Roosevelt– a hero to President Obama – relied on the misery of the country and the weakness of his opponents to blast through a grandiose agenda. The imperious plutocrat turned the United States upside-down as he embraced one radical scheme after another aimed at getting the economy moving again. None worked.
As FDR stood to take the oath of office in 1933, unemployment stood at a staggering 25 percent. By 1938, after the president had sent shockwaves through the economy, unemployment still topped 19 percent, even as most European countries had enjoyed a significant increase in job creation.
Notwithstanding this history, President Obama has consciously channeled FDR, as when he promised during the recent campaign to pursue “bold persistent experimentation” of the sort embraced by his predecessor. (Obama has already dabbled in “experimentation”; some think that’s why our recovery from the financial crisis has been one of the slowest on record. When Obama took office, there were 143,338 million Americans working; four years later, there are 143,328 million Americans working.)