As Brian Doherty discussed earlier this week, The Atlantic’s Joshua Green just published a long profile of Rep. Ron Paul entitled “The Tea Party’s Brain.” Cato Institute Executive Vice President David Boaz also took a close look at the piece and caught Green making a pretty embarrassing factual error about President Herbert Hoover’s response to the Great Depression. First, here’s the offending passage from Green:
Herbert Hoover’s Treasury secretary, Andrew Mellon, offered similar counsel, famously urging Hoover to “liquidate” and “purge the rottenness out of the system.” But this failed to stop the catastrophe.
Now watch as Boaz walks Green through some American history 101:
Here’s a general rule: Absolutely nothing that a treasury secretary says to a president will affect the real economy if the president ignores his advice and does something else.
Hoover didn’t cut federal spending, he doubled it. He established the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. He propped up wages and prices. Indeed, he launched the New Deal. And Green is right: In the face of these policies, Mellon’s memos to Hoover failed to stop the catastrophe.