The Untold Story of the Hoot-Smalley Act

Say what you will about Minnesota’s elected officials, they certainly keep things interesting. Following in that grand tradition, Republican Rep. Michelle Bachmann took to the House floor this week to denounce New Deal-style government interventions, and ended up blaming President Franklin Roosevelt for something she called the Hoot-Smalley Act. Watch it and weep.  

[Via Robert KC Johnson]

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  • MNG||

    HOOT-SMALLEY, it's good for what ails you!

  • ||

    "I just moved here from Minnesota and they think I'm slow, eh."

  • ||

    God Damned Mother Fucker Son Of A Bitch!
    I've been waiting half my life to hear a member of congress speaking on the floor of the House say ALMOST exactly that.

    Gee-Zuss H Kryste

    Somebody buy me a drink

  • hmm||

    Time to fire the aids and get new ones. Jesus that's a mistake that shouldn't be made. Both in name and attribution of the Act. It's like stupid squared.

  • ||

    Oh that is just sad. The worst part is that she is absolutely spot-on about her comparison with the recession of 1919 and the one of 1929. Except now the only retort you'll hear to that valid argument is "WHAT? HOOT-SMALLEY? LOL"

  • Seitz||

    Her staffers have to be in on the joke at this point. This has got to be a total set-up.

  • Seitz||

    The worst part is that she is absolutely spot-on about her comparison with the recession of 1919 and the one of 1929.

    She also screwed up who was responsible, unless she lives in some parallel universe where FDR was president in 1929.

  • Veep||

    I remember FDR going on television as president in 1929, so I must live in that same parallel universe, fella.

  • Seitz||

    I remember FDR going on television as president in 1929, so I must live in that same parallel universe, fella.Well, the one with TV actually sounds better.

  • MNG||

    Hoot-Smalley ate the dingo that ate the baby!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Hoot-Smalley is one of those aliases Fletch came up with when put on the spot. I think it's Scotch/Romanian.

  • ||

    But she passes the purity test, unlike Sen. Collins.

  • ||

    Wait until Senator Franken arrives in DC. "Smalley" WILL BE a Hoot, and the Smalley?Hoot! Act will also draw much criticism. Bet on it.

  • wayne||

    Let's face it, FDR was a douchebag, so he should share the blame for Smoot Halley.

  • justinslot||

    Can we bring back Stass-Gleagall already?

  • Seward||

    Well, the Roosevelt administration did not view international trade as a useful means by which to end the Depression. Furthermore, we did not see an easing of the tariffs associated with Smoot-Hawley until Bretton Woods in 1944.

  • ||

    Yeah, thank goodness Republican presidents never endorse tariffs...

  • ||

    Oh, come on! Ever since Bill Clinton was President the media has pursued the idea that people who did not speak well in public were stupid! It doesn't matter if you say absolutely nothing like Obama, because he doesn't mess up too many words.

    Attempting to equate public speaking ability with intelligence is like saying that Barak Obama is an intelligent deep thinker and that Einstien was a complete moron.

    Even Nancy Pelosi, who looks like someone from "Are you smarter than a 5th grader" accidentally finding themselves on the Jeopardy Tournament of Champions, simply is not as stupid as she appears.

    What next, Keith Olbermann is a genius because he can read from a teleprompter?!

    Oh, FDR WAS a douchebag.

  • anon||

    wow - I had to look it up before I realized out she mixed up the syllables. BFD. Seems like a simple mistake

    Oh - and she got the chronology and the blame wrong too... So she's an idiot, yes. But we knew that already.

    I guess that proves Obama's economic policies really aren't fascist...

  • Paul||

    Wow... it's like watching Al Gore talk about Global Warming(tm).

  • ||

    Wow, I better not become a congressman... I get the beginning of words mixed up. I had attributed it to my super fast brain overloading my tongue.

  • Alberta Libertarian||

    Whatever happened to Barry Goldwater?

    People, we must never forget this great speech given by the same Congresswoman:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNZEcdXHvsU

    Who are people that are "anti-American?"

    Michelle Bachmann: "People that are anti-American.

  • impeckish||

    "Sew her ladyship to her sheet." Rev. William Spooner.

    Bichele Machmann has got to be a plant by either the left or the Bilderburgers. Just a wickedly brilliant idea: have someone incredibly stupid represent the ideas of the opposition.

    Oth, Obama is actually not very articulate when he doesn't have a speech prepared.

  • dhex||

    "Oh, come on! Ever since Bill Clinton was President the media has pursued the idea that people who did not speak well in public were stupid!"

    there's also the larger issue of "obviously does not know what they're talking about" thing here, which clearly applies.

    sort of kinda being almost in the ballpark a bit about an idea isn't necessarily a sign of stupidity, but rather sheer laziness coupled with what is probably unprincipled power-hungry stupidity.

  • impeckish||

    We'll elect a Buddhist president before we elect a Spoonerist. Or the opposite....

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "She also screwed up who was responsible, unless she lives in some parallel universe where FDR was president in 1929."

    Yeah she got the wrong Prez.

    On the other hand, FDR didn't make any moves to try and get it repealed and if the exact same legislation hadn't come around until he took office, there's no doubt he would have signed it as well.

  • ||

    It's possible that she didn't mix up her consonants but rather relied on bad information.

  • Grandpa Withers||

    Et tu, Reason?

    Fish in a barrel.

  • Grandpa Withers||

    "Wow, I better not become a congressman... I get the beginning of words mixed up. I had attributed it to my super fast brain overloading my tongue."

    I get that too.

  • ||

    I knew it was wrong right away, but seeing "Hoot-Smalley" made it impossible for me to remember the real name for a good two minutes.

  • ||

    Marshall Gill: "Attempting to equate public speaking ability with intelligence is like saying that Barak Obama is an intelligent deep thinker and that Einstien was a complete moron."

    Einstein was a socialist you know...

  • alan||

    Grandpa Withers | April 29, 2009, 11:50pm | #
    Et tu, Reason?

    Fish in a barrel.


    Hey, sometimes you gotta eat.

  • ||

    About Obama's ability to make decent speeches and put two or more words together into coherent sentences, I must say that it is really nice to finally have someone in the Oval who seems fluent in English. On the other hand, I primarily hear from him via the radio or the sound on TV when I am running around between rooms at home or at work. I swear to you: he sounds like a third "Brothers Brother" from "In Living Color," or perhaps the stereotypical befuddled middle-class white American that the late Richard Pryor (and more recently, the still-kicking Dave Chappelle) used to lampoon.

    Back in the 1970s, I used to listen to Richard Pryor albums and laugh at vocal stylings similar to those of our current President. In the 1990s, I watched In Living Color and continued laughing. In the early 2000s, Dave Chappelle grabbed the baton of the uptight black/white suburbanite and carried it forward, to my continued amusement. Now, when I hear basically the same voice on the radio, I'm sorry, but I still laugh. It's not that our President sounds white, so much as he sounds parody-white. Frankly, it's weird, and the weird effect went into overdrive as I listened to today's 100-days press conference via radio. Unreal. Surreal.

  • *||

    Even Nancy Pelosi, who looks like someone from "Are you smarter than a 5th grader" accidentally finding themselves on the Jeopardy Tournament of Champions, simply is not as stupid as she appears.

    Yes, she is.

  • ||

    Are we sure she wasn't just making a Homestar Runner reference?

    http://hrwiki.org/index.php/Ballad_of_the_Sneak#Real-World_References

  • guy||

    my ex-girlfriend: "[barack] sounds like a guy who seems interested in you, but never calls. 'yeah, sure, that sounds like a great idea, i'll call you soon!'"

  • adina ||

    Who cares? So she mixed-up the names of the two politicians who sponsored the law. Maybe she has dyslexia. There are plenty of reasons to dislike Bachmann's political positions, but this seems petty.

  • ||

    I knew it was wrong right away, but seeing "Hoot-Smalley" made it impossible for me to remember the real name for a good two minutes.

    Likewise. It doesn't help that one dude's name is real 'old-school', and the other guy (as another poster recently pointed out) is evocative of Minnesota Vikings sex boat scandals.

  • Grandmaster Libertarian||

    Now when I say HOOT, you say SMALLEY!
    I said, when I say HOOT, you say SMALLEY!
    Here we go,
    HOOT!

  • ||

    Yeah, but Minnesota schools are the best!! She's the next Sarah !!

  • ||

    Not that kind of 'old-school', Grandmaster.

  • ed||

    I said, when I say HOOT, you say SMALLEY!
    Here we go,
    HOOT!


    Who's there?

  • ||

    HOOT-SMALLEY, apply directly to the forehead!
    HOOT-SMALLEY, apply directly to the forehead!
    HOOT-SMALLEY, apply directly to the forehead!

  • MNG||

    Hoot-Smalley is the historical counterpart to Fannie and Freddie or the CRA for libertarians. You see, often empirical reality seems to clash with the idea that less government=more prosperity and more government=less prosperity, so during a time of relative deregulation we get this current mess, and during a time, the 1920's when government interevention was far, far less extensive than it was in, say, the 1940's, 50's, 60's etc., we had the worst economic collapse in our history.

    But not to worry. Since there is always some government program in existence at any given time that does not fit with Libertopia (libertarians say all the time "we've never had a "really" free market," etc), you just look until you find such a program, and blame everything on it. Most religions do this ;)

  • MNG||

    If you constructed a scatterplot with some measure of government size on one axis (say number of statutes, size of the federal register, number of government agencies, government expenditures, etc) and measures of economic well being on another, for the entire history of the US, you certainly wouldn't see the 1.000 inverse correlation that many libertarians seem to suggest...

  • ed||

    Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, MNG?

  • Rabbit Scribe||

    Hoot-Smalley is the hole in the doughnut.

    Hoot-Smalley is the whole doughnut.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    He's just trolling, that's all.

    As always, he's physically incapable of ever proving anything.

  • Seward||

    MNG,

    Hoot-Smalley is the historical counterpart to Fannie and Freddie or the CRA for libertarians. You see, often empirical reality seems to clash with the idea that less government=more prosperity and more government=less prosperity, so during a time of relative deregulation we get this current mess, and during a time, the 1920's when government interevention was far, far less extensive than it was in, say, the 1940's, 50's, 60's etc., we had the worst economic collapse in our history.

    Both the 1930s and the 1970s were periods when all the Keynesian and/or government interventionist tools were brought to bear on the economy and they were periods of deep economic turmoil (indeed, the experience of wage and price controls and other government actions in the 1970s were part of the reason that the Keynesian consensus collapsed). Indeed, during the 1930s we had a further economic downturn (1937-1938). Following WWII it was predicted that without massive government stimulus that we would be heading towards another Depression; that didn't happen. I would also challenge the notion that the 1940s (the WWII portion) were a period of prosperity; they weren't for most people.

    If you constructed a scatterplot with some measure of government size on one axis (say number of statutes, size of the federal register, number of government agencies, government expenditures, etc) and measures of economic well being on another, for the entire history of the US, you certainly wouldn't see the 1.000 inverse correlation that many libertarians seem to suggest...

    Government interventionists can do a lot before they really screw things up. Furthermore, because economic actors are in general more lithe than any level of government they can squeeze out of any constraints put on them by the government. The government is perpetually behind what is happening in the real world; which is why IBM underwent a multi-decade anti-trust ordeal and by the time it ended (at great expense to everyone) the world had so radically changed under everyone's feet that people were left scratching their heads wondering why IBM had to undergo that litigation in the first place. The government most of the time is trying to catch water.

  • Anthony||

    Herbet Hoover got on to the t.v. to explain Smoot Hawley to the people.

  • ||

    A simple Wikipedia search would have spared Rep. Bachmann a lot of possible embarrassment (well maybe). Since most of our elected officials don't even bother to read the bills they vote for (TARP, Stimulus, etc.), this episode does not surprise me at all.

    For the record, Smoot-Hawley was proposed by two Republican congressmen and signed into law by Republican President Hebert Hoover in 1930.

    Facts are a stubborn thing.

  • Fluffy||

    and during a time, the 1920's when government interevention was far, far less extensive than it was in, say, the 1940's, 50's, 60's

    Not really. The period from 1910-1929 was a period of massive intervention in economic affairs, specifically in banking and international finance, across the entire developed world.

    In fact, the parallels to our own time are a little striking - "innovative" financial structures and relationships were brought to bear to exceed historical limits on credit creation [both for "normal" policy reasons and in order to provide a mechanism to service international war debt and German reparations obligations], resulting in multiple asset price bubbles, that destroyed the banking system when they collapsed.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    And not all interventions are created equal. If you look back at the total history of state intervention in economics, it seems like the most destructive things a state can do are probably currency debasement, price fixing, the widespread granting of monopolies, and command development that overtaxes a local resource. [Leaving aside war and deliberate destruction, of course.] More subtle and marginal interventions can have their damaging effects masked by broader economic and demographic trends, and by the fact that it can be hard to measure opportunity costs objectively.

  • ||

    For the record, Smoot-Hawley was proposed by two Republican congressmen and signed into law by Republican President Hebert Hoover in 1930.

    Which would be a devastating blow if we were Republicans.

    I'd suggest a drinking game for dillweeds who drop by the boards to call us Republicans, but as they are as legion as they are stupid, we'd all die in about two days.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Facts are a stubborn thing."

    Tell that the liberal Democrat spinners of the "FDR the savior" fairy tale who claim Hoover was a "free marketer" to concoct a non-existent constrast with their beloved FDR.

  • tekende||

    Which would be a devastating blow if we were Republicans.

    Eh, not really, considering the Republican party back then didn't much resemble the Republican party now (in professed ideology or real action).

  • ||

    the Roosevelt administration did not view international trade as a useful means by which to end the Depression.

    What about Lend-Lease?

  • Seward||

    Kevin,

    A number of commentators here have already stated (before you did) that the Rep. was in fact wrong. In other words, you are not adding anything.

    MNG,

    If you constructed a scatterplot with some measure of government size on one axis (say number of statutes, size of the federal register, number of government agencies, government expenditures, etc) and measures of economic well being on another, for the entire history of the US, you certainly wouldn't see the 1.000 inverse correlation that many libertarians seem to suggest...

    BTW, G is not simply G, as public choice theory has nicely illustrated.

    P Brooks,

    Lend-Lease came about what, eight years after Roosevelt took office? It also is not a very promising model for international trade.

  • MNG||

    "The period from 1910-1929 was a period of massive intervention in economic affairs, specifically in banking and international finance, across the entire developed world."

    More than the great socialist take-over of the New Deal we keep hearing about from libertarians over and over? Bah humbug, fluffy.

    "he's physically incapable of ever proving anything."

    Gilbert, your stupidity continues to amaze me. How would I, or anyone for that matter PHYSICALLY prove historical socio-economic causation? Jesus you don't have a clue...

    Seward
    I see your points @ 9:19, but c'mon, for libertarian rhetoric to have much meaning then we would expect to see that correlation. Either expansion of the government leads to a hit in prosperity or it does not. Regardless of the reasons why it may not (private actors staying one step ahead for example), we should see it or else we should not worry much when you guys decry the intervention.

    "G is not simply G, as public choice theory has nicely illustrated"

    I don't know what you mean by this. Can you tell me?

  • ||

    Mr. Root,

    There are much bigger idiots in DC than this woman who transposed pronunciations. Bachmann is way down on the list.

    chsw

  • ||

    Unless I missed it, no one caught her blunder regarding the Good Policy of the early 1920's.

    It was Warren G Harding, NOT Calvin Coolidge, who presided over the post World War I recession and recovery.

    I know he died in office, but it was his "Return to Normalcy" policies that worked.

    I like Harding because he played a lot of poker in the White House, had a mistress, and confessed he couldn't understand the Progressives complicated tax policies.

  • ||

    Oh, and yeah,Harding was the LAST PRESIDENT to actually cut the federal government, not just "slow its growth." And he cut the military as well, and became with Coolidge and Hoover the libertarian minded foreign policy "isolationists" that Roosevelt had to undermine to get us into WWII.

  • ||

    Attempting to equate public speaking ability with intelligence is like saying that Barak Obama is an intelligent deep thinker and that Einstien was a complete moron.

    Einstein was very good at expressing complex ideas simply and efficiently. Have you ever read one of his books or heard anything he said, or are you just making stuff uo?

  • ||

    I think her mistake is obviously a Freudian slip - she's aiming dismissive noises (hoot) at the new Senator from her state (Franken a.k.a Stuart Smalley)hence Hoot-Smalley.

  • Seward||

    MNG,

    Either expansion of the government leads to a hit in prosperity or it does not.

    I think it is generally agreed that up to a point expansion does not create enough deadweight to pauperize a population; but there are also PPF issues to consider as well as Bastiat's concern about the closing off of future alternatives to consider. In the case of the latter, when government makes a decision it often squelches or inhibits future innovation. This is why goal based regulation is inherently less problematic than technology based regulation.

    ...we should see it or else we should not worry much when you guys decry the intervention.

    I addressed this issue above. Needless to say, just because an economy is still growing despite what government is doing doesn't say much about how much potential growth has been lost, or rather, delayed. It is not simply where you are, but where you could be.

    G = government

    It is commonly used as a shorthand for government in equations used by economists. Think of the equation F=MA, where M = Mass. And my point is that G is not simply G; G can be good, bad, middling, fair, etc. It is the role of public choice theory - as opposed to the romanticized view of politics so often used by the political class - to discuss how G exists in reality.

  • boqueronman||

    She must be Joe Biden's long lost sister.

  • ||

    Waitaminute... where's Tony? I figured he'd be all over this. Does he only post on the threads where he's sure to be torn to pieces? Dude loves pain.

    In any case, Bachmann is worthless. Incidentally, so is Minnesota.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Gilbert, your stupidity continues to amaze me. How would I, or anyone for that matter PHYSICALLY prove historical socio-economic causation? Jesus you don't have a clue..."

    I really don't care what you think, MNG.

    You are physically incapable of being wiser than me on literally any subject on this earth.

    It's your own damn fault - you chose be become a liberal. No one made you do it.

    Oh and you are also physically incapable of being anything other than a limp-wristed, pantywaist, wimpy punk!

  • ||

    Libertreee: You're right about Coolidge & Harding. I was wondering if anyone else caught that. Harding, against the advice of Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover, kept "hands-off" the 1921 post-war recession, which quuickly ended. Unfortunately, neither Harding nor Coolidge did anything about the Federal Reserve, which was growing its powers and manipulating credit.

  • ||

    I always thought the "GOP = Stupid Party" meme was exaggerated but this is empirical confirmation. Pity is, Bachmann is occasionally on target.

  • Invisible Finger||

    I think she's right. Small hooters ARE a problem.

  • ||

    If you think Bachmann is stupid, you should have heard what Barney Frank said!

  • DuggleBogey||

    She's not an idiot.

    She's a fucking liar.

  • ||

    What an idiot and many others on this list appear to be idiots as well. FDR fought against the Smoot Hawley Act. It was Republican Herbert Hoover who signed the bill into law and supported it. It was Hoover and the Republicans at the time that worsen the depression.

    Anyone with the web can look this up. FDR was against the act, campaigned against it, and later repealed the law.

  • ||

    So Hoot-Smalley was actually fought by Hoobert Heever...

  • Billy Beck||

    "Fish in a barrel."

    More bullets. Shoot 'em up.

  • Kyle Bennett||

    Smoot Hawley was almost certainly the breeze that blew down the house of cards that the stock markets had become. But it was not the cause, merely the catalyst. The cause was then, as now, in major part the very "Roaring Twenties" that this short-bus congrescritter cites as such a major success. And then, as now, that roar was fueled by false wealth created out of thin air by the then still sparkly new Federal Reserve.

    The importance of the timing was not its signing in 1930, but its clearance of major political hurdles in the senate in the last week of October the preceeding year.

    Tied into it all was the draconian reparations imposed on Europe after WWI, and how Smoot - by design - quashed the very mechanism by which such payments are made.

  • boyo||

    Libertarians!? Do you subscribe to Lyndon Larouche too?

  • strat||

    Sheesh. Not again. Libertarians are not librarians, Larouchites, (or Republicans) and only incidentally libertines. I admit the latter correlation is, however, admittedly high.

    Then again who wants to have a party if it's not any fun?

  • HelloTestHelloTest||

    Hmmm, this is somewhat reminiscent of when Carolyn McCarthy didn't know what a "barrel shroud" was in her OWN legislation that she was hoping to pass. Watch it and cry your tears of joy... lol...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ospNRk2uM3U

  • ||

    yipes ....... there must be something in the water up there in minnesota

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