Panic - Panic You know, the only trouble with capitalism is...

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Panic You know, the only trouble with capitalism is capitalists; the)"re too damn greedy. - Herbert Hoover 10 Mark Sullivan When Herbert Hoover was inaugurated on March 4, 1929, wrote jour- nalist Anne O'Hare McConnick, "[w]e were in a mood for magic .... [T]he whole country was a vast, expectant gallery, its eyes focused on Washington. We had summoned a great engineer 10 solve our problems for us; now we sat back comfortably and confidently to watch the prob- lems being solved. The modern technical mind was for the first time at the head of a government. ... Almost with the air of giving genius its chance, we waited for the performance to begin.'" The wait was not long, as Hoover promptly summoned Congress into special session to deal with the stubborn depression in agriculture. Convening on April 15, the representatives quickly learned that the new president would not tolerate any revival of McNary-Haugen pro- posals for export subsidies. Instead, Hoover demanded "the creation of a great instrumentality clothed with sufficient authority and resources to ... transfer the agricultur;I1 question from the field of politics into the realm of economics."Z Awed by Hoover's aura of command, Congress swiftly obliged. "The President is so immensely popular over the coun- try," said one senator, "that the Republicans here are on their knees and the Democrats have their hats off. "1 On June 15 the president signed J. Anne O'Hare McCormick, "A Year of the Hoovf>r Method," NI!II' York Times, March I, 1930, sec. 5, I. 1. Quoted in Harris Gaylord Warren, Herbert Hoover and the Great Dl!pres.~ion (New York: Oxford University Press, 1959), 169. South Dakota Republican senator Peter Norbeck to C. J. Moen, April 20. 1<)21}. quoted in Jordan A. Schwarz. The Interrl!gnum of Despair: Hoover, Congress, and the Depression (Urbana: University of lIIinois Press. 1970). 6. 43
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44 FREEDOM FROM FEAR the Agricultural Marketing Act, creating the Federal Farm Board, with capital of $500 million, to promote agricultural cooperatives and stabi- lization corporations. The cooperatives were to sustain orderly markets in various commodities - cotton, wool, and pecans, for example - by facilitating voluntary agreements among producers. If the co-ops failed to bring order to their respective markets, the slabilization corporations would stand ready to buy unmanageable surpluses. When the members of the Farm Board gathered at the White House on July 15, a trium- phant Hoover rightly informed them that the}' had been invested with "responsibility, authority and resources such as have never before been conferred by our government in assistance to any industry."~ The great performance seemed well begun, and not without a touch of magic. In just sixty days the Creat Engineer had wrung from Congress a bold remedy for Ihe agricultural depression that had persisted for nearly a decade. What was more, the remedy bore the unmistakable signs of Hoover's own distinctive political genius. It embodied the prin- ciple of government~stimulated voluntary cooperation that lay at the
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This note was uploaded on 04/01/2011 for the course HUMN 2124 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '11 term at Arkansas.

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Panic - Panic You know, the only trouble with capitalism is...

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