The public image of Herbert Hoover is a paradox. For much of his career, he was considered a visionary, but today he is largely seen as a villain. He was scorned by the public during his time as the thirty-first president of the United States. In 1948, Life magazine named him one of the 10 worst U.S. presidents. Time magazine ran a similar list only last year and President Herbert Hoover was included, blamed for not doing enough to end the Great Depression. But is Hoover's stained reputation deserved?
A supporter of organized labor, Hoover first proposed plans for social security, old-age pensions and medical care in the 1920s. He passed tax hikes for the wealthy and established public works projects, such as the Hoover Dam, during the Depression. However, Hoover was cautious of overspending because he felt that habitual deficit spending would evolve into the norm, he said. "Once a program was inserted into government”, he believed, “it would be impossible to extract.” He also saw the addictive nature of welfare, and also how such policies could end up becoming a political plum for votes. The Life of Herbert Hoover, by Glen Jeansonne sweeps away the cobwebs of neglect from Hoover's presidency and his lively prose humanizes and evokes greater understanding of our thirty-first president. Join the conversations live or send your thoughts ahead of time to TheArtofRelating@hotmail.com
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