Hoover and Obama: Eighty Years Apart

On Friday, October 6, 1931 President Hoover faced an economy in turmoil. His party had taken a beating in the mid-terms in 1930. With the general election one year away he gave a press conference. Here’s a portion of what he said.

But I think you will bear with me if I don’t discuss these matters with you. Nothing would be more pleasant to me than to be able to tell you in detail everything that has taken place in the last 3 weeks, to tell you of the difficulties that have been plunged upon us by the situation in Europe, the endeavors we are making to meet them, but it would not be fair to the American people that I should start crosscurrents that are bound to rise from partial programs. So that I hope you will bear with me, and I have to bear with you.

President Hoover held the press conference to announce the proposed creation of a “National Credit Corporation.” The program would provide up to $500,000,000 in loans to ailing banks. Hoover believed that the devil was in the political details and he didn’t want to wash the dirty laundry in the press because it might his job more difficult.
 
We are reminded of this 80 years later. The nation is again facing very troubling economic times. Again the President of the United States gave a press conference. This time it was President Obama to tout his dead-on-arrival jobs bill.
This is not a game; this is not the time for the usual political gridlock. The problems Europe is having today could have a very real effect on our economy at a time when it’s already fragile. But this jobs bill can help guard against another downturn if the situation in Europe gets any worse. It will boost economic growth; it will put people back to work.

How strange that, 80 years to the day, the President of the United States discusses the troubles in Europe affecting the United States. President Obama doesn’t take Hoover’s course of keeping political discussions behind closed doors. Much of Obama’s opening statement is directed toward House Republicans for not voting on the bill. It’s odd since the Democratic controlled Senate hasn’t even started work on it.

President Hoover and President Obama share a common fate. Both are facing a grim prospects at reelection. Both were super popular when they were elected, but economic forces and failed government action led to malaise amongst the population.

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