I caught this piece on Wednesday in the MNPost – a hagiographic look back at former Minnesota
Premier Governor Floyd B. Olson by “Iric Nathanson”:
In 1933, a governor moved boldly to halt foreclosures
As expected, Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed a bill that would have deferred foreclosure proceedings for up to a year for some homeowners victimized by predatory loans. During this year’s legislative session, the Republican governor signaled his displeasure with the foreclosure measure, claiming that it would discourage lenders from making new home loans in this state.
The bill’s chief authors, Sen. Ellen Anderson and Rep. Jim Davnie, argued that their proposal would help 12,000 Minnesotans in danger of losing their homes as the wave of foreclosures continues to gain momentum in 2008.
Anderson and Davnie, both DFLers, maintained that action was needed this year to deal with foreclosures that are approaching rates not seen since the Great Depression.
Back then, Minnesota’s governor was willing to take decisive action to help struggling families hold on to their homes and farms.
I thought about responding – but as with all things economic, I figured I’d just wait and paste King’s response:
This from the same governor who once said that same year “I do not believe there can be any economic security for the common man or woman in this country until and unless the key industries of the United States are taken over by the government.” (Geo. Mayer, The Political Career of Floyd B. Olson, University of Minnesota Press, p. 149.) Olson had also acted to depress farms by, for example, offering the previous year to use the state militia to prevent the “export” of farm crops to the rest of the country, if other farm states would join in. (They didn’t.)
Indeed, while many neighboring states were hit as hard or worse by the depression, and some reacted with various degrees of government intervention, most shied away from the whole “trampling on the law” bit.
Back to King:
It’s hard to imagine why anyone thinks that, when all discussion turns to a credit crunch, violating the property rights of creditors will make more credit flow. Unless you intend to seize the property itself. A propos today, this column by Jerry Bowyer makes a similar point. The bill vetoed makes banks a target, after which nothing else really matters.
Nobody told Nathanson:
Olson’s bold move at the start of his second term would do much to embellish his reputation as an activist governor who used the powers of his office to combat the economic and social devastation caused by the Great Depression in Minnesota.
Time – and a war – erased many of the unintended consequences of Olson’s actions. Minnesota’s activist DFL clacque probably won’t be so lucky.