February 16, 2009

Column of the Day: Walter Williams at IBD — ‘Stimulus Can Sink Recession Into Depression’

Filed under: Economy,Quotes, Etc. of the Day,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:59 am

The esteemed George Mason University economist and occasional Rush Limbaugh guest host recites a quick history of the Depression Era of Herbert Hoover and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and the Executive Branch intimidation that sustained its wrong-headed policies (bolds are mine):

….. In 1929 came an economic downturn, most notably featured by the stock market collapse, after which came massive government intervention — you might call it the nation’s first stimulus package.

President Hoover and Congress responded to what might have been a two- or three-year sharp downturn with many of the policies President Obama and Congress are urging today. They raised tariffs, propped up wage rates, bailed out farmers, banks and other businesses, and financed state relief efforts.

When Franklin Roosevelt came to office, he became even more interventionist than Hoover and presided over protracted depression where the economy didn’t fully recover until 1946.

Roosevelt didn’t have an easy time with his agenda; he had to first emasculate the U.S. Supreme Court.

Higgs points out that federal courts had respect for the Constitution as late as the 1930s. They issued some 1,600 injunctions to restrain officials from carrying out acts of Congress.

The Supreme Court overturned as unconstitutional the New Deal’s centerpieces such as the National Industrial Recovery Act and the Agricultural Adjustment Act and other parts of Roosevelt’s “stimulus package.”

An outraged Roosevelt threatened to pack the court, and the court capitulated to where it is today giving Congress virtually unlimited powers to tax, spend and regulate.

My question to my fellow Americans is: Do we want a repeat of measures that failed dismally during the 1930s?

A more fundamental question is: Should Washington be guided by the Constitution?

In explaining the Constitution, James Madison, the document’s acknowledged father, wrote in Federalist Paper 45:

“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation and foreign commerce.”

Has the Constitution been amended to permit Congress to tax, spend and regulate as it pleases or have Americans said, “To hell with the Constitution”?

Answer: Usually not directly, but quite effectively, an all too large percentage of the time.



  1. Make no mistake about it, the leftists have incrementally crafted a dumb-down free rider electorate awaiting this point in history where they control all institutions and the economy. God help us.

    Comment by Joe C. — February 16, 2009 @ 9:59 am

  2. The real problem is that the consolidation of power between Democrats and Republicans. What can we do to give this power back to the states?

    Comment by Elliott — February 16, 2009 @ 7:58 pm

  3. #2, when enough states get tired of the abuse.

    Comment by TBlumer — February 16, 2009 @ 10:33 pm

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