It wasn’t one of the biggest applause lines of Pres. Obama’s acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention, but it was among the most telling…
“And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades. It’ll require common effort, shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one.”
Unfortunately, it was such experimentation by FDR that helped create market uncertainty, stifle recovery, and keep investment cash on the sidelines in the 1930s. So much so that by 1936 and 1937, Roosevelt was unsuccessfully pushing for taxes on corporate savings, in effect seeking to confiscate money so the government could spend it and get it back into circulation. Today, as well, companies are sitting on record levels of cash, unwilling to invest in an uncertain regulatory and tax environment. Recent studies have suggested that FDR’s “experimentation” prolonged the Depression by years.
We’d rather that Pres. Obama pick another model for economic policy.
“Bold, persistent experimentation” is a phrase directly from FDR’s commencement address that he gave on May 22, 1932 at Oglethorpe University, prior to being elected president.
Obama has already been President for nearly four years. If he’s still experimenting at this point, it’s a damning admission that after nearly a full term in office, he still doesn’t know what to do.
Looking at the electoral map of 1936, Roosevelt’s re-election campaign, one sees why Pres. Obama might want to claim the mantle of FDR. FDR’s Republican opponent, Alf Landon, carried two states, Maine and Vermont. This despite persistently high unemployment, and an economy that would tilt back into recession in 1937, even more sharply than it had in 1930.
“Were he a man of lesser ideological ambition, President Obama would now be presiding over a stronger economy and probably be cruising to re-election. He gambled instead that he could use the economic crisis as a political lever to achieve his progressive policy goals, and he now finds himself struggling to be re-elected with a campaign based almost entirely on savaging his opponents.”
It’s been pointed out that “experimentation and planning are in fact opposites.” If after four years, Pres. Obama is only now ready to begin experimenting, is it any wonder that people have little confidence in his leadership?
Here’s how Investor’s Business Daily closed its editorial reflecting on the proposal for “bold persistent experimentation from Pres. Obama…
“If Obama wants to conduct experiments, he should get a job as a high school science teacher, and not use the entire nation as guinea pigs, particularly when we already know how his tests will turn out.”