Big increases in federal spending and huge deficits started with Pres Hoover, not FDR

I’ve read that President Hoover was just as much an activist, interventionist president as FDR. Popular legend holds that it was FDR that opened up federal spending and started the activism.

Haven’t done my own research until today. Check out page 21 of the 2013 federal budget, found here, to see the info for yourself. That is the 25th page of the PDF. Table 1.1 lists federal receipts, outlays and surplus/deficit by year from 1901 through the 2017 estimate.

Hoover dramatically increased federal spending and started the big deficit splurge well before FDR has a chance to get his New Deal spending plans in front of Congress.

Check out the following data, which is for fiscal years ending June 30. That means the 1929 budget went into effect on 7/1/28, well before the election. Thus, the 1930 budget is the first that we can attribute to Hoover. The 1931 budget is essentially the first that was drafted and approved in light of the developing depression.  The 1934 budget is the first that belongs to FDR.

Amounts in millions of dollars:

term receipts outlays surp/def
1925       3,641       2,924           717
1926       3,795        2,90           865
1927       4,013       2,857        1,155
1928       3,900       2,961           939
1929       3,862       3,127           734
1930       4,058      3,320           738
1931        3,116       3,577         (462)
1932       1,924       4,659      (2,735)
1933       1,997      4,598     (2,602)
1934       2,955       6,541     (3,586)
1935       3,609       6,412     (2,803)
1936       3,923      8,228     (4,304)
1937       5,387      7,580      (2,193)
1938        6,751      6,840          (89)
1939       6,295       9,141     (2,846)
1940       6,548      9,468     (2,920)


President Hoover increased spending 47% over the last Coolidge budget. In his term, the federal government ran the first deficit since the end of WWI.

His predecessors since WWI ran a cumulative $7.6B surplus. Deficits in last three years of his term were $5.8B. That is quite a blowout for deficit spending.

The last two deficits under Hoover would have been an average deficit under FDR.

Let’s not hear any more of this fabricated story that Hoover cut back federal spending and the massive ‘stimulus’ only started with FDR. The spending spigots were wide open two years before FDR took office.

Ineffectiveness of the massive federal spending and damage from federal intervention effectively started during the Hoover administration.

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