Sourcing the Morgenthau 1939 quoteAt the coffee shop this morning another imbiber handed me a quote on a torn piece of paper, "We are spending more money than we have ever spent before, and it does not work. After eight years we have just as much unemployment as when we started, and an enormous debt to boot. - U.S. Secretary Henry Morgenthau. . . May 1939." Being a librarian, I looked into his handsome face and said, "Do you know the source?" And he didn't.
So when I got home I googled it, and found every conservative, libertarian and anti-Bam source on the internet is using it. That's not a good sign. Even going to a fact checking web site like Snopes or Factcheck is dicey, because even those are political, whether liberal or conservative. Someone, somewhere, must know where the original is, but with libraries like Fisher in the College of Business at OSU closing because it's all free on the internet, I don't know if I could find a paper copy. And these days, for this librarian [retired], paper is the "gold standard." Anything digitized, like all that stuff Obama promised us would be up there for us to read, can be altered. And although his staff had wiped out all the Bush stuff on January 20, they can't even get his press conferences up in a timely fashion so you can fact check. (I wonder if his IT staff paid their taxes?)
Anyway, I only recently (yesterday) began reading Alan Caruba because he'd written about coal, which is extremely important to Ohio's economy, which Obama and his green friends are trying to kill. Here's what I found in a Caruba blog.
- In 1939, ten years after the crash on Wall Street, the Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., told the House Ways and Means Committee:
“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong…somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises…I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started…And an enormous debt to boot!”
Does history repeat itself? Yes, it does. And there is every appearance that the White House and the Congress intends to repeat many of the errors of the last Depression that came to be known as Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal.
With exquisite timing, after ten years of research, professor of history, Burton Folsom, Jr. has published “New Deal or Raw Deal? How FDR’s Economic Legacy has Damaged America” ($27.00, Threshold Editions).
To get an idea of just how bad the U.S. economy was during the 1930’s, Folsom notes that, even though the U.S. had budget surpluses in 1930 and 1931, government spending “ballooned and far outstripped revenue from taxes.” It was the Wall Street Crash of 1929 that precipitated the Depression, but it was FDR’s “solutions” that deepened and lengthened it, actually preventing any solution.
And please, let's not give all the credit for the mess to FDR! President Hoover first did what Obama is doing now with help in the fall from Hank and Ben before he took office, spiking the unemployment to the 20% range. FDR's policies just lengthened it. If those two presidents had sat on their hands, if they'd just gone on vacation or wherever the summer White House was in those days, we'd be a much different country today. Regardless of whether we have a Democrat or a Republican in office, we've been bankrupting our country with social spending, not military spending, for years.
You can see from this that spending on social/human services levels or dips a little under a Reagan or a Bush, but it doesn't really go down. We'll be stuck with SCHIP and summer lunches for children forever, even though they've never been proven to help poor children or decrease poverty. In America, it's all about intentions, never results. If it feels good, it must be good. Which brings me back to the Morgenthau quote--got a paper source?
Update: Caruba has kindly confirmed the source from the Folsom book: Morgenthau Diary, May 9, 1939, Franklin Roosevelt Presidential Library.