From 24/7 Wall St.: President Barack Obama will give a speech before a joint session of Congress this week, in which he will lay out a job creation plan. There have been only seven speeches about economic and business issues before a joint session of Congress since the end of The Great Depression. 24/7 Wall St. has reviewed these speeches and found that they had virtually no effect on the economy, despite the detailed proposals.
Of the seven addresses, two were about labor trouble, and both by Harry Truman: One about the railroad strike in 1946, and the other about the steel strike in 1952. Neither speech was effective. The strikes were settled by labor and management irrespective of the speeches. As a matter of fact, the railroad strike ended the day of the president’s speech.
The balance of the speeches addressed different crises such as soaring energy costs, inflation, and recession. Each of these speeches offered specific road maps for economic improvement. While each president gave a broad description of the trouble, most offered a specific set of solutions. Rarely were any of the plans adopted, either because of political opposition or because the problems resolved themselves. In many cases, the economy got worse after the presidential address. It is impossible to trace any recovery to the presidential proposals in almost every case. Those that were enacted into law were so substantially changed by Congress that they barely resembled the presidents’ suggestions.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed all of the presidential addresses to joint sessions of Congress from The Great Depression through the present to identify all those that dealt primarily with the economy.