Though modern myth claims that
the free market "self-destructed" in 1929, government policy was the debacle's
principal culprit. If this crash had been like previous ones, the hard times
would have ended in two or three years at the most, and likely sooner than
that. But unprecedented political bungling instead prolonged the misery for
over 10 years.
in 1930 averaged a mildly recessionary 8.9 percent, up from 3.2 percent in
1929. It shot up rapidly until peaking out at more than 25 percent in 1933.
Until March of 1933, these were the years of President Herbert Hoover — a man
often depicted as a champion of noninterventionist, laissez-faire economics.