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Biden stumbles as does Obama with a liberal sense of history

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Inexperienced President supported by experienced VP.\\\\


That was the thought when Biden was selected to the post.


Today President Obama told us that his Treasury Secretary is overwelmed by the huge work load and the muli-problems. Defended him as the best SEC. Treasury since Alexander Hamilton.


If he says it - Do you believe it!


Geithner is Waaaaay over his head, and so is his boss.


<H1>A History Lesson for Biden</H1>


By WSJ Staff




Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute


Vice President Joe Biden needs a history lesson.

Not only that, he should be ashamed of his assertion that the economic mess facing President Barack Obama is worse than the one President Franklin D. Roosevelt had to deal with when entering office in the winter of 1933.

To be sure, we are in what will almost certainly be the worst recession since World War II.


No one should minimize the economic pain Americans are experiencing.


But Mr. Biden's claim is wrong by any objective measure, and it steps all over White House talking points that Americans should be confident that the end of the world as we know it is not at hand. Moreover, it reinforces a mentality of victimhood that is neither good morally nor economically for the American people.


Of course, the vice president was at a political dinner Monday night when he put his foot in his mouth. He was trying to rally the troops to pressure members of Congress to pass the Obama administration's economic proposals.


And, yes, the vice president, who spent almost four decades as a U.S. senator before becoming Mr. Obama's running mate, has a reputation for misspeaking now and then.


This time, he proclaimed that Mr. Obama "inherited the most difficult first 100 days of any president, I would argue, including Franklin Roosevelt." Mr. Biden went on to explain that "It was clear the problem that Roosevelt inherited. This is a more complicated economic calculus. We've never, ever, ever been here before, here or in the world."


The vice president's comments beg serious scrutiny.


An Uncertain Future

To be fair, we know how bad the Great Depression became, and at this point we don't know what the next few years hold in store. Mr. Biden argued that this time the crisis is more complicated because of the globally linked economy. More on that claim later.


By almost any objective standard, Mr. Biden claims that Mr. Obama faces a bigger challenge than FDR is just plain wrong. Here are some historical comparisons to consider.

The national unemployment rate is now slightly above 8% and some think it might eventually creep into very low double digits. During the Great Depression, a quarter of workers were unemployed, and even six years after FDR took office the unemployment rate was over 17%.


When FDR took office there was virtually no social safety net for the American people, much less the support for those out of work. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and welfare - even as we know it in its post-Clinton reincarnation, did not exist.


Unemployment insurance? It was a foreign concept back then, as was the whole notion of a powerful caring federal government.


And the banking system problems that have helped create the current mess are tame compared to what FDR inherited.


Now millions of Americans are angry at the federal government for propping up some large banks that would otherwise fail. But if those institutions failed today, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. insures everyone's deposits up to $250,000.


Upon taking office, FDR ordered every bank in the country closed so to avoid the runs that had already driven large numbers, many of them community banks, out of business. Depositors had no insurance to make them insurance to make them whole. In other words, when a bank went under, everyone lost their life savings.


A Lower Standard of Living

In 1933, the standard of living enjoyed by almost everyone was much lower than it is today. Large parts of the country had no electricity, and a washing machine was a luxury.


As for Mr. Biden's claim that the global nature of this economic crisis made his boss's challenge greater, you've got to be kidding. The challenge that FDR faced was a global depression. Things aren't that bad yet, and Mr. Obama and his fellow world leaders have the benefit of the tools in place and the knowledge of what happened in the 1930s to stop such a catastrophe. One concern these days is that increasing protectionist sentiment might cause America or other countries to close their markets to foreign competition.


But Mr. Obama and his counterparts around the world have been outspoken in their determination not to allow that to happen. FDR entered office in the midst of a world trade war triggered in part by the Smoot-Hawley law passed by Congress under his predecessor.


Yes, the world is more complicated today. Computers can move billions of dollars in the blink of an eye and that, in itself, makes the situation less stable.


The global economic crisis today carries with it risks that could destabilize the political and military status quo. And, there are certainly diplomatic challenges it presents to Mr. Obama.


But none of them can hold a candle to the geopolitical changes wrought by the Great Depression. After all, it was the catalyst that led to the rise of Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany.


God forbid the global economy ever gets to that point again.

Think again, Joe.

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