Herbert Hoover's Deficit Spending

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

William Hettinger [letters, April 3] rewrote history by falsely claiming that "President Herbert Hoover's response" to the 1929 stock market crash "was to balance the federal budget." Hoover actually ran up massive deficits, as the federal Office of Management and Budget notes.

Hoover inherited a large budget surplus, which he quickly turned into a deficit. By 1932, when he lost his bid for reelection, the deficit had reached $2.7 billion -- the third-largest budget deficit America had ever experienced. Hoover increased government spending from $3.1 billion to $4.7 billion in a failed effort to stimulate the economy. And he increased marginal tax rates to 63 percent.

Mr. Hettinger claimed that "economists of all stripes" agree with him that a balanced budget "helped bring on the Great Depression." None of the economists I know -- liberal or conservative -- believe this.

HANS BADER

Counsel

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Washington


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