Beck's Crash Course: Revisionist History

This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," September 8, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We're the party of Franklin Roosevelt, who saved freedom and democracy from being extinguished here on Earth.

SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: I admire Margaret Sanger enormously. I am really in awe of her. And there are a lot of lessons that we can learn from her life.

GLENN BECK, HOST: Am I the only one appalled that history is being written and rewritten right in front of us?

If you want to restore the country, you must take it upon yourself to learn and relearn history.

Restore our history and restore our country.



JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, GUEST HOST: Hello, everyone. Welcome to "The Glenn Beck Program." I'm Judge Andrew Napolitano, in for Glenn.

Tonight is part three of a five-day special series to get you caught up on what Glenn has been covering on the program this year.

Monday night, we brought you the crash course on the fundamental transformation of our economy. And last night, we showed you the radicals surrounding our president who help him with that transformation.

Tonight's show features the history lessons you weren't taught in school and ones your children will never likely learn either.

As you know, Glenn has made it his mission to do whatever he can to help restore this great nation, and the way he believes we can take this country back is through education and restoring history. Much of U.S. history has been distorted or forgotten or even erased. And it's time to reverse that.

I'm joined here tonight by a special friend of the show, Burton Folsom, Jr., author of the great book, "New Deal, Raw Deal." It's about the disastrous economic policies of FDR.

Most people think the New Deal was a great deal for America because that's what we were all taught in school. Professor Folsom is going to share some of his thoughts on the revisionist history we're going to show you tonight and throughout this program.

So, sit back and join us as we take a trip back in time to set history straight for our future:


BECK: I've seen a lot of things in my life. I mean, I'm an alcoholic. Trust me. I have stories.

But the one thing that has shocked me more than anything else is reading history — reading history. You will start to read history, and if you — as Jefferson said — question with boldness even the very existence of God, if you really start to question and you start to read, you will start to slip into a zone where you think, OK, wait a minute, one of these is really wrong. You've been taught one lie, I think, your whole life.

As I started my search for answers, through book after book after book, it became apparent that the history we're being taught isn't always right or most times, it just isn't the complete history. And so, it makes it entirely inaccurate. Sometimes it's because of, you know, somebody who is lazy or a lazy media that didn't care to find the real answers. Sometimes it's because people do see things through a different prism. That's why you could have two people to witness a car accident but they'll say something else, something different, each of them. That is natural.

But the problems that we have with our history many times is malicious progressive intent. Progressives have been changing history for about 100 years. They knew they had to separate us from our history to be able to separate us from our Constitution and God. When you look at the complete pictures of some of the most revered figures in history, when you look at the complete picture, all of a sudden, you're shocked.

Every time we do this — how many have seen the "Founding Fridays"? OK, you watch them. How many of you have looked at an episode and been a little hacked off at the end because you're like, wait a minute, that's kind of an important piece of history. Have you — you have? You watched it? And yes.

It is — our history is being stolen from us.

I saw a poll that came out, I don't know a week or two ago about, you know, the best presidents in history of America. FDR, number one. In the top 10, always, Wilson.

Wilson and FDR, they did more to destroy the Constitution than practically any other president or all other presidents — present president excluded — combined. FDR, Wilson, both used emergency and war to justify just running around the Constitution. FDR ran for a third and fourth term. There is a reason Congress instituted official term limits for the president after FDR died. They didn't want him to happen again.

We were never taught about Woodrow Wilson. Woodrow Wilson was a racist of the first order. This guy was a spooky, spooky dude. He subverted the Constitution. He locked people up. He invented propaganda — I mean, state-sponsored propaganda. He was the man that Goebbels learned it from.


NAPOLITANO: Burt, do you agree with what we just heard?

Didn't FDR and Woodrow Wilson do irreparable damage to the Constitution?

BURTON FOLSOM, JR., "NEW DEAL OR RAW DEAL?" AUTHOR: Indeed they did. Even if we put aside President Wilson and the Espionage Act and the Sedition Act and how he put people in jail for disagreeing with him in World War I; how newspapers were shut down, some never reopen toed; we had people in jail who never let out of jail even after the war was over...


FOLSOM: Even if we put that aside, we see FDR and Wilson fundamentally interfering with the liberty of contract that the Constitution gives out.

NAPOLITANO: Why weren't we taught about this stuff in schools? Why do we have to learn this now?

FOLSOM: I think most historians like the intervention that the government did. They like the centralization of power and they feel that the freedom that the Constitution gives to people, for example, to set contractual rights —


FOLSOM: — for wages, for hours of work, that that should be interfered with by the federal government.

NAPOLITANO: That the government knows best.

FOLSOM: The government knows best.

NAPOLITANO: OK. Now, let's take a look at some of the comparisons Glenn has made between FDR and the current progressive in power, President Obama:


BECK: President Obama was heralded as the new FDR. And he's run that pattern since the day he got in office. I think he's more like Woodrow Wilson, but they're both spooky enough for most people once you know who they were.

There is a critical difference between FDR and Obama. There were no big government programs before FDR. There was — I should say — there was one that started right before with Hoover. But debt wasn't a problem. It wasn't even on the radar when we started the massive expansion of government.

People didn't have — our grandparents didn't have debt like they do now. They didn't have credit cards. And FDR, man, he spent and spent and spent and spent. But he did one something that Obama hasn't done. He actually put an engine — much to his chagrin, I don't think he intended on doing this — but he put an engine in the car.

FDR just wanted public control of everything, including energy. Gee, that sounds familiar. In 1932, he said: "Electricity is no longer a luxury. It's a definite necessity."

He publicly attacked utility companies, calling them evil in his 1935 State of the Union speech. The same year, his Federal Power Act — Federal Power Act gave government the authority to review and approve the rate charged by public utilities in connection with the transmission or sale of electricity.

Wow. That whole thing kind of sounds like what they're trying to do to the Internet now. Hmm. Well, we're talking about what they're trying to do about energy. I get them all so confused.

Well, they also created the Tennessee Valley Authority, a massive debacle that was originally created to stop frequent flooding in Tennessee. Ronald Reagan actually talked about this. He said the annual interest on the TVA debt was five times as great as the annual flood damage it sought to correct.

But they did it anyway. No big deal. And, by the way, every country that tried to model the TVA failed miserably.

FDR squashed industry. The number of private utilities plummeted from
216 in 1938 to only 18 by 1958. So far, you don't see a difference between Barack Obama and FDR on this one, do you? Because this is all about redistribution of wealth with him as well.

The only reason it was stopped, though, is because he eventually — he had been in office for like 5,000 years. He was old. He went away. OK? They reversed a lot of the things that he did.

In the end, however, much to his chagrin, he was going for cheap and available energy and we got it. FDR tried to create more energy, would allow you to take care of that energy and take advantage of it as the United States of America. We could build refrigerators and radios and milk coolers as they called them, washing machines — all items that became commonplace after his work projects.

Despite FDR's onslaught of big government projects, despite the unbelievable socialist nature and the average small business that he was just putting through a meat grinder, once they took their boot off of that throat and all the government crap was gone, you still had cheap energy.

Once the nightmare of obese government went away, American ingenuity was relatively free to operate and create. But the current administration's goal is not provide cheap energy in the end, but expensive energy.

FDR decides to make the union stronger. Sound familiar? Regulate price controls, interfere with business, pay higher wages than the amount of productivity justified.

Obama, he's completely different. He says SEIU's life work is his work. Obama has fired the CEOs of companies, taking control of the automakers, of banks — you name it, he's coming for you.

FDR decided he was going to revive the economy with massive government spending — more spending. It's like stimulus and stimulus two. He went with new entitlements with the New Deal.

That's weird because this is what Obama is doing — reviving the economy with massive government spending and an expansion of entitlements. Stimulus one, two, three — are we up to four yet? Do I hear five?

We had "cash for caulkers," "cash for clunkers." We have health care, financial reform, takeover of the student loan industry. Oh, it's fantastic.

So, how do these stories end? Well, unemployment remained unresponsive — weird, weird — through the New Deal and the New Deal two.

Obama? Unemployment has gone up and then stayed here, flat-lining. That's weird.

FDR blamed Hoover for the economic problems. Obama is blaming Bush for the mess that he has to mop up.


NAPOLITANO: What are some of the comparisons between President Obama and his hero, FDR?

FOLSOM: The two men are very much alike and their presidencies are alike too in many ways. They're both redistributionists. They both want to redistribute income. Take from some people, give to other people.

You cannot create prosperity doing that. You can redistribute some wealth and gain some votes from the people who get the money. You cannot create a prosperous economy.

Franklin Roosevelt had 20 percent unemployment rate, late into his second term with his redistribution policy.

NAPOLITANO: Would either of these presidents, rather we live our lives as we want to or live our lives as the federal government told us to?

FOLSOM: They wanted that control over our lives and that they felt there was too much money that some people had, that the federal government had to take up to 70 percent, 80 percent and later in Roosevelt's administration, 90 percent of that wealth to redistribute to others.

NAPOLITANO: You know, I was giving a talk the other day and I stated that the top marginal rate, the top tax rate during World War II was 94 percent. You don't see any of that in the high school textbooks that the government took that much of people's personal wealth and private property.

FOLSOM: When the war was over, the top rate — as you said, Judge — was 94 percent of all income over $200,000. In other words, at the $300,000 mark, you are giving away on your last $100,000, $94,000 to the federal government. You got to keep $6,000. No wonder we can't recover and get out of a Great Depression.

NAPOLITANO: You got it.

Now to a fascinating piece on our forgotten depression and amazing turn-around 10 years prior to the New Deal. Have you ever heard about this?


BECK: The year was 1920, and America was in a crisis. Soldiers had returned home from World War I, to find that their jobs were gone. Unemployment doubled to nearly 12 percent. Stock market was on its way to losing half of its value. The gross national product was in freefall.

Outgoing President Woodrow Wilson's decision to involve America in World War I and his dyed-in-the-wool progressive agenda left the country reeling. Wilson had used the war effort to grossly expand an already bloated federal government. And in an effort to redistribute the wealth, he raised the top income tax to 77 percent.

The end result was a country deeply in debt with an economy that was on the verge of total collapse. This was the depression you probably never heard of, wiped clean from our history books. Why? It's called the Forgotten Depression — more on that in a minute.

Another key factor in this economic nightmare was the action taken by the Federal Reserve — another Wilson-era progressive idea. As times got tougher during Wilson's last term, the Fed began to print money and make it easier to get credit.

Even as America's 29th president, Warren G. Harding, took an oath of office in 1921, the country was on the brink. He wasted no time. His plan was astonishingly simple: No bailouts, no stimulus package. In fact, just the opposite.

THOMAS E. WOODS, AUTHOR, "MELTDOWN": Between 1920 and '22, the federal budget was, in fact, cut roughly in half. They cut top marginal income tax rates and marginal income tax rates for all groups substantially throughout the '20s. After they cut marginal tax rates so substantially, they were also able to cut the national debt — not the deficit — the national debt by one-third during the 1920s.

BECK: The budget was cut in half. Tax rates reduced in all income brackets. The national debt reduced by one-third. In 18 months, America rebounded. The result: the Roaring '20s.

JIM POWELL, SENIOR FELLOW, CATO INSTITUTE: It was during the 1920s that millions of Americans bought their first radio. Millions of Americans bought their first refrigerator, their first car. The number of Americans who had telephone doubled.

BECK: President Harding died of a heart attack two years into his presidency. But his successor, Calvin Coolidge, continued what he had started.

FORMER PRESIDENT CALVIN COOLIDGE: I want people of America to be able to work less for the government and more for themselves. I want them to have their rewards of their own industry. This is the chief meaning of freedom.

BECK: Limited government and free enterprise fuelled one of the greatest success stories in American history. Again, you probably never heard of this.

WOODS: We never hear a thing about the depression of 1920 for obvious reasons, because we might draw the wrong conclusions. We might conclude that maybe these policies could be implemented today. We're not allowed to draw that conclusion. So, this episode is simply left off the table.

BECK: What the history books can't deny is just nine years later, in spite of all the country had been through, progressive presidents, Herbert Hoover, FDR, following Woodrow Wilson's progressive playbook of bloated government, massive spending and sky-high taxes, led to us back to the brink, the Great Depression.

And, by the way, in another undeniable example of progressive revisionist history, you, me, our kids, have all been taught that FDR's New Deal proved to be the salvation of America. Nothing could be further from the truth. The New Deal expanded government to levels approaching a dictatorship, taxes reached obscene levels and the era of government entitlement, many of which are still choking our economy today, was born.

The New Deal prolonged the Great Depression in America. As other countries around the world rebounded years earlier, America suffered through a full decade of hardship. And yet, surprisingly, unexplainably, it's that very solution that serves as the model for our leaders today as America once again suffers through a crisis brought on by progressive leadership.

The forgotten depression forgotten no more. To know where you are, you've got to know your history, where we've been.


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