Daniel Mitchell, one of my favorite Fellows at one of my favorite think tanks (which I heartily encourage you to support) takes Andrew Sullivan to the woodshed today for suggesting that Herbert Hoover wanted to reduce the burden of government spending:
I went to the Historical Tables of the Budget and looked up the annual spending data. As you can see from the chart, it turns out that Hoover increased government spending by 47 percent in just four years (if you adjust for falling prices, as Russ Roberts did at Cafe Hayek, it turns out that Hoover increased government spending by more than 50 percent). . . .
Sullivan’s mistake is understandable. The historical analysis and understanding of the Great Depression is woefully inadequate, and millions of people genuinely believe that Hoover was an early version of Ronald Reagan.
The historical record shows that Herbert Hoover was a big spender and the stock market crash that occurred under his watch (not, as Joe Biden has suggested, under FDR’s) led to a prolonged downturn.
When in the White House, Ronald Reagan, even facing off against a big-spending Speaker of the House, did his utmost to hold the line of federal spending. And the economy boomed. Perhaps, the incumbent president would do well to emulate the Gipper instead of following in Herbert Hoover’s footsteps.
*but FDR, while having an entirely different persona, had policies in sync with those his predecessor offered.
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