I know what many of you are thinking: "But FDR got us out of the Great Depression. FDR signed the Social Security act. FDR helped us win World War II. He was a good president!"
A good president? Yes and no.
Now while I would not be one to discount his leadership in World War II or many of the other positive things he accomplished, instead what I intend to look at is the result of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's economic policies, specifically the ones he implemented to get us out of the Great Depression in comparison to Obama's economic policies today.
Certainly there are parallels between the two presidents from the outset. Both began their administrations after an unpopular Republican president. Both faced dire economic circumstances in the early parts of their administrations (though for FDR, the problems were arguably much greater than they are today). And both of them sought to bring about major social change through their respective government programs.
One thing that is interesting to note about FDR's administration is that he actually implemented some of the policies of his predecessor, Republican president Herbert Hoover. How can that be? FDR bringing about the same things as the dreaded Herbert Hoover? It's true. Just ask FDR's advisor Rexford Guy Tugwell:
"We didn't admit it at the time, but practically the whole New Deal was extrapolated from programs that Hoover started."
This is unusual considering that FDR ran on a platform of cutting taxes, cutting government, and balancing the budget. In contrast to Hoover's Revenue Act in 1932, which doubled the income tax rate and was the largest tax increase in peacetime history. The ideas that FDR campaigned on were actually quite good. However, just like with Obama, campaign promises and actual policies were two different things to FDR. He raised the top income tax rate as high as 90 percent. In the same vein, just last year, Obama has proposed to increase the top income tax rate as well, although fortunately not to 90 percent like FDR did!
And just as FDR followed Hoover's bad policies, Steve Forbes points out that Obama is following Bush's bad economic policies, which ironically run counter to that of FDR's:
"What is most astounding about President Barack Obama's radical economic recovery program isn't its breadth, but its continuation of the most destructive policies of the Bush administration. These Bush policies were in themselves repudiations of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Mr. Obama's hero."