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BUDGET: Herbert Hoover increased spending, deficits

Letter by Hans F. Bader, Arlington, Va. on Feb. 28, 2013 at 1:57 pm | No Comments »
February 28, 2013 1:57 pm

Re: “History is full of warnings about fiscal austerity” (TNT, 2-28).

Harold Meyerson falsely claimed that President Herbert Hoover “cut spending” to balance the budget during the Great Depression. In reality, Hoover actually increased federal spending from $3.1 billion in 1929, when he took office, to $4.6 billion in 1933, when he left office. Hoover also ran up big budget deficits.

While Hoover’s administration had inherited a $734 million budget surplus, it quickly turned that into a deficit, which reached $2.7 billion in 1932, and $2.6 billion in 1933. Government spending doubled as a percentage of the economy, which shrank rapidly.

For more on this, see The Atlantic article, “Hoover Was No Budget Cutter.”

(Bader, an attorney with a degree in economics, once worked for the Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

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