Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Horrible Presidents of our Past : A Series

I'm reading a book on FDR and the New Deal as a kind of antidote to the indoctrination I received in public schools. We all know this highly extolled president and how he was one of the "best presidents of this past century" and yada yada yada. What I have read so far is that he was the son of wealthy parents who had no business knowledge, parents who inherited their wealth (on his mother's side via illegal opium sales) and consistently made bad investments. FDR continued this trend, doing very poorly in his economics courses as well as legal courses, ending up with a paltry C+ average at university but managing to pass the barr exam. He continued to leech money off his mother while making horrible investments (his money was on a fleet of dirigibles as opposed to those newfangled aeroplanes) and running for various public offices. His strength was in politics and he often got by on his charisma alone. He married his cousin, as well all know, had a three year affair with his wife's secretary, contracted polio and then lived on a houseboat for seven or so years rarely seeing his wife or five children. Translation: He abandoned his family.

While on the campaign trail in the late 1920s he stated that he wrote the Haitian Constitution. Or invented the Internet. Then he denied that he said it.

On a completely unrelated note, I just spoke with my neighbor who returned from a month in Singapore where he was able to get an unfiltered view of how much of the world sees our new President (a President who by his own admission isn't all that keen with this whole economics thing). While much of the world is more liberal/left-leaning than the United STATES of America and were previously championing Obama, the general consensus a mere two months after he has taken office is that he's screwing things up and but bad. They wouldn't care so much except that it's dragging down their economies as well.

The parallels I'm seeing is that, if you click on the "Economics with Charts" link just a bit to the right you'll see how things are starting to turn around. Home sales are creeping up, used car prices are up which often leads to more new car sales, some firms are starting to turn profits, which is all to say that things might be starting to turn around. Until, as in the Great Depression, these bailout plans start to do their work and the rules therein begin to restrict the American spirit. Some say that FDR made things better during the Great Depression but the numbers show otherwise... but that's another post for another day.

No comments: