Feb 092009

I sat down to write a scathingly critical column regarding the Nixon administration. I was staunch in the thought that Nixon, not Bush, was the worst president in U.S. history.

I based this judgment on one lynchpin idea, Nixon’s role in causing permanent (so far) inflation.

Say what you will about Bush, but the negative effect of his administration will likely pass in the next decade (minus the debt accrued since January 2001 and any potential attack from either Iraq or Afghanistan’s new governments).

As I researched the facts to backup this theory, I ran into a colossal obstacle. The foundation of my argument was long-term negative effect. On that criterion Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s economic and domestic policies made him, not Nixon or Bush, the nation’s worst president — this excludes his magnificent handling of World War II.

Nixon terminated the Bretton Woods Agreement, which tied major world currencies to tangible commodities. The U.S., along with the rest of the world, then and now operates on a system of fiat currency, meaning currency with no inherent value. The effect was to remove any external control of the U.S. currency, exposing the value to the whims of the political leadership.

One presidential act opened the door for today’s sub-idiotic politicians and their treasury secretaries to flood the world with U.S. currency, devaluing the dollar and directly causing inflation.

Thank Nixon partially for the exorbitant prices you pay for everything from gasoline, 36 cents per gallon in 1971, to homes, $28,300 in ’71 compared to $283,400 last year.

Particularly shocking over the past weeks, and due largely to a mediocre understanding of historical fact, was the revelation of the actual failures of FDR’s New Deal, instead of what I was taught earlier in life to be successes.

Quick multiple-choice question: The acts of which political leader had the biggest impact on the U.S. job market and economy? a) FDR, b) Ronald Reagan, c) Harry S. Truman, or d) Hitler.

The answer of course, is d. FDR’s failed New Deal caused an increase in unemployment of a few percentage points, Reagan and Truman were your throwaway answers, but World War II provided near 100 percent employment for the nation virtually overnight.

Know this: FDR’s economic and domestic policies did not end the Great Depression. You’re now on your way to a fact-based understanding of history, not the revisionist version used by those on the left or right.

FDR’s New Deal inspired the epic turd called a stimulus likely to pass this week. Unlike those in power who advocate government intervention, I have the luxury of truth. The best move long term for the nation would have been to take a hands-off approach to business and the economy, instead Congress and the Supreme Court allowed FDR to violate the Constitution.

From whitehouse.gov I learned FDR took the nation off the gold standard and allowed deficits in the budget. He created Social Security, new controls over banks and utilities, and an enormous work relief act for the unemployed. FDR somehow legally established the right of the government to intercede and regulate the economy.

Not only did FDR take us off the gold standard, but he also outlawed private ownership of gold under the auspices of preventing gold hoarding during times of war (we weren’t at war yet), as well as nullified any private contract specifying gold as payment.

The acts undertaken by FDR not only failed to cure unemployment and the Great Depression, but actually triggered a recession within a depression.

The ultimate effect of FDR’s policies was laying the groundwork for 76 years of horrendous economic and domestic policy at the federal level, peaking in the height of stupidity when Nixon terminated Bretton Woods, and continuing today through the intentional borrowing of money we can never pay back.

As a Libertarian I have an easy time in seeing the flaws in every president since Lincoln’s necessary enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation started the downfall of state’s rights.

To call Bush the worst ever is simply inaccurate — he is the worst of this generation to date and worst orator with little doubt. Worst ever is a title befitting only those responsible for placing our collective fates in the hands of men unqualified to be labeled competent.

Seth Stern is a junior undeclared liberal arts major. His tirade appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. Send comments, criticism, denigration or scorn to letters@collegian.com.

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