One of the most useful of all the tropes of statism is that the Great Depression was caused by the free market and exacerbated by President Hoover’s refusal to take the sort of bold interventionist measures that they are certain the government must take. That notion has been refuted over and over, but it keeps coming back. Recently Rachel Maddow made that claim on MSNBC and it prompted Steve Horwitz, professor of economics at St. Lawrence University, to issue an open challenge to debate it.
My guess is that Maddow never even acknowledged the challenge. Imagine how damaging it would be to the statist cause if lots of Americans came to understand that Obama has been following in Hoover’s footsteps, making matters worse with exactly the same sort of “Washington knows how to fix this” approach Hoover tried.