Wednesday, April 8, 2009

So Mr. President, What Did You Do During Your Term In Office? (3)

Topic: Hoover Administration Year 1930

Most government and business leaders still insisted that the economic conditions were basically sound. The first four months of the year there was a strong stock market recovery and the Dow-Jones industrial average rose from a low of 198 to 294 during the period. Unemployment, which stood at about 1,500,000 in October 1929, rose to 4,000,000 by spring. Industrial production of almost every type starts to drop as consumers save against an uncertain future. Wages hold steady for the first half of the year as President Hoover attempts to convince the business community that their decrease would aggravate the nation's problems. In May the stock market again declines sharply and the trend for the rest of the year is downward. A terrible drought during the summer months in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys causes much suffering in the area and worsens the already bad farm situation. Increasing bank failures during the latter half of the year culminate in December when the Bank of the United States fails. The Hawley-Smoot Tariff, highest in the country's history, is passed in June and has the effect of increasing the price of imported goods and reducing foreign trade.

April 10, 1930
President Hoover nominates Judge John J. Parker of the Federal Fourth Judicial Circuit. No member of the Court at that time was from the southern states, and the regional distribution of justices had always been regarded as of some importance. Parker was regarded as a nominal Republican. He had been elected to the local bench by Democratic support and, together with his service on the Federal bench, he had served some twenty of his adult years as a judge with great distinction. The Attorney General had studied more than 125 of Parker's decisions and had found them of high legal competence. (Memoirs)

May 1, 1930
President Hoover submitted the Naval Limitation Treaty to the Senate on May 1, 1930.

May 13, 1930
President Hoover signed the first of a series of acts which was drafted for the committees of Congress covering the Federal prison reforms.

June 17, 1930
Ignoring the objections of economists, President Hoover signs the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act, which raises import duties on hundreds of goods to record levels. Hoover contends that the tariff will aid the hard-pressed farmer.

July 29, 1930
Reform in the bankruptcy laws was equally urgent. It was not alone a problem in fraud and crime; it had the widest economic importance. The Constitution itself recognized its national importance by making supervision of bankruptcy a Federal function. On July 29, 1930, President Hoover directed the Departments of Justice and Commerce to make a joint investigation of the whole subject. The social desirability was to keep every honest, producing unit operating whether individual or corporate. The reforms provided for 1)elimination of fraud in bankruptcy practice; (2) conciliation and adjustment of debt with the aid of the courts (3) protection during the period of negotiation (4) creation of a system of conciliators under the courts for farmers, home owners and small debtors (5) provisio n against speculators buying up debt in order to seize property, usually to speculators. (Memoirs)

By October President Hoover recognizes publicly that there are 4,500,000 unemployed, but he is not willing to concede that the Government should provide direct assistance to the needy, as Senator Robert M. La Follette, Jr., of Wisconsin and Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt of New York, among others, suggest.

December 2, 1930
Calling it "the greatest program of waterway, harbor, flood control, public building, highway, and airway improvement," President Hoover asks Congress to approve over $100,000,000 to fight unemployment and stimulate the economy.

December 20, 1930
Congress sends the President a bill authorizing expenditure of $116,000,000 on projects to relieve unemployment. The number of unemployed is estimated at 7,000,000.

To be continued: Hoover Administration Year 1931 #1

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)

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