Obama: The Worst President Since FDR

March 11, 2010

I know what many of you are thinking: “But FDR got us out of the Great Depression. FDR signed the Social Security act. FDR helped us win World War II. He was a good president!”

A good president? Yes and no.

Now while I would not be one to discount his leadership in World War II or many of the other positive things he accomplished, instead what I intend to look at is the result of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s economic policies, specifically the ones he implemented to get us out of the Great Depression in comparison to Obama’s economic policies today.

Certainly there are parallels between the two presidents from the outset. Both began their administrations after an unpopular Republican president. Both faced dire economic circumstances in the early parts of their administrations (though for FDR, the problems were arguably much greater than they are today). And both of them sought to bring about major social change through their respective government programs.

One thing that is interesting to note about FDR’s administration is that he actually implemented some of the policies of his predecessor, Republican president Herbert Hoover. How can that be? FDR bringing about the same things as the dreaded Herbert Hoover? It’s true. Just ask FDR’s advisor Rexford Guy Tugwell:

We didn’t admit it at the time, but practically the whole New Deal was extrapolated from programs that Hoover started.”

This is unusual considering that FDR ran on a platform of cutting taxes, cutting government, and balancing the budget. In contrast to Hoover’s Revenue Act in 1932, which doubled the income tax rate and was the largest tax increase in peacetime history.  The ideas that FDR campaigned on were actually quite good. However, just like with Obama, campaign promises and actual policies were two different things to FDR. He raised the top income tax rate as high as 90 percent. In the same vein, just last year, Obama has proposed to increase the top income tax rate as well, although fortunately not to 90 percent like FDR did!

And just as FDR followed Hoover’s bad policies, Steve Forbes points out that Obama is following Bush’s bad economic policies, which ironically run counter to that of FDR’s:

What is most astounding about President Barack Obama’s radical economic recovery program isn’t its breadth, but its continuation of the most destructive policies of the Bush administration. These Bush policies were in themselves repudiations of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Mr. Obama’s hero.

Both presidents also share a fondness of elevating the public sector. InThe Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, Amity Shlaes points out that the New Deal eroded the private sector, while lifting the public sector:

Evidence from that period suggest that government was crowding out the private sector. The Tennessee Valley Authority, for example, dealt mortal blows to a private employer that wanted to electrify the South… For every state-relief job created, about half a private-sector job was lost.”

Since Obama has taken office, private sector jobs have decreased and public sector jobs have increased.

A few interesting excerpts from the diary of Henry Morgenthau Jr., Secretary of the Treasury under FDR, are also very revealing:

“…we have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work… We have never made good on our promises…. I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started… and an enormous debt to boot!

That sounds eerily familiar, doesn’t it? A 2004 study by Harold Cole & Lee Ohanian at UCLA concludes that FDR’s “ill-conceived stimulus policies” prolonged the Depression by seven years. They also said that the New Deal “short-circuited the market’s self-correcting forces.”

But back to Morgenthau’s comment on unemployment. In spite of the New Deal, the unemployment rate during the Great Depression never got below 14%. Obviously, the New Deal had little to no effect on the staggering unemployment that faced our country. Just like the New Deal, Obama’s stimulus has failed to affect unemployment. In fact, unemployment numbers have gone up since the stimulus, despite the White House’s predictions.

Just like FDR, Obama is prolonging our recession. Now personally, I think Barack Obama is more like Jimmy Carter: a miserable failure of a president that needed to be ousted after 4 years of dreadful economic policies. But perhaps like Carter, the American people will find themselves repeating history by voting Obama out in 2012. Only time will tell.

-Originally posted on BlogCritics.org

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Thoughts on President Obama’s First Few Days

January 24, 2009

Most people know what I think of Barack Obama. He’s a liberal Democrat with a record to prove it. So obviously, he and I will disagree on a host of issues. However, I just thought I’d lay out some random observations that I’ve had over the past few days. 

I’m seeing a lot of Bill Clinton in Obama. A lot of his cabinet choices are Clintonian (i.e. Hillary Clinton herself). Like Clinton, I think he, in some ways, tried to campaign as a centrist that reaches across the aisle; not unlike John McCain who did that as a conservative and failed miserably. But I think he will also turn out to be just as liberal as Clinton, if not more so. 

Quite frankly, I see almost a sense of genuineness in Barack Obama. That may come as a shock to those of you who know me. But I get the impression that he truly loves his wife and family. With Bill Clinton, everything about his marriage seemed politically motivated to me. It was like watching two leech-like creatures living in some type of strange symbiotic political relationship. Obama’s not like that at all. If it’s all an act, he’s sure got me fooled. 

As much as I loathe many of the things that President Obama stands for, I have to remind myself that he is in a position of authority. He holds one of the most important offices in the world. As an American, I must respect that office. As a Christian, I must respect and honor his authority. 

But, as Christ commanded us to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s (Matthew 22:21) and Peter tells us to honor the emperor (1st Peter 2:17), I am also reminded that unlike the first century A.D., we live in a democratic society where people are allowed to choose the highest office in the land. 

You see, Barack Obama would exist with his political stances whether or not people chose to vote for him. There will always be people that hold viewpoints like his. So in the U.S.A., perhaps my frustration should not be with Barack Obama as much as it is the people that voted him into office: the people that were swayed by the sweet notions of “Change You Can Believe In” and the mindless, incessant chanting of “Yes We Can!” 

Honestly, Barack Obama will bring change. That’s a fact. He has already signed an executive order to lift the ban on funding for abortions performed overseas. He has promised to allow homosexuals to serve openly in the U.S. Military, which is something that Bill Clinton would not even do. And should it pass, Obama has vowed to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, giving women the right to terminate their pregnancy at any stage.

So, Obama voters, you’re getting your change…and much earlier than I had expected. I must say, I even agreed with the President’s decision to freeze the salaries of White House workers making over $100,000 a year. 

Like I said, I respect the office of the President. I respect the authority that goes with it. I respect President Barack Obama as a fellow human being and as the leader of our great nation. I would even say that his Presidency has already brought a strong sense of optimism to this country. 

But…

I believe that if I have every right to support the good he has brought, I also have the right to oppose the evil that he brings to America. That’s right, I said evil. I believe that the murder of an unborn child for the sake of convenience is nothing but wrong and ungodly. I believe that the practice of homosexuality is unnatural and opposed by God. 

I will not forget what his man stands for. No matter what wonders he works for our country in other areas, and I do truly hope he does, I will not sweep these moral issues under the rug. I will not abandon my principles because some politician managed to win an election based on style over substance, ignorance over issues and eloquence over ideals. 

So as Christ and Peter honored and acknowledged a morally reprehensible Caesar as leader of the land, I honor and acknowledge Barack Obama as President of the United States. But unlike them, I have the opportunity to vote out my leader in four years.