Americans were jubilant during the 1920s as the stock economy expanded quickly, more than doubling between 1920 and 1929. It seemed the stock market could not go down. Greedy, speculative Americans even borrowed money to purchase stocks. Everything was positive and people lost their perspective throwing concern, caution, and common sense to the wind. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow will produce more profits. Thus, the label “the Roaring Twenties.”
America and the world got a sense of reality that resonates today—a scientific fact became reality: what goes up also goes down.
This economic disaster was worldwide and lasted longer and was more devastating than any financial crisis in the history of the industrialized world. America was hurting all across the fruited plain as a result of the Great Depression and that was made worse by the drought and dust storms in the 1930s
In 1930, severe droughts in the Southern Plains brought high winds and dust from Texas to Nebraska, killing people, livestock and crops. With no jobs and no savings, consumer debt proliferated. Then the drought in the Midwest was followed by crop failure; other farmers left crops to rot in the fields as people starved in other parts of the distressed nation. Thousands of farmers lost their farms that were engulfed by the dust storms. Not too smart farming, especially over-cultivation, had caused the Midwest to turn into a Dust Bowl.
Americans were forced to buy on credit with no jobs or money resulting in numerous foreclosures and repossessions that constantly climbed.
U.S. unemployment soared to 25% and wages fell for those fortunate few who had a job. When their money ran out, people stopped spending, only accelerating the panic. Since so many people were unemployed, the Gross National Product plummeted into the basement to 50%.
Unemployed citizens pulled savings out of their accounts triggering a bank run that caused half the nation’s banks to close. In 1933, all U.S. banks were closed by order of President Roosevelt. There were about 9,000 bank failures during the ten year depression. In 1933 alone, Americans lost $140 billion dollars and there was no federal insurance to reimburse the depositors.
Long lines of the unemployed (15 million) were common as were soup kitchens. Once wealthy men lost everything and jumped from the high windows of their plush offices. Others, literally sold fruit on the street for pennies. Hundreds of men carried signs informing all that they were unemployed and would take any job.
Many large cities had their shantytowns where once prosperous or at least middle class people now lived in squalor. Millions of Americans lived in the illegal, but tolerated ramshackle dwellings.
In desperation, Americans turned to the Democrats for their salvation; their savior was President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR). The leftist president signed the New Deal into law creating 42 new government agencies. The most long-lasting result of the Great Depression was the Social Security System that plagues and pleases (depending on one’s perspective) our nation yet today. Socialism was introduced to America and will unfortunately stay until the millennium.
After a devastating, dismal, and destructive ten years, the depression ended, not by FDR’s socialist alphabet federal agencies, but by World War II.
During the ten-year depression, politicians vied with each other to gain the ear and the vote of Americans. Roosevelt had already primed the pump but the water turned out to be bitter. Such difficult conditions brought out the worst of people—including more socialist politicians who demagogued their way into office.
An ostentatious, loud, grandiose senator from Louisiana named Huey “the Kingfish” Long took the stage in 1935 with his “Share the Wealth” plan—which included a guaranteed minimum income of $2,500 for every adult, old-age pensions for all, cancellation of all personal debts, free college, a thirty hour work week; four weeks of vacation for everyone, and an electric refrigerator and automobile for every America home.
There were over 27,431 local Share the Wealth Clubs, with over 7 million members nationwide promoting Socialism.
Americans were swallowing the socialism pill.
Like all demagogues, the Kingfish went after the corporations and billionaires (who had provided millions of jobs) as looters, moral lepers, and thieves. Sound familiar?
Just after his 42nd birthday, Senator Long was shot in Baton Rouge, the state capital, and died saying, “God, don’t let me die. I have so much to do.” But he died and nascent Socialism’s ascendency was delayed.
FDR projected a calm energy and optimism, famously declaring, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” No, all you have to fear are self-righteous, zealous, Socialists—many of them Democrat presidential candidates.
Every Democrat candidate is so leftist, they make Huey Long and FDR look like flaming Libertarians.
(Dr. Don Boys is a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives who ran a large Christian school in Indianapolis and wrote columns for USA TODAY for 8 years. Boys authored 18 books, the most recent Muslim Invasion: The Fuse is Burning! eBook is available here with the printed edition (and other titles) at www.cstnews.com. Follow him on Facebook at Don Boys, Ph.D. ; and visit his blog. Send request to DBoysphd@aol.com for a free subscription to his articles, and click here to support his work with a donation.)
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