One Year Later: Why No ‘V’?

Quick questions: who said the following, and when did this person say this?

Our own country has tried one economic theory after another. The present Administration asked for, and received, extraordinary powers upon the assurance that these were to be temporary. Most of its proposals did not follow familiar paths to recovery. We knew they were being undertaken hastily and with little deliberation.

The most obvious answer might seem to be any prominent 21st century critic of the Federal Reserve and federal government, but many if not the vast majority of those have spent the past year, indeed the prior decade and more complaining about runaway inflation and dollar destruction sure to be unleashed by those government agencies doing too much. Since neither of those things ever happened, the public is, by process of eliminating suspects from an-all-too narrow suspect list, “stimulus” policies have to be either just good enough or verging on too good.

There had been a boom somewhere in there before COVID, right?

The questioned quotation was spoken during the 1936 Presidential Election. Republican nominee Alf (not a 1980’s TV fiction) Landon ran his campaign on a platform of, asking sincerely, where’s the damn recovery?

His opponent, the incumbent Democrat, had entered office four years earlier and upended near everything on the promise of one. In his first reelection bid, FDR would boisterously respond to Landon; we’re in it, and you’re evil for trying to mislead Americans otherwise.

It is needless to repeat the details of the program which this Administration has been hammering out on the anvils of experience. No amount of misrepresentation or statistical contortion can conceal or blur or smear that record. Neither the attacks of unscrupulous enemies nor the exaggerations of over-zealous friends will serve to mislead the American people.

Roosevelt, however, knew very well he was the one fabricating fiction, not Landon. While the economy was rebounding from its deepest low on record, the turnaround was nowhere near full recovering. Instead, the message to voters was a deliberate rhetorical sleight of hand, urging them to see the thing through all the way – give it time and the recovery will happen in the future.

It was that last part that was sort of silently implied. 

Not wishing to spoil what seemed to at least be the right direction, the electorate agreed with both Alf and Franklin…by voting overwhelmingly for the latter (it wasn’t even close; one of the most lopsided results in the history of practically any free election anywhere). They could tell FDR wasn’t being completely truthful, but at least he was honest about being willing to try anything or everything (much of which wasn’t palatable even to those voting for it).

It just wasn’t enough for Landon to correctly surmise that the New Deal wasn’t working in the way it had been meant.

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Disclosure: This material has been distributed for informational purposes only. It is the opinion of the author and should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any ...

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