I was watching an excellent documentary today on the Dust Bowl in the 30's and was struck by the comparison between President Hoover and President Roosevelt... and thought of the current Republican mindset vs. President Obama. On close examination it was easy to make some comparisons & form some conclusions. President Hoover even when families were choking to death and living on virtually nothing year after year from the Dust Bowl in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico & Colorado he refused to help stating... The free market is the solution... as people men woman & children with virtually no money died of what was called dust pneumonia and suffered doing it with very little food and less water... no government help came under the Republican administration. It's also interesting to note that the root cause of the Dust Bowl in the first place was GREED. The government actually encouraged people to till up as much land as possible to try and overtake Russia as the top exporter of wheat. Of course we all know then the banks fell. Sounds a lot like the GREED our housing & banking system went into without proper regulation and a lot like the current Republican position that you don't save anybody... the free market must have total reign over everyone's lives. Here's some things that were said at the time. First about Herbert Hoover... A Hooverville in Central Park, New York. In the background are luxury blocks of flats. The 1932nd psalm went: 'Hoover is my shepherd, I am in want, He maketh me to lie down on park benches, He leadeth me by still factories, He restoreth my doubt in the Republican Party.' Now let's look at the comparison to a President that actually did something in an economic emergency... FDR after his election... Timeline of The Dust Bowl 1931 Severe drought hits the midwestern and southern plains. As the crops die, the 'black blizzards" begin. Dust from the over-plowed and over-grazed land begins to blow. 1932 The number of dust storms is increasing. Fourteen are reported this year; next year there will be 38. 1933 March: When Franklin Roosevelt takes office, the country is in desperate straits. He took quick steps to declare a four-day bank holiday, during which time Congress came up with the Emergency Banking Act of 1933, which stabilized the banking industry and restored people's faith in the banking system by putting the federal government behind it. May: The Emergency Farm Mortgage Act allots $200 million for refinancing mortgages to help farmers facing foreclosure. The Farm Credit Act of 1933 established a local bank and set up local credit associations. September: Over 6 million young pigs are slaughtered to stabilize prices With most of the meat going to waste, public outcry led to the creation, in October, of the Federal Surplus Relief Corporation. The FSRC diverted agricultural commodities to relief organizations. Apples, beans, canned beef, flour and pork products were distributed through local relief channels. Cotton goods were eventually included to clothe the needy as well. 1934 May: Great dust storms spread from the Dust Bowl area. The drought is the worst ever in U.S. history, covering more than 75 percent of the country and affecting 27 states severely. June: The Frazier-Lemke Farm Bankruptcy Act is approved. This act restricted the ability of banks to dispossess farmers in times of distress. Originally effective until 1938, the act was renewed four times until 1947, when it expired. Roosevelt signs the Taylor Grazing Act, which allows him to take up to 140 million acres of federally-owned land out of the public domain and establish grazing districts that will be carefully monitored. One of many New Deal efforts to reverse the damage done to the land by overuse, the program was able to arrest the deterioration, but couldn't undo the historical damage. December: The "Yearbook of Agriculture" for 1934 announces, "Approximately 35 million acres of formerly cultivated land have essentially been destroyed for crop production. . . . 100 million acres now in crops have lost all or most of the topsoil; 125 million acres of land now in crops are rapidly losing topsoil. . . " 1935 January 15: The federal government forms a Drought Relief Service to coordinate relief activities. The DRS bought cattle in counties that were designated emergency areas, for $14 to $20 a head. Those unfit for human consumption - more than 50 percent at the beginning of the program - were destroyed. The remaining cattle were given to the Federal Surplus Relief Corporation to be used in food distribution to families nationwide. Although it was difficult for farmers to give up their herds, the cattle slaughter program helped many of them avoid bankruptcy. "The government cattle buying program was a God-send to many farmers, as they could not afford to keep their cattle, and the government paid a better price than they could obtain in local markets." April 8: FDR approves the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act, which provides $525 million for drought relief, and authorizes creation of the Works Progress Administration, which would employ 8.5 million people. April 14: Black Sunday. The worst "black blizzard" of the Dust Bowl occurs, causing extensive damage. April 27: Congress declares soil erosion "a national menace" in an act establishing the Soil Conservation Service in the Department of Agriculture (formerly the Soil Erosion Service in the U.S. Department of Interior). Under the direction of Hugh H. Bennett, the SCS developed extensive conservation programs that retained topsoil and prevented irreparable damage to the land. Farming techniques such as strip cropping, terracing, crop rotation, contour plowing, and cover crops were advocated. Farmers were paid to practice soil-conserving farming techniques. 1936 May: The SCS publishes a soil conservation district law, which, if passed by the states, allows farmers to set up their own districts to enforce soil conservation practices for five-year periods. One of the few grassroots organizations set up by the New Deal still in operation, the soil conservation district program recognized that new farming methods needed to be accepted and enforced by the farmers on the land rather than bureaucrats in Washington. 1937 March: Roosevelt addresses the nation in his second inaugural address, stating, "I see one-third of the nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished . . . the test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." FDR's Shelterbelt Project begins. The project called for large-scale planting of trees across the Great Plains, stretching in a 100-mile wide zone from Canada to northern Texas, to protect the land from erosion. Native trees, such as red cedar and green ash, were planted along fence rows separating properties, and farmers were paid to plant and cultivate them. The project was estimated to cost 75 million dollars over a period of 12 years. When disputes arose over funding sources (the project was considered to be a long-term strategy, and therefore ineligible for emergency relief funds), FDR transferred the program to the WPA, where the project had some success. 1938 The extensive work re-plowing the land into furrows, planting trees in shelterbelts, and other conservation methods has resulted in a 65 percent reduction in the amount of soil blowing. However, the drought continued. 1939 In the fall, the rain comes, finally bringing an end to the drought. During the next few years the country is pulled out of the Depression and the plains once again become golden with wheat. Roosevelt converted retreat into advance through his New Deal programs, addressing poverty, unemployment, and the floundering economy. Through his reforms, Roosevelt created a new kind of presidency, more powerful and more intimate than that of his predecessors. Congress allowed him free reign, giving him executive power to put through his reforms without a quibble during the first 100 days of his presidency. Yet a man at the time observes, "My mother looks upon the president as someone so immediately concerned with her problems and difficulties that she would not be greatly surprised were he to come to her house some evening and stay for dinner." With the passage of programs like the Social Security Act, Roosevelt made sure that the federal government would be connected to the people for a long time to come. With his death in 1945, Americans mourned the passing of a President and a friend.