Some Comparisons – First vs. Second Great U.S. Depressions

Unemployment rates during First Great Depression :

The following chart, from, shows current U.S. unemployment rates if figured by same methodology used during the First Great Depression.  The top (blue) line is the applicable comparison:


Note that the two unemployment rates are quite comparable. In fact, the current rates show, if anything, a steeper rise and a much longer duration at peak than the one beginning in 1929.

The, um, depressing thought that occurs is that FDR managed to keep getting himself reelected more or less in perpetuity by blaming George Bush Herbert Hoover for the terrible economy.

Let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself on this matter as well.

About Bill Quick

I am a small-l libertarian. My primary concern is to increase individual liberty as much as possible in the face of statist efforts to restrict it from both the right and the left. If I had to sum up my beliefs as concisely as possible, I would say, "Stay out of my wallet and my bedroom," "your liberty stops at my nose," and "don't tread on me." I will believe that things are taking a turn for the better in America when married gays are able to, and do, maintain large arsenals of automatic weapons, and tax collectors are, and do, not.


Some Comparisons – First vs. Second Great U.S. Depressions — 6 Comments

    • It shouldn’t be too difficult for a clever and sophistic “justice” to
      interpret the 22nd right out of existence.

      We can’t even say the Supreme Court is “compliant” to the desires of the
      executive. And it certainly isn’t “broken to the President’s will” as
      happened in the 1930s. No, the Supreme Court is packed with statists who
      are happy, even eager, to rush to increase federal power and to decrease
      federal accountability. Bill’s and my comments on the “Supreme Multiple
      Choice” post get to the truth of it, I think.

      To harp on a recurring topic of mine, the contract authorizing the US
      federal government is dead, utterly breached by one side. There is no
      moral reason to continue to support the US federal government, only
      practical reasons coming down to raw force.

      • No argument here. The breach is complete and beyond repair.

        Eventually, the argument from raw force will fail, just as it failed in 1775, just as it failed when Lincoln called on the States for forces after the idiots in South Carolina bombarded Fort Sumter. This country was peopled, in goodly part, by scofflaws and hard cases, the sort of folks who respond poorly to raw force.

        The question is whether the States will do the honorable thing and object to the breach or leave it to the people to object. I look at Texas’ governor, who was getting leg-humped a great deal by my fellow conservatives during the primaries and I despair, seeing no mark of spine enough in Perry to object that does not stand between him and his swill trough. And Texas is one of the few States with considerable power to object.

        That doesn’t change the point that raw power will fail. If anything, it sharpens the point that Bill keeps making that we need to flush the GOP and work on replacing it with a movement that works to front the damned statists in both existing parties.

  1. My hopes rest on the possibility that FDR’s run of electoral success was a one-off. He got the anti-Hoover vote in ’32, the unemployment rate dropped substantially by ’36, Europe was already at war when the ’40 election took place, giving the voters a reason not to “change horses in mid-stream”, and the war was raging in Europe and the Pacific when the ’44 election took place.

    The initial re-election in ’36 saw a major drop in unemployment, and FDR’s tinkering with socialism was just getting started. Neither condition is true in Obama’s term. Even the Bush-Hoover comparison doesn’t match. Hoover’s one term came undone early and got progressively worse, while Bush had two terms with an extended period of prosperity and some foreign policy success. There were no photos of Hoover with “Miss me yet?” captions. I’m expecting Obama’s term to be a one-and-out.

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