The Greatest Depression

(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

1929.  The stock market crashes.  The Great Depression hits America.  It was a depression that took 10 years before America recovered.

In 2009, we could see the Greatest Depression…

If history does anything, it is supposed to teach us about our mistakes.  In 1929, the stock market crash was the beginning of a national nightmare.

Although the United States had experienced several depressions before the stock market crash on October 27, 1929, none had been as severe nor as long lasting before “Black Thursday” struck Wall Street. At first, economists and leaders thought this was a mild bump, perhaps merely a correction of the market, or in any case, no worse than the recession the nation suffered after World War I.

That wasn’t the case, however.  The banks saw runs by their customers.  The banks failed.  There was chaos and suffering.  People lost their jobs and couldn’t afford food.

Numbers soon proved the optimists incorrect. The depression steadily worsened. By spring of 1933, when FDR took the oath of office, unemployment had risen from 8 to 15 million (roughly 1/3 of the non-farmer workforce) and the gross national product had decreased from $103.8 billion to $55.7 billion. Forty percent of the farms in Mississippi were on the auction block on FDR’s inauguration day.

Our unemployment rate is again rising nationally.  George W. Bush took office with an unemployment rate of 4.2%.  In December 2008, the unemployment rate was 7.2% nationally, and, was higher in some states such as South Carolina where the unemployment rate is 9.5%.  The Consumer Price Index is down.  Payroll employment lost 524,000 jobs.

Those hurt the most were more stunned than angry. Many sank into despair and shame after they could not find jobs. The suicide rates increased from 14 to 17 per 100,000. Protest that did occur was local, not national: “farm holidays,” neighbors of foreclosed farmers refusing to bid on farms at auction, neighbors moving evicted tenants’ furniture back in, and local hunger marches.

Today, the people were not stunned, and, they are angry.  They saw which political Party was responsible and spoke out in the 2008 elections.  The Republican Party lost the White House, lost seats in the Senate, the House, and Governorships.  Change was in the air.

Resistance to protest often turned violent. In 1932, four members of the Dearborn hunger march were shot and killed when 1,000 soldiers accompanied by tanks and machine guns evicted veterans living in the Bonus Army camp in Washington, D.C.

And here we are today, on the brink of depression.  The Greatest Depression.  As it was in 1929, things get worse before they get better.  The forecast for 2009 is dire, indeed.  

Dec. 11 (Bloomberg) — U.S. foreclosure filings climbed 28 percent in November from a year earlier and a brewing “storm” of new defaults and job losses may force 1 million homeowners from their properties next year, RealtyTrac Inc. said.

A total of 259,085 properties got a default notice, were warned of a pending auction or were foreclosed on last month, the seller of default data said in a report today. That’s the fewest since June. Filings fell 7 percent from October as state laws and lender programs designed to delay the foreclosure process allowed delinquent borrowers to stay in their homes.

The time to act is now.

Initial jobless claims increased to 573,000 in the week ended Dec. 6, the highest level since November 1982, while the number of workers staying on benefit rolls reached 4.429 million, also the most since 1982, the Labor Department said today. U.S. companies slashed payrolls by 533,000 last month, the fastest pace in 34 years, for a total of 1.9 million job cuts so far this year.

“The labor market is facing its worst crisis since 1982, and it is certainly not over yet,” said Harm Bandholz, a U.S. economist at UniCredit Markets and Investment Banking in New York.

Tomorrow may be too late.

“Until we see a turnaround in the job situation, we’re not going to see these numbers improve,” said Jay Brinkmann, chief economist of the Washington-based bankers group.

FDR, after assuming the presidency, promoted a wide variety of federally funded programs aimed at restoring the American economy, helping relieve the suffering of the unemployed, and reforming the system so that such a severe crisis could never happen again. However, while the New Deal did help restore the GNP to its 1929 level and did introduce basic banking and welfare reforms, FDR refused to run up the deficits that ending the depression required. Only when the federal government imposed rationing, recruited 6 million defense workers (including women and African Americans), drafted 6 million soldiers, and ran massive deficits to fight World War II did the Great Depression finally end.

Running up the deficit.  Spending.  Putting people back to work on the governments, and taxpayer’s, nickle.  

“Senate Democratic leaders conceded yesterday that they do not have the votes to pass the stimulus bill as currently written and said that to gain bipartisan support, they will seek to cut provisions that would not provide an immediate boost to the economy.”

Yesterday is gone and we have learned nothing.  Today is here and it is already bad.  Tomorrow is coming and the predictions are dire.

The Democratic Party under President Obama has one vision; they wish to avoid this, the Greatest Depression.  The Republican Party a different vision; bring it on!

The people of both Party’s have enough wealth to maybe see themselves through the coming disaster.  We, the average person, do not.

Will we remained stunned?  Will we protest even in the face of violence?  Or, will we succumb, as many did in the past, to our shame and failure to provide for our family while those in power dither?

These are the questions to ask now because the future, while as yet unwritten, could very well force us all to make our own decisions, our own answers.  The facts, however, tell us that America is now going to have its Greatest Depression.

1 comment

Comments have been disabled.