Yup! This really happened. Recently when I was going through the 1929 Great Depression PPT (*Nostalgia Pill), I realized that Donald Trump’s policies of handling the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic are the exact same copy of Herbert Hoover’s policies of handling the 1929 Great Depression
In case you are not well versed with what happened during the Great Depression and how it still affects your life in 2020, spare 5 minutes for this history lesson
Now let me start by giving a brief intro about Herbert Hoover:
Herbert Hoover became the 31st president in Jan of 1929 and Stock Market crashed in the same year on 29th October. Yup. There’s no need to know anything more about him. Poor fella didn’t even know what hit him. He tried his level best to revive the economy but failed miserably
Now this is where I want you to pay attention to Hoover’s Policies and see if it reminds you of any other American President (Hint: Donald Trump)
Policy 1: Smoot Hawley Tariff
This act raised U.S. tariffs on over 20,000 imported goods. It was a protectionist measure to aimed to protect American interests and, but it ended up
- Raising the cost of goods,
- Imposing of high tariff on American exports by friendly countries,
- Decreasing World Trade by 40%, and
- as one of the main reasons for worsening of the situation during the Great Depression
Now where have I heard this policy before?
Policy 2: Trickle Down Economics
If you don’t know what Trickle Down Economics is, look at this photo.
If you need to know further about this you can always check out Trickle Down Economics on Wikipedia and donate a few bucks along the way
Hoover believed that by helping the wealthy and businesses, financial health would trickle down to help people at the bottom. He also thought that by cutting taxes, people would have more money to spend.
What Hoover thought would happen: Look at the above picture
What really happened: Look at the above picture and continue reading
- Businesses used the extra money to improve their businesses instead of helping the workers
- People had no money to begin with. So less taxes did not matter
- People hoarded whatever extra money that came their way
- Decrease in government spending
Now I know at least one American president who is a big fan of Trickle Down Economics and I think he ought to look at this video
Why am I posting links to old videos? Because you should know the above to understand how closely Trump has been playing with fire ever since he came into the office. The third policy will blow your mind. Click on the links to see for yourself.
Policy 3: This is the best policy a president can ever come up with – Presidential Optimism
Yeah. Hoover was such an optimistic that he gave speeches about how ‘the great depression’ is just a temporary problem and it will go away automatically in some time. He encouraged people to be positive thinkers.
The impact of this policy was exactly what you think it was:
- Situation of people didn’t improve at all.
- Hoover’s millionaire status angered the public and he became the butt of all jokes. His name got associated with all things that a president don’t want to be associated with, like
- Due to increase in homelessness, people literally lived in Cardboard boxes. These homes were called ‘Hoovervilles’
- They used Newspapers as blankets and called them ‘Hoover Blanket’
- You know that gesture when your friend asks for money? You instantaneously reply with ‘turning out pant pockets’. This was called ‘Hoover Flag‘
Hoover had some bright ideas as well to tackle the Great Depression
Its not that Hoover didn’t do anything, but whatever he did backfired. He put the onus of revival on State and Local Government, who were as clueless as the Federal Government. He reconstructed the Finance Corporation providing financial aid to railroads, financial institutions, and business corporations, passed Emergency Relief Act in July 1932, whose scope was broadened to include aid to agriculture and financing for state and local public works. But it was too little too late.
At the same time World War 1 veterans came asking for their bonus in 1932 which was supposed to be paid in 1945. When this Bonus Army was sprayed with tear gas, the people turned against Hoover. There was so much animosity that even building a city to house 15000 workers and building a dam which gave employment to 21000 people couldn’t help him in 1932 elections
The end outcome was FDR (Democrats) winning 89% of the electoral votes in 1932, coming up with New Deal, then Second New Deal and then coming back to power in 1936 with 98.5% electoral votes. Talk about dominance.
Eventually Hoover got his dues when that Dam was renamed to Hoover Dam in 1947, but overall no President would ever want to be compared to Hoover, let alone any Republican
But I also believe that history is written by the victor and maybe history was too harsh on Hoover Herbert. If you have something to add to the above, do share it here.