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Sunday, June 24, 2007

America's Engineer

No president is more despised by opponents of big government than Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His New Deal is singularly blamed for introducing large-scale national economic intervention to the United States. But FDR did not drop from the sky. He emerged in a particular context that was shaped by his predecessors, without whom we might have never heard his name. His immediate predecessor of course was Herbert Hoover, the one-term Republican elected in 1928 who had the misfortune to be in office only several months when the stock market crashed. History has treated Hoover curiously. His enemies see him as the heartless leader who stood by as the population was ravaged by the Great Depression. His admirers see him as the last lion of laissez-faire individualism, valiantly resisting the tide of statism that washed over America in the 1930s.

Both pictures are grotesque distortions of reality driven by political interest.
The rest of last week's TGIF column, "America's Engineer," is at the Foundation for Economic Education website.

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