By Tom Quiner
The stock market crashed in October of 1929. At the time of the crash, the unemployment rate was about 5 percent. Two months later, it had moved up to nine percent, but dropped back down to 6.3 percent by June of the following year.
Unemployment never hit double digits at anytime the first year after the stock market crashed. And then the rate began to go up, and up, and away.
Obviously the stock market crash didn’t cause double-digit unemployment rates that were to come. So what was the catalyst? Government action.
First the Congress imposed high tariffs on imported goods in an attempt to save jobs. Within a half a year, unemployment had reached double digits. Then the Roosevelt administration began spending money on jobs programs. Rather than reducing unemployment, it had the opposite effect. Government intervention created a decade-long depression with tragic levels of joblessness. Unemployment exceeded 20 percent alone for nearly two years.
The Roosevelt model failed. This is the model the Obama administration is using.
The stock market crashed again in 1987. However, the decades that followed were characterized by prosperity and high employment. The difference? Government restraint. With a conservative President at the helm, the government didn’t intervene as it had 58 years earlier.
Is big government the answer or the problem?
Well, what about this monstrous oil spill in the Gulf? The screams are loud from the political Left for more government regulation. But before we pile more knee-jerk regulations on the energy industry, let us consider a recent AP story on May 16th, 2010.
They reported that the Minerals Management Service (MMS), the fed’s agency in charge of inspecting oil rigs to ensure safety, didn’t enforce their own policies, and worse, tried to cover it up. Here’s what AP said:
“Earlier AP investigations have shown that the doomed rig was allowed to operate without safety documentation required by MMS regulations for the exact disaster scenario that occurred; that the cutoff valve which failed has repeatedly broken down at other wells in the years since regulators weakened testing requirements, and that regulation is so lax that some key safety aspects on rigs are decided almost entirely by the companies doing the work.”
We had regulations in place. The government was lax in enforcing them. Is more big government really the solution?
Well, what about immigration? We need the federal government to police against illegal immigration and enforce our borders. Right?
This is a legitimate role of the federal government. But they’re not getting the job done. Even worse, they’re politicizing this critical issue, according to Arizona Senator, Jon Kyl. Here is what Kyl alleges the President said to him: “The problem is, if we secure the border, then you all won’t have any reason to support comprehensive immigration reform.”
I do believe there are honorable positions on both sides of the immigration debate. But to hijack law enforcement for political leverage is unconscionable. Regardless of what you think of Arizona’s new immigration law, you can understand their motivation when the big federal government is either unable or unwilling to do its constitutional duty.
Let us recap.
When it comes to the economy and job creation, big government has made things worse.
When it comes to their regulatory function, they have failed us repeatedly.
When it comes to protecting our borders, they are failing us.
Our government is bigger than ever. Is more big government really the answer?