Thomas Bray points out the distortions in recent comparisons of George Bush with Herbert Hoover:

During his four years in office, Hoover followed the very policies being advocated most ardently these days by the Democrats–tax increases, trade barriers and higher spending on social programs….Also note that the critics carefully limit their Hoover comparison to the number of jobs lost. True, under Bush, jobs have declined 2.2 million, about the same as under the four years of the Hoover administration from 1929 to 1933. But in 1929, when the population was 121 million, a job loss of two million was a national catastrophe. It sent unemployment rocketing from 3.2 percent in 1929 to 23.6 percent in 1932. In 2004, when the population is more than 280 million, a loss of two million jobs means a national unemployment rate of 5.6 percent….

FDR scrapped his own balanced budget pledge as soon as he took office in 1932 and opened the spending spigots. By 1936, the deficit had risen to 5.5 percent of national output–even higher than the Bush deficit is expected to be. And while the number of jobs did expand, it was still 3.2 million jobs short of the 1929 high water mark. By 1936, unemployment still stood at 16.9 percent, nearly triple today’s national unemployment rate. Even after another four years of New Deal economics, including a hefty tax hike that did little to narrow the deficit, unemployment was still 14.6 percent. But we don’t hear Democrats talking about an FDR disaster. [Detroit News]

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