From The Wit and Wisdom of Will Rogers edited by Alex Ayres
When the nation plunged into the Great Depression in the late 1929, President Hoover swiftly took bold action. He appointed a commission to investigate.
“I could have told him before sundown what’s changed our lives,” said Will Rogers. “Buying on credit, waiting for relief, Ford cars, too many Republicans, Notre Dame coaching methods and two-thirds of America, both old and young, thinking they possessed ‘it.’
“It’s not really depression, it’s just a return to normalcy. It’s just getting back to two-bit meals and cotton underwear, and off those one-fifty steaks and silk rompers. America has been just muscle bound from holding a steering wheel. The only callous place we got on our body is the bottom of the driving toe.
“We are getting back to earth and it don’t look good to us after being away so long.
“We have watched the parade but we got no money to go to the show on, and we can’t make up our minds to go home and start saving till next year.”
Although the Republicans were in power, Will Rogers refused to blame them. “I don’t want to lay the blame on the Republicans for the Depression. They’re not smart enough to think up all those things that have happened.”
Rogers placed some of the blame for the Depression on the gambling fever of speculation. The American dream of wealth through work has been replaced by the dream of wealth without work. “Half our people are starving and the other half standing around a roulette wheel. They going to get some easy money if they have to go broke to do it.”
Depression ain’t nothing but old man interest just gnawing away at us.