, Obama and company skipped out on history 101 (among other courses). I still shake my head that this man is POTUS.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Don”t forget GLOBALISM, people! Yes, the goal is bigger government and socialism, but the end game is a GLOBAL GOVERNMENT AND FINANCIAL SYSTEM!

    Obama’s first choice for one of the top posts is Cho, who is a “transnationalist”. This is a belief that international law should be predominant, even before our own Constitution and sovereignity!

    That, my friends, is where we are headed if we do not stop this evil!

    BTW, I read that ACORN is planning on being at many of the Tea Parties!!! Don’t let them provoke our peaceful demonstration!

    Lisa in TX

  14. tm says:

    Wonderful reading Jeff.
    PS Now that pic is even better then the gore one. My vote keep it on the sidebar with a ticker on how many more days he’s in office.


    I agree with tm, that gif needs a permanent place on this site.

  16. FED UP says:

    This gif would be appropriate with Bernanke’s face as well.

  17. Greg W says:

    Great read, Jeff. I am planning on forwarding it to many people. Also, that Obama gif would be so much funnier if it weren't true. Keep up the great work.


  1. [...] was the government intervention into the economy that caused and lengthened the depression.  [See "Lessons From 1934," here at America's Right, for example.  -- [...]

  2. [...] government intervention during a recession, I’m of the opinion that we should remember our Lessons from 1934, particularly with regard to how Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal policies artificially [...]

  3. [...] government intervention during a recession, I’m of the opinion that we should remember our Lessons from 1934, particularly with regard to how Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal policies artificially [...]

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