The IG firing and FDR

As news emerges that the firing of the Inspector General by the Obama administration was motivated by the desire to protect at least two major supporters of Barack Obama  who appeared to have engaged in unethical or/and  incompetent behavior, it behooves us to compare how the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration would have responded to news that recipients of tax dollars were wasting them. Would he have fired the official who tried to halt the practice and enforce the law? Would FDR have used the power of his office to protect supportersd and harm the career of an official dedicated to protecting taxpayers? Would he use his power for political gain?

Why compare Obama to FDR? Well, the media trumpeted the comparison during and after Obama's campaign. Recall Time Magazine cover that transformed the image of Obama into the image of FDR so as to evoke the era of big government spending to help the needy?

I just happen to be reading "American-Made: the Enduring Legacy of the WPA: When FDR Put The Nation To Work". The WPA was the acronym for the Works Progress Administration, the government program that spent huge amount of money to pay laborers for working on government projects (opponents coined the term "boondoggle" during this era).

FDR  laid down the law at the inception of the WPA. He emphasized that the funds would be spent without regard to political consequences: earmarks were not permitted, nor was patronage hiring (the ban on patronage hiring caused political problems for FDR and the program), donors would not be rewarded and should be ignored. But he went further: asking all Americans to make sure that government money was spent wisely and efficiently.

FDR asked for vigilance from the American people to ensure the program and federal money was honestly run:

There are chiselers in every walk of life. Every profession has its black sheep....The most effective means of preventing such evils in this work relief program will be the eternal vigilance of the American people themselves. I call upon my fellow citizens everywhere to cooperate with me in making this the most efficient and the cleanest example of public enterprise the world has ever seen...Feel free to criticize. Tell me of instances where work can be done better, or where improper practices prevail.

Harry Hopkins, a close confidant of FDR's, was placed in charge of the WPA. He worked indefatigably to ensure the program was free of the taint of partisanship, funds were spent-not for political gain in certain areas-but in ways calculated to have the most bang for the buck. Efficiency was a theme harped on throughout the program, both by FDR and Hopkins. They both took criticism to heart and responded when the occasion (relatively rare) required them to do so to uphold their principles. One may argue whether FDR's program prolonged the Depression. I happen to think that they did. However, the WPA did spend money honestly and efficiently. Hopkins was always the target of politicians who wanted him fired for not going along with cronyism and corruption.

Now we have a President who brought the ways of the Chicago Machine to the highest office of the land. He fires a non-partisan Inspector General who tried to fulfill his duties to the taxpayers of America to ensure their money is spent honestly and efficiently.

President Obama -- the Alderman in Chief of America.
As news emerges that the firing of the Inspector General by the Obama administration was motivated by the desire to protect at least two major supporters of Barack Obama  who appeared to have engaged in unethical or/and  incompetent behavior, it behooves us to compare how the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration would have responded to news that recipients of tax dollars were wasting them. Would he have fired the official who tried to halt the practice and enforce the law? Would FDR have used the power of his office to protect supportersd and harm the career of an official dedicated to protecting taxpayers? Would he use his power for political gain?

Why compare Obama to FDR? Well, the media trumpeted the comparison during and after Obama's campaign. Recall Time Magazine cover that transformed the image of Obama into the image of FDR so as to evoke the era of big government spending to help the needy?

I just happen to be reading "American-Made: the Enduring Legacy of the WPA: When FDR Put The Nation To Work". The WPA was the acronym for the Works Progress Administration, the government program that spent huge amount of money to pay laborers for working on government projects (opponents coined the term "boondoggle" during this era).

FDR  laid down the law at the inception of the WPA. He emphasized that the funds would be spent without regard to political consequences: earmarks were not permitted, nor was patronage hiring (the ban on patronage hiring caused political problems for FDR and the program), donors would not be rewarded and should be ignored. But he went further: asking all Americans to make sure that government money was spent wisely and efficiently.

FDR asked for vigilance from the American people to ensure the program and federal money was honestly run:

There are chiselers in every walk of life. Every profession has its black sheep....The most effective means of preventing such evils in this work relief program will be the eternal vigilance of the American people themselves. I call upon my fellow citizens everywhere to cooperate with me in making this the most efficient and the cleanest example of public enterprise the world has ever seen...Feel free to criticize. Tell me of instances where work can be done better, or where improper practices prevail.

Harry Hopkins, a close confidant of FDR's, was placed in charge of the WPA. He worked indefatigably to ensure the program was free of the taint of partisanship, funds were spent-not for political gain in certain areas-but in ways calculated to have the most bang for the buck. Efficiency was a theme harped on throughout the program, both by FDR and Hopkins. They both took criticism to heart and responded when the occasion (relatively rare) required them to do so to uphold their principles. One may argue whether FDR's program prolonged the Depression. I happen to think that they did. However, the WPA did spend money honestly and efficiently. Hopkins was always the target of politicians who wanted him fired for not going along with cronyism and corruption.

Now we have a President who brought the ways of the Chicago Machine to the highest office of the land. He fires a non-partisan Inspector General who tried to fulfill his duties to the taxpayers of America to ensure their money is spent honestly and efficiently.

President Obama -- the Alderman in Chief of America.