Thursday, April 9, 2009

So Mr. President, What Did You Do During Your Term In Office? (4)

Topic: The Hoover Administration Year 1931 #1

The nation's economic health, poor in 1930, continues to deteriorate. At least 9,000,000 are unemployed before the year is out. In September U.S. Steel announces that is cutting wages for over 200,000 employes, and other large companies follow. There are 2,294 bank failures during the year, twice that of 1930. The movement of people from farm to city is reversed for the first time; in some industrial cities one out of three workers is unemployed. As the number of those without jobs grows, private charity is unable to cope with the situation: so the states step in. During the summer, New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt sets up the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration with $20,000,000 to be distributed through local governments, and other states quickly adopt similar plans. On the national level President Hoover is reluctant to take such a drastic step as direct Federal aid, but in August he appoints the President's Organization on Unemployment Relief (POUR), whose main activity is to assist private charity to raise money. Later in the year Hoover asks Congress to establish the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) with a $500,000,000 fund to provide emergency loans to banks and large industries in financial trouble. The move, however, is of no apparent help, either to the unemployed or to the economy.

January 15, 1931
President Hoover signs a bill easing the penalties of those caught violating the Prohibition law. Cases involving less than a gallon of liquor are no longer a felony.

February 19-26, 1931
Congress passes the Veterans Compensation Act, which permits veterans to borrow up to half the amount of their 1924 bonus certificates at a maximum interest rate of 4 1/2 percent. A week later President Hoover vetoes the Bill, claiming that it would benefit many veterans who are not in need and would put a heavy burden on the Government's budget. Congress passes the measure over the President's veto.

February 23, 1931
Congress passes a bill to provide funds for government operation of the Muscle Shoals power and fertilizer plants on the Tennessee River, originally built during the Great War (World War I). President Hoover refuses to sign the bill, stating in his veto message that he is "...firmly opposed to the Government entering into any business the main purpose of which is competition with our citizens."

May 14, 1931
The major national forests already had been established by previous administrations. The total acreage of the national forests was increased over 2,250,000 acres. In order further to conserve this important resource, President Hoover directed on May 14, 1931, that all leasing of the Federal forests for new lumbering operations should cease for a while.

June 20, 1931
President Hoover, in an effort to bolster the international economic situation, proposes a one-year moratorium on payments of war debts and war reparations.

August 7, 1931
In time the state legislatures of California, Wyoming, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Kansas established state conservation controls. Each of them prorated and restrained production and volume of each oil well in new fields so as to conserve gas pressure. Texas would not undertake these measures and great wastes were going on. On August 7, 1931, The President issued a statement to the effect that all the great producing states except Texas had acted, saying: "Except for the failure of the Texas authorities and legislature so far to cooperate by controlling their big new oil pool in east Texas, the whole oil situation would have been corrected months ago. The waste in total production of this pool will be enormous due to unlimited release of the gas." (Memoirs)

To be continued: The Hoover Administration Year 1931 #2

Sources For Information: The American Presidents by David C. Whitney; Reader's Digest Association, Inc. (1996), The New York Public Library American History Desk Reference; A Stonesong Press Book (1997) The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover, Macmillan Company (1952); The Bicentennial Almanac Edited by Calvin D. Linton, Ph.D. Publishers, Thomas Nelson Inc. (1975) The Presidents of the United States Vol 2, A.S. Barnes & Co. (1973)

To contact:

No comments: