Transcript: Thom Hartmann: The Big Picture: Mister President - FDR has critical advice for you. 11 July '11
The Republicans are selling lies. It shouldn't be surprising that the press is buying them - they usually do.
What should be more surprising is that the President of the United States is repeating them.
The first is that the CEOs of the biggest and most profitable companies in this country, who are sitting on over two trillion dollars in cash but refusing to spend it to hire workers, are doing so because they're lacking "confidence".
President Obama: They keep on going out there and saying, Mr. President, what are you doing about jobs? And when you ask them, well, what would you do? “We've got to get government spending under control and we've got to get our deficits under control.” So I say, okay, let's go. Where are they? I mean, this is what they claim would be the single biggest boost to business certainty and confidence. So what's the holdup?
You know, this whole idea that business leaders are not investing in hiring jobs because they're 'lacking confidence' is idiotic.
Any business that has customers will hire people to make the products the customers want to buy.
For the seven thousand years of Western Civilization, this has been true.
If there are buyers, somebody will step up to sell.
The ultimate proof is in the illegal markets of drugs and prostitution.
But it's the same in legal markets - so long as there are buyers, companies will hire workers to get the product to market.
So it's not "confidence" that's lacking in this economy - it's customers.
People aren't buying, because they've been robbed blind by the banksters and they're underwater on their mortgages, they're strung out on credit card debt, and - most importantly - between 20 and 30 million of us don't have a job or have a job that pays so poorly that they're broke.
Back in 1932, tow years into the Great Depression, Republican President Herbert Hoover tried to sell Americans the same bill of goods as today's Republicans, when he was running for re-election against FDR - here's how he described the importance of "confidence".
I am confident that if the Congress could find in these suggestions which come from members of both parties a ground for adjustment of legislation on those dominant particulars and could bring it into immediate action it would yield not only relief to us all and distressed people but would reestablish that confidence which we so sorely need.
Right. When FDR was inaugurated, he addressed Herbert Hoover's confidence fairy, as Paul Krugman calls it, saying flat out that the problem wasn't rich people's "confidence", but working people needing a good job and some help with their mortgage...
This Nation is asking for action, and action now. Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously. It can be accomplished in part by direct recruiting by the Government itself, treating the task as we would treat the emergency of a war, but at the same time, through this employment, accomplishing greatly needed projects to stimulate and reorganize the use of our great natural resources...
It can be helped by preventing realistically the tragedy of the growing loss through foreclosure of our small homes and our farms.
That was, by the way, his first day in office.
This morning at HIS press conference, President Obama also referenced the second big Republican lie - that we're broke, that there's not enough money in America to put people back to work...
I've been hearing from my Republican friends for quite some time that it is a moral imperative for us to tackle our debt and our deficits in a serious way. I've been hearing from them that this is one of the things that's creating uncertainty and holding back investment on the part of the business community.
It's frankly so sad to see a Democratic President repeating Republican frames that are just lies.
During the Great Depression, Hoover and the other Republicans tried to say the same thing - that government couldn't help us out of the Depression because the country didn't have the cash.
When FDR was inaugurated, he called them out on it...
Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply. Primarily this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.
FDR then went on to point out who was to blame - really to blame - for the Great Depression...
Yes, the money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths.
Meanwhile, today the Huffington Post is reporting that the Obama administration is about to cut a deal with Wall Street banksters where they pay $30 billion in fines, nobody goes to jail.
Nobody mentioned that in today's press conference.
But here's FDR's final recommendation - from the day he took office as President in 1932...
And finally, in our progress towards the resumption of work we require two safeguards against a return of the evils of the old order; there must be a strict supervision of all banking and credits and investments; there must be an end to speculation with other people's money.
So, Mister President, President Obama, please look at American History.
The good-cop/bad-cop routine that Boehner and Cantor are playing on you is as old as time, and you should stop buying it.
There is no Republican Santa Claus, just like there's no confidence fairy and the American People will only rally behind you if you ask them to.
It worked for FDR, and it can work for you, too, if you'll try it.
That's The Big Picture.