Saturday, May 09, 2009

SL Trib: Lieutenant Governor Refuses to Enforce the Law

Weirdly, Republican Lt. Governor Herbert says his job is merely to "accept" campaign donation reports, and not not to enforce the Utah reporting law violations

By Curmudgeon

There was a story in Friday's SL Trib that was worthy of mention, I think. It reported that Utah's Lt. Governor Gary Herbert says his office "won't enforce" a law passed last legislative session that requires campaign donations of more than $25 dollars to be disclosed by the candidate receiving them within 30 days. The Lt. Governor's office says its job is merely to "accept" the reports, not to enforce the reporting law. Even if the report came in more than 30 days after the deadline, Joe Demma, Herbert's chief of staff, said the Lt. Governor's office would not enforce a penalty.

From the story:

However, state law firmly puts the onus on Herbert's office to make sure that all candidates are filing reports that conform with the law and to report any candidates in violation to the Attorney General's Office. Candidates who break the law could be charged with a class B misdemeanor. Why then would the Lt. Governor's office not file charges in such a case? You will love the answer. So will Mayor Godfrey and Councilman Johnson:

“I think simply filing an amended report would work.” But, Sheena McFarland's probing story points out, "that report could come well after the election ends." Uh hun. Yes it could. And has, right here in River City. This is so blatant a "protect our political friends" approach to non-enforcement of election laws, it has outraged even Republican legislators. To their credit. From the story:

That's not good enough for Sen. Greg Bell, R-Fruit Heights, who cosponsored the bill. “To play games by not properly reporting contributions and then filing an amended report and say 'No harm, no foul'... that was not our intention,” Bell said. Kudoes to Sen. Bell, who is not one of my favorite legislators.

The story goes on:

When a candidate misreports campaign finances, it can impact a race. In Utah, supporters of the state's lax campaign finance laws often argue the laws are lenient because everything is disclosed for voters to see, said Kirk Jowers, a campaign finance attorney.

However, that only works if candidates accurately report contributions. “If voters cannot get timely contributor information, it eliminates their ability to fairly see influence on that legislator that may or may not make a difference to them,” said Jowers, who also is the director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah.
And what says Rep. Brad Dee, a sponsor of the bill? He "understands" the Lt. Governor's position on not enforcing the law that makes enforcement his responsibility. But Dee sees no real problem because he can't imagine candidates not complying because "it's simple and entirely possible." Uh huh. [Rep. Dee, may we introduce you to Councilman Johnson?]

So, the legislature passes a law to require reporting campaign contributions within thirty days, and we include in the law the Lt. Governor's responsibility for enforcing it, and he says "Nah. Don't feel like it." And Rep. Dee says that's fine with him, because he can't believe that any candidate would not comply with the law anyway.

I presume Rep. Dee also believes in the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and that Bill Clinton never inhaled.


Former Utah Republican said...

Neither Gary Herbert nor Brad Dee are real Republicans, insofar as GOP party membership can be defined to require adherence to the GOP party platform.

These two are neoCONS, the 21st century embodiment of the European corporo-fascists of the nineteen-thirties.

Mr. T. said...


Nah! Just Utards. Defined partially as those who attended Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Seminary across the street from Utah's public high schools and junior high schools, instead of classes on Government, Civics, American History, etc.

And they of course received credits for their less than objective and almost amusingly creative lessons in LDS history as if they attended regular required government and history courses offered in the public schools.

They (these "Utards) actually are well meaning "servicers of the public", just not very "up on commonly accepted ethics, morals, integrity, dignity and character" because they have never been exposed to what the rest of us have been exposed too and understand. Right here now I should explain that not all Utahans are Utards. Those exempt include thinking mature adults who have lived outside the State of Utah and thus by any number of ways been either "deprogrammed" or "retained by logical exposure to normal Americans and their beliefs, morals, convictions, character, etc." Some call these "enlightened Mormons" or "Members of the fifth Ward" or just plain old damn good neighbors and people. Only the reader (of this) can ascertain whether or not he or she is a Utard.

This just has to be the explanation for why the 88% of our legislators are LDS and elected state, county and municipal officials mostly (LDS) just "don't get it".

And why those of us who do (get it) are left saying "Say WHAT!! He/she said/did WHAT!?? That's just plain crazy!...or illegal...or irresponsbile...or beyond what we can even comprehend that anyone would or could do!

Ever sit down with a close and personal LDS friend and talk? If so, ever hear of "lying for the Lord" being taught so long as it benefits the LDS? Ever read what some BYU philosphy professors actually teach at BYU? That "it is OK to lie if it doesn't hurt a member", "little white lies are OK to further the cause." etc.?

Right here I expect an avalanche of righteous indignation from the "true believers...or sublimely misinformed or naive".

But back to current and practical examples... You know sort of like Sen Greiner being also the POLICE honcho in direct contradiction of the LAW (Hatch Act). Or any number of Godfrey or his wardite buddie's stunts which directly violate any number of statutes...or an Attorney General or County Attorney without the ethics, morals, dignity or character to even appoint a special prosecutor, much less actually investigate very serious and continual corruption at and on so many levels (well chronicled on this blog and in many newspapers across the entire State).

The problem is not systemic. It is an institutional problem, with its birth place in the UTAH public school system which allows the following oversight of basic Constitutional principle. (Now right here I am trying to be sensitive to the prevailing "cultural belief structure/institution".) In Utah it is a State government which is so intellectually and institutionally (if not literally) incestuous it looks the other way as the State enables and authorizes virtually a State religion via virture of LDS Seminaries being allowed to substitute highly imaginative and factually revisionist renditions of Mormon history and rather strange ethical philosophical beliefs for basic American History, American Government, Civics and the like.

Serious "Mormon trained" (propagandized) adults come away believing for life that committees are only tools which are used to spread the blame if the chairperson's decisions turn out to be wrong/bad. That decisions are made from the "top down" not from the bottom up. Just as they (decisions) are and have always been made within the LDS theoracy. And as elected leaders/officials, they are the "chosen ones" and thus empowered to do basically anything they damn well choose/please and can get by with. Rules ethics, laws, ordinances, covenants, all just so much BS to them.

They are the paternalistic and Patriarchial brethren endowed with special powers as see-ers and saints, bishops, apostles, and prophets...not simple servants of and by the power vested/granted to them by the people who elected them. By the people's consent to be governed. Not the people's will to be abused.

If they are simple public would mean decisions come from the people (bottom) up (to and through the elected official). Not the top down as is so familiar to the 88% of our "servicers of the public". They after all have never known anything different in their lives here in Utah. And we must be aware of that fact also. Especially at the polls at every election at any level. The Prophet has a revelation or comes up with some new notion/rule. Sure it is discussed and talked about in the Stake and Ward houses with the faithful opinions passed up the chain. But after a time, the decision is made from on high and it is final. There can be no more discussion nor debate. Top-down...classic.

In public service citizens are encouraged to express themselves through the democratic processes of town meetings, editorials, periodicals, now blogs, twitters, ad infinitum. Our Representatives (BOTH House and Senateors) are supposed to stay in touch with us and express our will in the form of bills and amendments. Bottom-up.

Although only a collary or as an extension of just how bad the core deficit in the education of, what some folks refer to as "Utards" or "the pajama people"...
Now add the Boy Scouts to the propaganda machine. Just in case you do not know nor understand (as in the case of non natives or out of Staters/immigrants, etc.) how prevasive the propagandization of basic education of Utah youth actually is. Consider this true and very recent story.

A kid, age 11, moved last week to Utah with his family. All he has ever wanted was to continue his Boy Scouting and advance to Eagle Scout. The boy, according to his parents, was basically obsessed with the BSA organization. He attended (last week) his first local Boy Scout Troop meeting in his neighborhood (Bountiful East Bench Area) and came home crushed-heart broken. He told his parents "
That's it! I don't want anything to do with Scouting ever again."

Preplexed, his parents patiently and carefully got him to talk about his life altering experience. The kid explained how the first five minutes of the meeting (at the LDS Ward house) was about Scouting. The next two hours was LDS brain washing and had absolutely nothing to do with Scouting in any way.

This recent story in its various versions has been told so many times over the past 30 years I can not imagine anyone not knowing the truth of it. Yet it continues.

Why? Because good people do nothing about it; at the polls at election time, and with letters and complaint filings with the National Boy Scout leadership.

Apathy, in a single word.

You know...little things like that.

Pity tha pore fools.

We love these people cause they are Our people...

Now; go on and on about the symptoms (corruption) and disease (Godfrey and his minions)- as the root causes of the real problems go flying right over head. Spend endless hours picking at every detail of what will never change nor end. That is--- unless you/we all begin to understand what the real problems are and actually begin to take steps to remedy them.

Never bitch about something you can't change...And if you do (bitch) you/we owe it to your/our-selves as men and women to act for change.

All this "HOPE" jive is nothing more than an excuse or rationalization for inaction. Hope accomplishes nothing...

drewmeister said...

Thanks for the write-up, Curm. But is anyone really surprised? ..well, I guess it's more of facilitating the absorption of information, it doesn't necessarily require surprise.

moo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
drewmeister said...

Wait.. the Easter Bunny doesn't exist? ;-)

DEMOCRAT said...


Very well spoken. It's exactly why we need to get back to a two party system in Utah.

Republicans refuse to take down a fellow republican and it all started with Ronald Regan's 11th commandment.

"Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow republican." This sick misguided ideal is rotting away social order here in Utah and unfortunately a lot of LDS people are ignorant to this fact.

Democrats take down lawbreaking democrats. Look at Weber County in the 70's it was all run by democrats and a former Democrat Weber County Sheriff was convicted of a crime assisting an escape, by letting out a friend of the family out of jail without the Judges authorization, to go to a funeral.

Look at Illinois Governor and New York’s Governor. These two guys were brought down by fellow democrats.

Where is the ethics in the UTAH REPUBLICAN PARTY?

ozboy said...

Mr "T"

For the most part it seems that you have a keen understanding of the insidious governmental and religious intertwining here in the land of Zion.

However, I would like to point out a couple of things you offered up that do not jive with my experiences growing up a chosen child of God here in the promised land.

First, when I was in high school, in another century for sure, and took Seminary we did not get school credits for the classes. We did get time out of regular school and big points in heaven, but not credits toward HS graduation.

Second, the Seminary classes did not replace any of the other core curriculum classes being required or taught.

In my ventures out into the real world, which have taken up the majority of my life, I have found that I was very well prepared educationally to handle the competition and succeed. In fact in a very large number of instances I felt a distinct advantage over the poor suckers who were not lucky enough to grow up in Ogden - geographical center of the universe I might add.

ozboy said...

Oh, and Mr "T"

As a boy scout for five or six years, I was not subjected to a lot of MoMo propaganda at all. Though 2 of the 3 different troops I was in did meet in LDS Waaaaaard houses, the only religious stuff I remember was opening prayers - very brief ones at that - but never any religious indoctrination. In fact some of the camping trips we went on were about as far away from LDS theology as you could get and still be sort of legal. One of the first dirty jokes I ever heard was delivered by a scout master on one of those great camping trips!

Not denying the things you wrote about happen, but I never saw it nor heard of it in my experiences.

Also my late uncle was a high official in the Bonneville region of the BSA and I drank as much Scotch with him over the years as any other single individual!

Curmudgeon said...


On the Boy Scouts: there are troops and then there are troops. There are troops sponsored by churches that welcome all, and run real scouting programs without proselytizing beyond that which is built into Scouting itself [they throw you out for declaring non-belief; there are some units so fanatically religious they expel Tiger Cubs [5 year olds] because their parents are atheists.] Everyplace I've been where I was active in Scouting [as a wee lad, as an adult leader and as a parent] word got around real quick about which church-sponsored troops were run by anal-retentive bible thumpers and which where not.

On the other hand, No. One Son some years ago worked staff at BS Summer Camp in Louisiana, and did the Astronomy merit badge course there. All went fine until the last camping session when an LDS Church sponsored troop came in, and there were complaints that he was teaching them things "against our religion." [He was teaching straight out of the merit badge book. Apparently the problem had to do with planets.] The scoutmaster pulled all his kids out of the class. So I wouldn't discount Mr. T's account entirely.

Always pays to ask around about troops, the key question being "how many weekends a year to you guys spend on camping trips?" Anything less than six plus at least a one week summer camp [two is better], and it's best to look for another troop.

Shit-O-Dear Oz! said...

To use one of Oz's favorites... Shit-o-dear!

OZ grew up in a time before this time. And the time before this time was one in which most of these things which are dead wrong in the last twenty or thirty years had not been created by the "creative and highly imaginative LDS".

Hell, when Oz was growing up they still thought the radio was very high tech and Farnsworth had not "invented television" yet. Chortle....

My kids also went to public school here in Utah. And they reported that Seminary credits were given, at least back in the late seventies and early 80s, albiet probably not back in the 40's when Oz was a lad.

Oh, and one other thing. In 1987 I sat by a young AF Captain while flying enroute to Fort Worth, who had been riffed due to having been passed over for promotion three times. I recall how excited he was as he exclaimed how he had been hired as a Utah Regional or District employee. I played ignorant (easy for me) while he explained how
West of the Mississippi River the LDS controlled 87% of the Scouting Programs which comprised at the time more than 335,000 youth.

Please explain how and why any specific "religion" would make such moves to "control" presumably the minds of our youth?

I also have two grandchildren who have run into the same Maroon "treatment" as the kid Mr. T. described. Maybe Oz should get out more and just drop in for an unexpected visit to his local Ward Troop and see and hear for himself. Better yet attend a Seminary class and get this decade's answers. Although I am certain Oz's recollections of his experiences are accurate for the times.

I heard several tales very similar to the one Mr. T speaks of above last night at the St Olaf's non maroon Troop's spagetti dinner fund raiser. Literally a couple of thousand people come to St. Olaf's annually to support the non maroon Troop. And they have a very first class dinner with hundreds of donated gift baskets from area businesses for silent auction, and gifts which are raffled off while a local HS Jazz band entertains, Cub Scouts serve all you can eat and serve water, punch and coffee. And parents/guests also bring their own wine to go with dinner.

Sadly the Boy Scouts have been prostituted by the overzealous and perversions of the LDS true believers...sadly including the literal hands on types.

Oh and one other thing. I was having lunch with the Democratic candidates after a State Nominating Convention in SLC. There were 8 of us, the most senior was a Steve Olsen who was running against Rob Bishop at the time.

After he finished a rather lengthy conversation with several of the other candidates about this Ward and that Stake and how he had been the Bishop of one of the other "maroon" candidate's Ward, ole Steve let out this beauty - and I quote him exactly, "I am going to take every penny I can get from Energy Solutions. They are the ones who are trying to ship waste into Utah."

Being the only non present I immediately spoke up saying that is exactly what we as candidates should be against. Taking money as campaign donations from special interests... but was quickly interrupted by the organizer, a Mrs. Kelly who changed the subject.

Now just stop and think about that for a moment... The previous poster (A Democrat) posed several honest and proper questions about where is the "ethics" in the GOP. Yet I give you direct knowledge of and exposure too exactly what "Mr. T." was trying to tell you. And that is...the problem is not one of this political party or the other. It is rather about the ethics of and the life experiences and backgrounds of those who are elected to public office at any level...local, municipal, county, or state. whether ostensibly as Republican OR Democrat. A party label does not make either "get it" as Mr. T. says...

This Olsen guy, a Bishop...old enough to know better, was saying he was going to profit from the greed of a business he disagreed with and somehow this makes it OK. He was saying he does not "get it" when it comes to personal ethics, character, or integrity. Luckily he lost. But we have not seen the last of him as he is a cousin of the late Bill Orton and continues his quest for political office.

You see folks, it is NOT a political we versus them...or GOP versus the Dems. Rather it is a character issue. So when a candidate for any office tries to use his LDS hints such as "Eagle Scout" or "Bishop" or relations to well known LDS names...I think we all need to run like hell for another or more candidates.

Just say'in...

Oh, and Oz I very much respect you and your ideas and inputs. We should honor our seniors...laughing just a little.

Curmudgeon said...

In re: Mr. Olsen on Energy Solutions cash: I understand your point, and share it to some extent. But you need to understand Mr. Olsen's point as well, which is basically, "don't bring a knife to a gunfight." It is virtually impossible for non-incumbents to get whatever campaign message they have out without decent funding. And Democrats running against Energy Sector Sock Puppet Bishop in N. Utah don't get donations to speak of. So understand his point too, please. The simple fact is, you need campaign money to make a campaign issue of not taking campaign money from "special interests."

Almost a candidate said...


As an almost candidate I understand ... sort of.

But I also know that as a total novice to politics when I did decide to not run I was receiving daily individual contributions from all over the State. I had not even put out anything in the way of a campaign donation request letter, announcement or anything.
And I was offered 'as much money as I was man enough to ask for' by several people who are wealthy folks and who just want very much to be honestly represented for a change.

It took almost three weeks to return all the contributions to the folks who began sending one and two hundred dollar donations.

So you see, I believe a candidate need not back into any election using "campaign finance donations from special interest groups". Rather all a good candidate really needs is a background of integrity and honesty coupled with a message which says honestly what he or she believes and a plan to make it happen if elected.

I know, the current "condition" makes that unlikely or at least most advisors agree with you. But if one has the passion for ethical reforms and an honest track record with the committment to walk and knock of doors...all the special interest cash in the universe can not defeat such a person.

So the trick is to find such a candidate instead of these low-road Mo's.

I just have to disagree with you on this one Curm. And I also believe there are a lot of very smart people who contribute to this blog who would make for some very good candidates, whether GOP, Dem. or Tea Party Independents. You for example. Or Oz or Dan S. or Rudi or several others to mention a few.


Curmudgeon said...

Almost a Candidate:

You wrote: But if one has the passion for ethical reforms and an honest track record with the commitment to walk and knock of doors...all the special interest cash in the universe can not defeat such a person. I wish that were true, as a general rule. But the history of outsider campaigns suggests that it is, as a rule, not true. I don't think you can generalize from your experience. I've known, and worked for, several candidates of sound ethics, and scrupulous honesty, willing to walk and knock on doors endlessly, who tried to fund their campaigns on small donations. They were as a result miserably funded and were stomped like bugs by well-funded incumbents who were wholly-owned subsidiaries of their major corporate contributors.

The reason successful insurgent "little guy" campaigns make headlines is precisely because so few of them succeed.

Almost a candidate said...

Once again I bow to your expertise and experience.

But I still think large money lobbys like the Utah Realtor Association will one day get their come-uppens just as I believe the current liberals gone wild are exposing some very soft underbellies and some raw nerves across America. And backlash will be significant within the next election cycle.

Dems, who are the more by far conservatives in Utah will replace NEOCONs and the Harry Reids and Nancy Pelosi's of Congress will be displaced by moderates who object to a quadrupling of the National deficit within the first 100 days of the control of both houses and the executive and judicial for all intents and purposes (Holder and crowd).

Curmudgeon said...


Let me make sure I was clear: I'm not opposed to your stand on taking corporate donations. Mostly, I share it. I just wanted to say that I understand the position of candidates who, like Mr. Olsen, think they've got not a prayer of running any sort of non-Quixotic campaign without at least semi-adequate funds, and such funds, very often, are available, practically, only from corporate interests. I understand where he was coming from, that's all.

As for Pelosi/Reid: don't expect much of a defense on this issue from me. They talked a good game in opposition. But they're not walking the walk in power. President Obama proposed very minimal cuts in federal spending [about one percent of the proposed budget], so minimal as to be largely symbolic. That's OK. After Bush, I'll happily take even symbolic cuts here and there. And who rose immediately in opposition to even this toenail trimming of the budget? Pelosi [no way they're cutting $400 million from spending in my state], and others [including the Democrat in whose district most of the new Limousine Presidential Helicopter Bush ordered that is now billions over budget, and that President Obama says he doesn't want or need would be built, who is determined that the bloated over-budget needless program go on], and so on.] Reid hasn't been much better.

We disagree on the stimulus spending, though. Circumstances warranted it, just as they did in 1932 and 1933. I'm with Krugman on this: the spending was not too much, it was way too little. And when conservatives retort that it wasn't the New Deal that ended the Depression, it was WWII [true enough], they conveniently ignore the fact that federal spending quadrupled following Pearl Harbor and stayed there for four years. And we came out of the war with a very healthy economy, that funded the GI bill and much besides, that made the US for the very first time in its history mostly a middle class society [more people middle class than not]. Don't expect we're going to agree on this one.

"Almost" said...

We came out of the depression due to two major factors. Pent up consumer demands after years of rationing, and a built up manufacturing base. Spending had nothing to do with it except for the Marshall Plan and other foreign aid spending which helped with yet more markets for our products as we helped rebuild Europe and Asia.

You are the historian though. I should not have to tell you these things. I know you already know them...

Oh and folks in these parts now octogenarians still remember the New Deals where FDR tried to create false economies. Like the "piglet payout and hollocaust", where six million pigs were needlessly slaughtered while people starved (re Grapes of Wrath). Eva recalls her family going out a digging up the pigs to survive FDR's New Deals (scrapping off the lime) after the Feds left.

How much did FDR's New Deals help the Delta or the South? You lived there and probably got an ear full from the oldsters? Hint: not at all! In fact FDR's New Deal caused farmers and sharecroppers far more hardships causing them to lose their land and abandon their farms. They had to migrate North to industrialized areas and factories where they were economically shoved into gettos, etc.

Spending our way out of debt is akin to fornicating for chastity; it just makes no sense at all and has never - ever worked. But for our Country's sake I do hope you are right and I am proven wrong. (There's that "hope" word again.)

As you say we will just have to agree to disagree on this. Pleasure communicating with you.


democrat said...


Be prepared to be slandered. If you’re a democrat? They will know everything about you, they will make up things about you and they will send thousands of letters to their ward members and the gossip will be as a tornado.

That's not even half of the scary part. The scary part is when the Standard Examiner gets a hold of you they will make you out to be the laziest most incompetent, inexperienced candidate they've ever seen.

If you’re a Republican the Standard Examiner with blow you kisses and tap your toes while you’re in the men’s room.

Curmudgeon said...


"Spending had nothing to do with it." Spending had everything to do with it. Tens of thousands of blacks, for example, hired to do defense work, were paid union scale, same as the whites on the production lines next to them. And both, blacks and whites, worked, often, 12 hours shifts, meaning time and a half for four hours a day. Spending on defense is what brought many hundreds of thousands into the middle class for the first time in their lives. Same for many women who went into defense work, and stayed there when the war was over. Spending had everything to do with creating a middle class America for the first time in our history.

As for the New Deal and the South: can we say TVA? All together now? And you have an... interesting... take on blacks leaving for northern cities "having" to leave. Black migration to norther industrial cities had begun before the great depression, but it accelerated dramatically when war production jobs, at union scale, opened up for blacks in large numbers during the war for the first time ever. People left share-cropping marginal existence for better pay in the industrial cities. There was little "had to" about it, and a great deal of "want to."

We're not going to agree on this, and I confess I don't know how to respond to someone who claims quadrupled defense spending plus the GI Bill and its benefits [college tuition, GI mortgages, etc] had "nothing to do" with creating the prosperous middle class America of the 1950s. Your reading of the economy of the period is, I think, v-e-r-y selective.

Did everything the New Deal tried work? Of course not. Did it all work as expected? No. NRA for example was badly designed, badly executed and was moribund by the time the Supreme Court applied the coup-de-grace. And the farm programs benefited mostly larger farmers [as every from program since to the present day has] rather than share-croppers and tenant farmers, who were mostly farming plots so small in such antiquated ways as to be economically un-viable anyway.

Want to talk farm policies that worked? Buying back homesteads from farmers who were trying to raise wheat on the high dry plains of Montana and elsewhere in the west without irrigation [impossible four years out of five], giving them something, anything, for their failed farms so they could get out, and combining the failed 160 homesteads into grazing districts, and issuing viable grazing leases [thousands of acres each] to ranchers who could succeed economically.

There's more, but enough. We're not going to agree on this.

Almost for Curm and interested folks said...

Touche! Curm. I love this~

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s
stock has long been overvalued. Now
there are signs that his public image
bubble is ready to burst and his lofty
reputation is headed for a crash.
The 1950s through the 1990s were the
glory years for FDR hagiographers such as
James MacGregor Burns, Arthur M.
Schlesinger Jr., Frank Freidel, William Leuchtenberg,
Ted Morgan, and Kenneth S. Davis,
who embraced the view that the Great
Depression proved the failure of free-market
capitalism, the greatness of FDR, and
the need for continuing government intervention
in the economy. That view continues
to be heard, of course, as it was in
Freedom: A History of US by Joy Hakim,
whose children’s history books have sold
some 4 million copies. “The first hundred
days of [FDR’s] presidency are famous for
their accomplishments,” she gushes.
There is one small problem with this
view: its central premise is wholly false.
The New Deal failed to get America out
of the Great Depression. If anything, it
made matters worse. Throughout the New
Deal era, the median annual unemployment
rate was 17.2 percent. At no point
during the 1930s did unemployment go
below 14 percent. Although there was
episodic recovery, the 1937 peak for per
capita output was lower than the previous
peak in 1929. And the 1937 peak was followed
by a crash. As Milton Friedman and
Anna J. Schwartz have observed, that was
“the only occasion in our record when one
deep depression followed immediately
on the heels of another.”
The Great Depression was the most impor-
Cato senior fellow Jim Powell’s book, FDR’s
Folly, How Franklin D. Roosevelt and His
New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression,
will be published in September by Crown
tant economic event in American history,
ushering in the biggest peacetime expansion
of federal power. Accordingly, more and
more economists have focused on the New
Deal’s bottom line—the actual effects of
New Deal policies—rather than on the good
intentions of New Deal personalities.
The first crack in the conventional wisdom
appeared with the publication in 1963
of Friedman and Schwartz’s Monetary History
of the United States, which showed
that the principal culprits responsible for
the Great Depression were Federal Reserve
officials who presided over the contraction
of the money supply by a third between
1929 and 1933. Erratic Fed policies contributed
to prolonging the Great Depression.
It was a government failure, not a
market failure.
Since then, dozens of journal articles
and several academic books have reported
the effects of one New Deal policy after
another, and the findings are overwhelmingly
negative. The New Deal prolonged the Great Depression by doubling taxes,
making it more expensive for employers to
hire people, making it harder for entrepreneurs
to raise capital, demonizing employers,
destroying food, promoting cartels,
breaking up the strongest banks, forcing
up the cost of living, channeling welfare
spending away from the poorest people,
and enacting labor laws that hit poor African
Americans especially hard.
Reports of those findings had been accumulating
in the shadows, largely ignored
until 1999, when Stanford University historian
David M. Kennedy won a Pulitzer
Prize for Freedom from Fear: The American
People in Depression and War, a popular
work drawing on some of that research.
“Whatever it was,” he wrote, the New Deal
“was not a recovery program, or at any
rate not an effective one.”
My new book, FDR’s Folly, How Franklin
D. Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged
the Great Depression, is the first work to
focus on the entire range of findings. It won’t
be the last such book, however, since critical
analyses of the New Deal continue to appear.

More on next post....

Almost for Curm and others interested said...

(continued from previous post) New Deal Attack on Employers

FDR made it more expensive for employers
to hire people, ensuring that fewer people
would be employed. The National Industrial
Recovery Act of 1933 established the National
Recovery Administration, which authorized
some 700 cartels with codes mandating
above-market wages.
By giving its imprimatur to labor union
monopolies, violent strikes, and surging wage
rates in mass production industries, the 1935
National Labor Relations Act, commonly
known as the Wagner Act, contributed to
layoffs. Over the course of three months in
1937–38, General Motors dismissed a quarter
of its employees, and overall U.S. car production
dropped almost 50 percent. Economists
Richard K. Vedder and Lowell E.
Gallaway, in their 1997 study Out of Work,
estimated that by 1940 unemployment was
eight points higher than it would have been
in the absence of higher payroll costs imposed
by New Deal policies.
Taxes more than doubled during the Great
Depression, and the federal take rose from $1.6 billion in 1933 to $5.3 billion in 1940.
Federal taxes as a percentage of the gross
national product jumped from 3.5 percent
in 1933 to 6.9 percent in 1940. Ordinary
people were directly hit with higher liquor
taxes and Social Security payroll taxes. FDR
increased the tax burden with higher personal
income taxes, higher corporate income
taxes, higher excise taxes, higher estate taxes,
and higher gift taxes. He introduced the
undistributed profits tax. Those taxes reduced
the amount of money employers had to
finance growth and jobs.
In their 1998 study, The Great Depression,
economists Thomas E. Hall and J.
David Ferguson wrote that “antibusiness
tax laws would certainly have had a negative
impact on employment. In addition,
the uncertainty experienced by the business
community as a result of the frequent
tax law changes (1932, 1934, 1935, 1936)
must have been enormous. Since firms’
investment decisions very much depend on
being able to plan, an increase in uncertainty
tends to reduce investment expenditures
. . . investment as a proportion of
output was at low levels.”
New Deal securities laws further depressed
employment by making it harder for employers
to raise capital. The 1933 Securities Act
required detailed financial reports from
issuers of new securities. Economic historian
Lester V. Chandler of Princeton University
has described the effect of the new
rules this way: “The regulations on new
security issues were burdensome, especially
in the early stages before lawyers, financiers,
and corporate officers became accustomed
to them, understood procedures, and
worked out routines. Compliance was timeconsuming
and expensive. Also, businessmen
were fearful of the civil and criminal
penalties that they might inadvertently incur.”

The first empirical investigation of the
effects of the Securities and Exchange Commission,
established in 1934, was conducted
by future Nobel laureate George J. Stigler.
His work showed that fewer companies
raised capital in the stock market after the
SEC was established than before, and that
rates of return on new stocks issued in the
1920s (the pre-SEC stock boom) were not
significantly lower than rates of return
on new stocks issued in the 1950s (the first boom after the Great Depression). New
Dealers had claimed that the Great Depression
was brought on by stock market abuses
and fraud. But, if that were true, pre-
SEC rates of return would have been
depressed, and the SEC would have improved
rates of return. Analyzing data on industrial
company stocks issued between 1926
and 1939, economist Gregg A. Jarrell confirmed
Stigler’s findings. What, then, was
the point of making it more difficult for
employers to raise capital and hire people?
In 1938 FDR authorized an unprecedented
antitrust crusade against big employers.
The Department of Justice hired some
300 lawyers to file about 150 antitrust lawsuits.
Often they were filed not just against a
single company but against an entire industry.
There were lawsuits against the milk,
oil, tobacco, shoe machinery, tire, fertilizer,
railroad, pharmaceuticals, school supplies,
billboards, fire insurance, liquor, typewriter,
and movie industries, among others. But the
antitrust crusade was a flop. The government
won few cases, and some dragged on as
long as 13 years. FDR’s antitrust crusade
disrupted an already depressed economy,
making it harder for employers to recover
and provide more jobs. G. Warren Nutter
and Henry Adler Einhorn’s 1969 study,
Enterprise Monopoly in the United States,
was one of several showing that there
wasn’t any evidence of increasing private-
sector monopoly during the 1930s.
The whole antitrust crusade was based on
an illusion.

(more in the next post)

Almost for Curm and others interested said...

(How FDR Prolonged the Great Depression)

As if all that weren’t bad enough, FDR
demonized employers with poisonous rhetoric.
In accepting the 1936 Democratic presidential
nomination, FDR lashed out against
“economic royalists . . . the privileged princes
of these new economic dynasties, thirsting
for power. . . . They created a new despotism
. . . this new industrial dictatorship. . . .
We seek to take away their power.” Is it any
wonder that so many people concluded that
America wasn’t a safe place to invest?
Breaking Up the Strongest Banks
FDR’s major banking “reform,” the second
Glass-Steagall Act, broke up the strongest
banks, including J.P. Morgan & Company—
universal banks that engaged in both commercial banking (deposits and loans)
and investment banking (securities underwriting),
because New Dealers imagined
that securities underwriting was a factor
in all the bank failures.
In 1986 Eugene N. White reported that
during the 1920s, before the passage of the
Glass-Steagall Act, banks that engaged in
both deposits and loans and securities underwriting
were less likely to fail than were
investment banks that didn’t engage in securities
underwriting. White further reported
that, between 1930 and 1933, 26.3 percent
of all national banks failed, compared with
only 7.6 percent of banks that engaged in
securities underwriting. The reason for the
greater safety of universal banks, White suggested,
was diversification.
University of Chicago economists Randall
Kroszner and Raghurm Rajan gathered
data on securities issues during the 1920s
and compared the performance of issues
underwritten by universal banks and those
issued by investment banks. They found that
40 percent more of the bonds issued by
investment banks—the kind of banks
approved by New Dealers—went into default.
FDR didn’t do anything about a major
cause of 90 percent of the bank failures,
namely, state and federal unit banking laws,
which limited banks to a single office, thus
preventing them from diversifying their
loan portfolios and their source of funds.
Unit banks were highly vulnerable to
failure when local business conditions were
bad, because all their loans were to local
people, many of whom were in default,
and all their deposits came from local people
who were withdrawing their money.
Canada, which permitted nationwide branch
banking, didn’t have a single bank failure
during the Great Depression.
FDR signed the Banking Act of 1935,
which centralized power at the Fed. Allen
H. Meltzer makes clear in his recent History
of the Federal Reserve that the seven
governors of the Fed almost always had to
interpret conflicting information, and they
were human beings prone to error. Centralizing
power meant their errors would
harm, not just a city or a region, but the
entire United States.

The first bad call came in July 1936, just
five and a half months after the new Fed
began to operate. It increased the reserve
requirement for banks by 50 percent, which
meant a higher proportion of a bank’s money
had to stay in the vault, rather than be
lent and reinvested. On January 30, 1937,
the Fed increased bank reserve requirements
another 33.3 percent. Those bad calls triggered
a contraction of the money supply,
which was one of the most important factors
bringing on the depression of 1938—
the third most severe since World War I.
Real GNP declined 18 percent, and industrial
production was down 32 percent.
What about FDR’s federal deposit insurance
reform? It didn’t stop bank failures.
Since depositors no longer worried about
losing their money, though, there weren’t
any more serious bank panics. Deposit
insurance transferred the cost of bank failures
from depositors to taxpayers, undermining
incentives for depositors to steer
clear of risky banks. The full consequences
of federal deposit insurance became apparent
in the 1980s, when savings-and-loan
bailouts cost taxpayers $519 billion.
Punishing Discounters, Destroying Food
National Recovery Administration cartels
forced prices for goods and services
above market levels, making everybody poorer.
The “little people” fared worst. In April
1934, 49-year-old immigrant Jacob Maged
of Jersey City was fined and jailed for three
months after charging 35 cents to press a
suit, rather than the 40 cents mandated by
the National Recovery Administration’s dry
cleaning code.
The Agricultural Adjustment Acts (1933,
1938) forced up farm prices, which meant
higher food prices for millions of Americans.
Under the AAAs, Secretary of Agriculture and
future vice president Henry Wallace had
farmers plow under some 10 million acres
of cultivated land, destroying wheat, corn,
and other crops. Hog farmers were paid to
slaughter some 6 million shoats (young pigs).
That was the sort of thing John Steinbeck
protested in The Grapes of Wrath.
The SEC enforced price fixing on Wall
Street—the high commissions that investors
paid to buy or sell securities. Real reform—
deregulation, competition, and discount prices—didn’t come to Wall Street until
The Robinson-Patman Act, amending
the Clayton Antitrust Act in 1936, made it
illegal for A&P, King Kullen (“World’s Greatest
Price Wrecker”), and other chain stores
to share discounts on volume purchases with
consumers. FDR struck another blow against
consumers by signing the Miller-Tydings
Retail Price Maintenance Act in 1937. That
act amended the Sherman Act to let manufacturers
fix the retail prices of branded
merchandise and stop chain stores from
offering great discount prices.
In 1938 FDR signed into law the Civil
Aeronautics Act, which enabled the federal
government to enforce an airline cartel.
For 40 years, not a single license was
issued for a new interstate airline, and consumers
were hit with high fixed fares.

The New Deal Made
African Americans Worse Off
African Americans were major victims of
the National Recovery Administration. The
labor codes, drafted by craft unions that excluded
African Americans, specified above-market
wages, which effectively outlawed price
competition in labor markets. Since large numbers
of black workers were unskilled, their
best hope was to work at a lower rate and get
on-the-job experience that would increase their
skills and their ability to compete. “Because
of the NRA, wages in the South’s largest industry,
textiles, increased by almost 70 percent in
five months,” reported George Mason University
law professor David E. Bernstein.
“Employers responded to such massive wage
increases by investing in mechanization and
dismissing their unskilled workers.” Some
500,000 black workers were estimated to have
lost their jobs because of the National Recovery
Administration’s minimum wage codes.
Black workers were big losers under the
National Labor Relations Act, hailed as the
“Magna Carta” of compulsory unionism.
“To the extent that the Wagner Act raised
wages and labor standards beyond market
levels,” wrote Bernstein, “it had the same
effect as a minimum wage law in eliminating
marginal African American jobs.”
Black farmers were left high and dry when
their land was flooded by the Tennessee Valley Authority. According to economist John
Moore, TVA dams “permanently flood a total
of about 730,000 acres . . . an area which is
approximately as large as the state of Rhode
Island.” A reported 15,654 people were forced
from their homes to make way for dams.
Farm owners received cash settlements for
their condemned property, but the thousands
of black tenant farmers got nothing.
The AAAs reduced farm acreage and
gave millions of dollars to big farmers, but
the 600,000 black sharecroppers got nothing.
In a 2001 National Bureau of Economic
Research study, Price V. Fishback,
William C. Horrance, and Shawn Kantor
reported that “income inequality was exacerbated
as the landowners’ incomes increased
and the incomes of the much larger group
of tenants, croppers and workers declined.”

What about all the New Deal relief programs?
The bulk of that money was skewed
away from the South, which was the poorest
region. Historian Leonard Arrington
estimates that, on average, a person living
in the West received 60 percent more
New Deal money than a person living in
the South. Historian Don Reading found
there was less New Deal spending in the
states that had higher percentages of black
residents, higher percentages of tenant farmers,
and lower per person incomes.
Economic historian Gavin Wright of Stanford
concluded that less New Deal welfare
spending went to the southern states that gave
FDR big winning margins (over 67 percent)
in 1932, presumably because FDR was sure
to win those states again. More New Deal
spending went to western states where FDR
had won less than 60 percent of the vote in
1932, to help ensure victory in 1936.
Warren Harding Beats FDR
as Anti-Depression Fighter
The Great Depression wasn’t written in
the stars. After all, the severe depression of
1920 was over in about a year. The president
then was Warren G. Harding, who succeeded
where FDR failed. Harding cut federal
spending, cut taxes, and went back to his card
games. Harding’s slogan “less government in
business” turns out to have been a vastly better
guide than FDR’s disastrous “New Deal.”
Everybody, especially the poorest among us,
is better served when private property is secure,
the currency is stable, markets are open, people
are free to make their own bargains, government
burdens are lifted, and it’s safe to
invest for the future.

OK OK its Machster said...

Curm said;
"Tens of thousands of blacks, for example, hired to do defense work, were paid union scale, same as the whites on the production lines next to them. And both, blacks and whites, worked, often, 12 hours shifts, meaning time and a half for four hours a day. Spending on defense is what brought many hundreds of thousands into the middle class for the first time in their lives. Same for many women who went into defense work, and stayed there when the war was over. Spending had everything to do with creating a middle class America for the first time in our history.

As for the New Deal and the South: can we say TVA? All together now? And you have an... interesting... take on blacks leaving for northern cities "having" to leave."

Curm - Me thinks you forget. I was born and raised in the South. It and its history (warts and all) flow through me like the brown murkey waters of the Mississippi River. I lived it and breathed it 24/7, 365... And I can say without hestitation that your rather liberal revisionist version of events during the Great Depression and the impacts on the blacks, poor dirt farmers and sharecroppers are more than just a little off base from first hand knowledge and research. I worked with and alongside these people in commerce and in the fields and in every other way from first memory. I speak their language and understand it and them and their history. My book was experience first then the written ones.

And yes I acknowledge that you spent 30 yrs. teaching in Baton Rouge, La. But I have to question what text books you used???

The economists, professors, and researchers cited in the previous string of posts have it correct. And the most freightnening thing is the ignorance and blatant misguided revisionist history being bought hook - line and sinker by the Obama administration. Something about those ignorant of history are damned to repeat it.... And it does not take a giant brain to see the striking similarities between the mistakes made by the FDR administration and the current on-slaught of O-man changes and plans.

As you once said, "None are so blind as those who WILL not see..." which most attribute too "Jeremiah 5:21
: : : Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:

Grins. Again, I accept the challenge of an honest debate and do not wish to offend you or anyone. Just hope (that damnable word again) to at least try to get the whole truth out at this highly critical time for our Country.

I am wondering where our new resident self proclaimed genious Svengali is on all this. Surely he knows more than both you and me put together about this subject?

Anyone else see some problems with what is going on and coming out of Washington? Seems to make Ogden's problems shrink into fairly petty ones by comparison.

Curmudgeon said...

Well, Machster, since you asked again.... On the New Deal and the South, we might mention the REA [Rural Electrification Administration]. The South was the most poverty-ridden and non-electrified region of the country all throughout the 1920s and into the Depression. It was the REA that began to bring electricity to the rural south for the first time [other areas as well, especially the west, but the south too]. Not a small thing. The emergence of the South from a poverty-ridden agricultural backwater began with the New Deal and wartime programs and continued on after... held back, of course, by the inherent conservatism of Southern politicians, and their racism as well. But it was the New Deal programs like TVA, REA, WPA, PWA that finally started the south on the road to a modern and growing economy. However inconvenient that fact might be for conservative economists.

There were several buildings at the U. I taught at that were built by the New Deal work relief programs [WPA, PWA] as were high schools, roads, bridges, post offices, libraries... the list goes on and on. And all of that made it possible to start to bring the south into the modern economy during and especially after the post war. [The cascades refining uranium in Alabama that was used to build the bombs that ended the war ran on TVA power.] Industry came to the south, war industry, and some stayed. The mills that moved to the south [to find cheap non-union labor] ran often on TVA power in parts of the south. The CCC had camps in the south, not just the west, which employed thousands of unemployed young men on forestry projects, national park and forest projects, from which the south benefited then, and still does now. The list goes on and on and on.

As I said, you have a very selective memory. And if your vision of what the New Deal ought to have done was to preserve the the share-cropper and tenant farmer systems of the Delta and elsewhere in the Deep south, you're more of a wild-eyed out-of-touch romantic than the most ardent New Dealer who ever lived.

ozboy said...

Yak, yak, yak.

So while you'ze two geniuses debate the real meaning of history, and accuse each other of being revisionists, me and my poor little simple brain sit here a wonderin just what effect all of this current gigantic federal spending is going to have on the economy in the future.

Are we going to have the mother of all inflation eat us alive over the next few years like I suspect and fear?

Is the almighty dollar going to go the way of the long knives and General Motors and be replaced by Chinese chop sticks?

Are we all going to end up owing our bodies and souls to the welfare department of the Mo Church?

Is Nancy P and Barrack O going to pass laws that make us trade in our silk designer boxers for old used cotton briefs discarded by Harry R?

Just where is it all going O mighty wizards? We have already forgotten the past and so are condemned to repeat it, so what exactly does that mean in the real world?

By repeating the past does that mean we will re-live the fifties and get to enjoy big cars with big fins and lots of chrome and women with big hair do's to match? If so, count me in for dem were the days my friends, yes indeed dem were the days.

Machster said...


Stand by for "Ram", I ain't talking bout no freak'in truck either.

The current O-man has unleased already forces which will make the "Peanuts" admin. and its inflation look like the good ole "Dem. Days" you refer too.

And inflation is the least of the problems we now face given the naive foreign policy and incredible stupidity of the almost Dem. female in the State Dept.
Apologize first and investigate after is the new model.

But back to the "real world" of economics. Social Security is at the tipping point eight years early due to unemployment now reported at 8.9 %. Add five percent more due to the way the Labor Dept. has changed the method of reporting and we are already running at almost 14 % unemployment in comparative terms.

Oz just be glad you are not a car dealership since GM and Chrysler will be adding hundreds of thousands more unemployed to the list and statistics within a week.

My noble debate opponent wants us to wait and see. To continue to give the Dems. free reign and we will spend ourselves out of the "recession" already 11 mos. old. Curm may be right.

But simple logic and common sense (Spending our way out of debt is like fu__ing for chastity, it makes absolutely no sense.) as well as 30 plus graduate level hours in advanced economics backed by non political economic researchers - the above "How FDR Prolonged the Great Depression" was written by Jim Powell back in 2003 by the way well before Obama and the Dems had "wet dreams" of the power they could sieze from the emasculation of America and its most ignorant.

You ask specific questions:

Are we going to have the mother of all inflation eat us alive over the next few years like I suspect and fear? YES.

Is the almighty dollar going to go the way of the long knives and General Motors and be replaced by Chinese chop sticks? Yes we will se "deflation followed by massive stagflation" when the rest of the Obama agenda begins to kick in economically. Unless congress is taken back quickly from the radical (not including Crum by the way) left.

Are we all going to end up owing our bodies and souls to the welfare department of the Mo Church? No. The Mo Church is as bogus as its claims of ever increasing influence and membership. People know what conversion to it means for their lives. Re yesterday's Texas parents "kidnapping of their daughter from the U." The court case will be very enlightening, assuming the mind control department allows it to go that far ---which I doubt.

Is Nancy P and Barrack O going to pass laws that make us trade in our silk designer boxers for old used cotton briefs discarded by Harry R? Yes, these brilliant idoits will come up with obscured and waffle worded ways to put tariffs back into place (briefly).

Just where is it all going O mighty wizards? We have already forgotten the past and so are condemned to repeat it, so what exactly does that mean in the real world? It means that you and me and everyone including Curm will need to participate in putting a stop to the madness in Washington by perhaps actually driving enmass and staying until Congress (no matter which claims a majority) gives us our Country back from the clutches of baffoons and idoits and the criminally stupid ass wipes we have allowed to remain in office far too long.

Incest in any form; biological or intellectual produces the same result. These people like Pelosi, Reid, Frank, Hatch, Kennedy, and so many more have to be turned out to pasture so thinking and mature responsible adults can take their places and legislate for the people instead of for their own continuance...Arlin Spector for example....

And Yes, we will get through all the damage already done and being done by the Obama people and the Pajama people. We have survived much worse...just fear you and I will not live long enough to see the turds being completely flushed and the toilet bowl sanitized.

Our best hope is the retirement of the baby boom generation being awakened and becoming fully engaged and active toward an end to the current madness.

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