No, Herbert Hoover didn’t push laissez faire policies

One of the myths of the Great Depression was that President Herbert Hoover did nothing to deal with the nation’s most severe economic downturn because his belief in “laissez faire” economics. In truth, Hoover was very much an interventionist. You need only crack open a history book to read about the Smoot-Hawley Act, a protectionist law signed by Hoover that jacked up tariffs on American exports.

To further dispell this myth, Steven Horwitz, an economist at George Mason University, has written an excellent paper explaining how Hoover wasn’t just an interventionist, but also the father of the New Deal.

Herbert Hoover: Father of the New Deal, Cato Briefing Paper No. 122

 
 


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