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March 19th, 2009
10:01 AM ET

FDR's conservative 100 days

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/02/20/Newdeal.debate/art.NewDealfotos.jpg]
George Bittlingmayer and Thomas W. Hazlett
The Wall Street Journal

The Obama administration's opening policy sprint - massive deficits and bailouts, with sweeping health-care and education reform, plus cap and trade to come - has been likened by the president himself to Franklin D. Roosevelt's famous first 100 days.

But FDR did not launch his New Deal with a program that roiled financial markets. On the contrary, his first step was to stem the banking panic with a national bank holiday (many states had already imposed their own). He closed troubled institutions, injected capital into the healthy ones, and reassured Americans that their deposits would be safe.

His approach met with quick success. The New York Stock Exchange, closed during the bank holiday, opened up 15% on March 15. By July 3, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 93% above its close on March 3, the day before Inauguration Day in 1933. FDR's fast start, embraced by Wall Street, provided him with early, and crucial, political capital when his agenda later veered left.

Read more...


Filed under: Economy • First 100 Days • President Barack Obama
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. xtina, chicago IL

    DO people actually read the entire linked article in blog posts?

    FDR closed troubled institutions and injected capital into healthy ones. Obama is NOT doing that; Obama is wrong again.

    the WSJ is in favor of closing troubled institutions and supporting well-run healthy banks . Obama doesn't get that because he never ran a business- never ran anything that was successful.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  2. Arachnae

    Oh great – let's hear what the Wall Street Journal has to prescribe for the current situation. More money for banks, maybe??? I mean, they've been so dead-on about the crisis so far...

    March 19, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  3. Michael "C" Lorton, VA

    The Obama administration’s opening policy sprint — massive deficits and bailouts, with sweeping health-care and education reform, plus cap and trade to come — has been likened by the president himself to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous first 100 days--times are changing--we can visit the past--but we must create the future.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:06 pm |