Dateline West Branch, Iowa
The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library
October, 2019 marks the 90 anniversary of the Stock Market Crash of 1929. President Herbert Hoover’s efforts to end the Great Depression failed. Hoover was vilified as an ineffective laissez faire conservative who did nothing as the country suffered. That negative caricature of Hoover continues to this day.
While Hoover can certainly be faulted for policies including unnecessary tariffs and a strict immigration ban, much of the good he did has been forgotten.
Hoover made aggressive use of government power to fight the depression.
The Reconstruction Finance Corporation made money available to struggling businesses, with funds allocated to banks, insurance companies, and railroads.
The Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 requires contractors and subcontractors working on federally funded projects to pay their laborers “prevailing wages”.
Federal Home Loan Bank Act attempted to stimulating the housing market by putting money into the banking system to make mortgage loans available.
The Norris-LaGuardia Act restricted the use of court injunctions against organized labor strikes.
The Revenue Act of 1932 along with raising the corporate income tax, placed a surtax on high incomers, with a tax rate of anywhere from 25 to 63%.
Late in his administration Hoover proposed a Public Works Administration.
Hoover showed compassion for those in distress, but as Shakespeare wrote, “The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones.