Radio Gets A Policeman

When former President Hoover was secretary of commerce under Harding and Coolidge, he was called upon to cope with a new and perplexing activity.

In the years immediately following the First World War, I had a boy who, like all boys of that period, had gone daft on wireless; and the house was cluttered with the apparatus which he had assembled. It was demanded of me that I listen in on his crystal set, which I did, so I had some interest in wireless before I became secretary of commerce. Read more »

The Wrong Man At The Wrong Time

For all his previous successes, President Herbert Hoover proved incapable of arresting the economic free fall of the Depression— or soothing the fears of a distressed nation

On March 4, 1929, Herbert Hoover took the oath of office as the thirty-first president of the United States. America, its new leader told the rain-soaked crowd of 50,0000 around the Capitol and countless more listening to the radio, was “filled with millions of happy homes; blessed with comfort and opportunity.”Read more »

1930: 75 Years Ago

Overprotection

On June 17 President Herbert Hoover signed a law that was meant to avoid a nationwide depression but instead created one. The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act boosted already high tariffs by 50 to 100 percent, to their highest levels in history, on virtually every American product that faced competition from abroad. Supporters confidently expected the act to fix the economic problems that had resulted from the previous autumn’s stock market crash. As the Senate’s Republican majority leader said during debate, “Within a year . . .

My Search For Douglas MacArthur

An overheard remark sent the author off on a years-long quest to discover the truth about a man whose power to inspire both rage and reverence has only grown after his death

In the Summer of 1958 I joined the army straight out of high school and two years later found myself, by now an Army journalist, flying into the Philippines. Strapped into a bucket seat aboard a C-54, I was seated next to a pair of sergeants, both of them combat veterans of World War II. As the plane began its descent toward Clark Field, the two NCOs started talking about the disastrous Philippine campaign of 1941–42.

The Federal Debt

And how it grew, and grew, and grew…

The federal government was still in the process of establishing itself in 1792 and did not have a good year financially. Total income was only $3,670,000, or 88 cents per capita. Outlays were $5,080,000. The budget deficit therefore amounted to fully 38 percent of revenues. The next year, however, the government sharply reduced expenses while enjoying increased tax receipts and showed its first budget surplus.Read more »

“we Had A Great History, And We Turned Aside”

A long-time Republican-party insider and close student of its past discusses how the party has changed over the years—for better and for worse —and where it may be headed.

Jack Kemp was born in 1935 in Los Angeles; his father owned a small trucking company. He came of political age in a time and place that made it likely enough that he would become a lifelong Republican, and he did. But the kind of Republican Jack Kemp became defies stereotype. Read more »

Presidents On Presidents

They’ve all had things to say about their fellow Executives. Once in a great while one was even flattering.

John Adams said Thomas Jefferson’s mind was “eaten to a honeycomb with ambition, yet weak, confused, uninformed, and ignorant.” Ulysses S. Grant said James Garfield did not have “the backbone of an angleworm.” Theodore Roosevelt called Woodrow Wilson “a Byzantine logothete.” Wilson called Chester Arthur “a nonentity with sidewhiskers.” Harry Truman summed up Lyndon Johnson with a curt “No guts!” Read more »

Hoovergate

On the twentieth anniversary of Watergate, a recently discovered diary reveals a similar conspiracy four decades earlier

Lawrence O’Brien, the head of the Democratic National Committee at the time of the Watergate break-in, was not the first O’Brien burglarized on behalf of the GOP. Forty-two years earlier James J. O’Brien, a suspected Tammany Hall ally and two-bit blackmailer, was the target of another Republican administration. In 1930, however, the burglars were drawn not from the CIA and disgruntled Cuban émigrés but from American Naval Intelligence.Read more »

Can History Save Us From A Depression?

It depends on whose interpretation of both history and the current crisis you believe. For one of America’s most prominent supply-side economists, the answer is yes.

Jude Wanniski was among the early leaders in the revival of supply-side economic theory. A former associate editor of The Wall Street Journal, he founded and is president of the consulting firm Polyconomics, Inc., which is located in Morristown, New Jersey, and advises leading corporations and institutional investors on economics, politics, and communications. In 1978 Simon & Schuster published his pioneering book on economic theory and history, The Way the World Works.Read more »

The Big Picture Of The Great Depression

The crisis swept over France and Germany and Britain alike—and they all nearly foundered. Now more than ever, it is important to remember it didn’t just happen here.

Back in 1955 John Kenneth Galbraith called the Great Depression of the 1930s “the most momentous economic occurrence in the history of the United States,” and thirty-odd years later that judgment, recorded in Galbraith’s best seller, The Great Crash , still holds. Since then there have been more recessions, some quite severe, but nothing like what happened in the thirties. As dozens of economists and historians have shown, we now know, in theory, how to deal with violent cyclical downturns.Read more »