Listening to today's congressional hearings with Paulson and Bernanke I had to laugh a bit. One learned questioner couched his entire query about a bailout of "Detroit" in what he called Herbert Hoover's misbegotten desire for a "Return to Normalcy."
"Return to normalcy" comes from the successful 1920 campaign for President of Warren G. Harding. He was tapping into the public's desire to get away from the interventionist policies of the past 20 years, primarily under Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, and return to the attitudes of the McKinley era. "Return to Normalcy" had nothing to do with Herbert Hoover. It was about the voter's desire to stay out of Europe's multiple horrors-- like The Great War.
Hoover's transgressions against the world economy were many (and later dwarfed by those of FDR.) Chief among them were Hoover's support for the Smoot-Hawley protectionist tariff that crashed the markets. And then, with the economy faltering, higher taxes on wealth producers and job providers which turned the crash into a worldwide depression. A depression made worse year after year by FDR's interventions. A depression "cured" only by a worldwide war. Any of this sound familiar to the world of 2008?
Return to Normalcy? No wonder our DC leaders are leading us into another worldwide disaster. They don't even seem to know anything about the last one. Of course some think they do and believe fervently that FDR took America out of the Great Depression through federal policies. The exact opposite of what actually happened.
Meanwhile, in our fair state of South Carolina, we are blessed with a Governor who "gets it" completely. While the Granholm's and Ahnuld's rattle the tin cup for taxpayer money, our Governor says, "No. Thank you. No." Who bails-out the bail-outers? Indeed.