Time Machine: FDR, 1933

Regular readers of TBP know that I spend some time rooting around in the excellent American Presidency Project, a remarkable resource.  Sometimes I’m looking for something specific, other times I’m just getting a feel, a flavor, for the message coming from our leadership, specifically the president.  The latter was the case when I undertook a search to see how the phrase “home ownership” has been used by presidents over time.

Herewith, FDR’s Message to Congress, April 13, 1933.  Spooky stuff.

To the Congress:

As further and urgently necessary step in the program to promote economic recovery, I ask the Congress for legislation to protect small home owners from foreclosure and to relieve them of a portion of the burden of excessive interest and principal payments incurred during the period of higher values and higher earning power.

Implicit in the legislation which I am suggesting to you is a declaration of national policy. This policy is that the broad interests of the Nation require that special safeguards should be thrown around home ownership as a guarantee of social and economic stability, and that to protect home owners from inequitable enforced liquidation in a time of general distress is a proper concern of the Government.

The legislation I propose follows the general lines of the farm mortgage refinancing bill. The terms are such as to impose the least possible charge upon the National Treasury consistent with the objects sought. It provides machinery through which existing mortgage debts on small homes may be adjusted to a sound basis of values without injustice to investors, at substantially lower interest rates and with provision for postponing both interest and principal payments in cases of extreme need. The resources to be made available through a bond issue to be guaranteed as to interest only by the Treasury, will, it is thought, be sufficient to meet the needs of those to whom other methods of financing are not available. At the same time the plan of settlement will provide a standard which should put an end to present uncertain and chaotic conditions that create fear and despair among both home owners and investors.

Legislation of this character is a subject that demands our most earnest, thoughtful and prompt consideration.

Franklin D. Roosevelt: Message to Congress on Small Home Mortgage Foreclosures.
40 – Message to Congress on Small Home Mortgage Foreclosures.
American Presidency Project, April 13, 1933

Adding: Did not know when BR was going to run this piece, but since he slated it for Thanksgiving, I’ll take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy, healthy and safe holiday.  Enjoy friends and family.

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