Stumbled upon one of FDR’s wittiest (and nastiest) campaign speeches. One part in particular sounds as if it could have been delivered during the 2012 presidential election, instead of almost a century ago:
It has been suggested that the American public was apparently elected to the role of our old friend, Alice in Wonderland. I agree that Alice was peering into a wonderful looking-glass of the wonderful economics. White Knights had great schemes of unlimited sales in foreign markets and discounted the future ten years ahead.
The poorhouse was to vanish like the Cheshire cat. A mad hatter invited everyone to “have some more profits.” There were no profits, except on paper. A cynical Father William in the lower district of Manhattan balanced the sinuous evil of a pool-ridden stock market on the end of his nose. A puzzled, somewhat skeptical Alice asked the Republican leadership some simple questions:
“Will not the printing and selling of more stocks and bonds, the building of new plants and the increase of efficiency produce more goods than we can buy?”
“No,” shouted Humpty Dumpty. “The more we produce the more we can buy.”
“What if we produce a surplus?”
“Oh, we can sell it to foreign consumers.
“How can the foreigners pay for it?”
“Why, we will lend them the money.”
“I see.” said little Alice, “they will buy our surplus with our money. Of course, these foreigners will pay us back by selling us their goods?”
“Oh, not at all,” said Humpty Dumpty. “We set up a high wall called the tariff.”
“And,” said Alice at last, “how will the foreigners pay off these loans?”
“That is easy,” said Humpty Dumpty, “did you ever hear of a moratorium?”