Herbert Hoover did more than any President before him to ease the problems of economic collapse; however his solutions were too little too late; and often misguided by his belief in "volunteerism." He originally stated that local communities should begin programs to relieve suffering
with that sturdiness and independence which built a great Nation.
Hoover did not believe in a "hands off" approach to economic problems, however. He saw the economy continue to implode, and knew he had to do something. Among his actions:
- He increased the pace of public works funded by the federal governments to the states in an effort to put people back to work. Sadly, state and local governments cut their own spending to offset new funds from the federal government, so there was no immediate relief.
- In 1932 Hoover pushed the Glass-Steagal Act through Congress which broadened the type loans which could receive support from the federal government in an attempt to stimulate borrowing and economic growth.
- Also in 1932, Congress passed the Federal Home Loan Bank Act which created savings and loans and provided discounted mortgages for home purchases.
- The Reconstruction Finance Corporation was created to fund loans to railroads, insurance companies, and banks, in an attempt to prevent these businesses from declaring bankruptcy.
- Finally, the Emergency Relief and Construction Act provided funds for public works in an attempt to put people back to work.
Hoover's efforts were criticized as too little too late, and as "trickle down," but he stoutly insisted that his policies would work. In the long run, the economy was too far gone for any of these efforts to succeed.