From CNN's In the Arena, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich weighed in on the second GOP presidential "debate" held this week and the fact that all of the Republicans sounded like they were reading a page from Herbert Hoover's economic playbook.
Sadly it appears the only politicians in Washington who aren't reading it right along with them is the progressive caucus in the House.
SPITZER: You know, I think that's exactly right. I mean the party has moved towards Ron Paul, not vice versa.
Secretary Reich, let me ask you this. Did you hear anything last night? We heard very much the same thing from all the candidates about cutting taxes, deregulation. Anything there that gives you as an economist comfort that jobs would be created because of the policies they were espousing?
REICH: Eliot, I don't see the logic. You can't create jobs if consumers are scared, they have a huge debt load, their wages are going down, their jobs are disappearing, they're not going to spend. And if you say government has got to cut spending, where's the spending going to come from?
I mean, there's a fundamental kind of logical flaw at the core of this. You know, after the debate last night I went back to the "Great Speeches of America," a volume I have on my -- on my bookcase, and I looked back at Herbert Hoover's statements after the great crash of 1929 and leading up to the election of 1932.
And what he was talking about was cutting public spending, balancing the budget, privatization, deregulation. I mean, his statements, Herbert Hoover and his secretary of the treasury, Andrew Mellon, could have been -- well, they could have been the speech writers for the Republicans last night.
SPITZER: Look, I agree. Much of what they're talking about sounds like Hoover.
SPITZER: As a factual matter, one of President Hoover's speeches is in your volume of "Great American Speeches"? This is news to me.
REICH: Well, great in the sense of influential.
SPITZER: All right. OK. I just wanted to make sure this --
GERGEN: Well, I just want to -- I do think -- you know, for the historical record I think it's worth pointing out in 1932 in Pittsburgh, Franklin Roosevelt gave a famous speech calling for cutting spending and balanced budgets. Herbert Hoover wasn't alone in that. But --
REICH: David, you're absolutely -- you're absolutely right. And I -- but I think that the important thing is that we learned a lot. I assumed we learned a lot during the 1930s, '40s, '50s. I mean, even Richard Nixon has said we're all Keynesians now. And to go back to the 1920s, pre all of that learning, is absolutely -- I mean, it's just extraordinary.