Down and Out
America has had depressions before. Always, it was the poorest workers who went hungry. This Great Depression is different. It hurts rich and poor and the middle class, too. And it goes on, and on, and on . President Herbert Hoover just doesn't seem to know what to do. He says, "I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering."
In 1932 Hoover states publicly that "no one in America is actually starving." But he is wrong. Things have gotten so bad that some people are getting themselves arrested, on purpose, just so they can eat. The president is out of touch. At the White House, he and Mrs. Hoover dress formally for dinner each night and sit down to seven-course meals .
Many head for the cities, where they hope to find jobs. But there are no jobs in the cities . The only thing you can do is build a shack with anything you can findold boards and boxes will have to do. Lots of Americans are living like that, usually on land near a garbage dump or places nobody would ever want to consider home. Shanty towns spring up all over the nation. Eventually a million people will live in them. People call them Hoovervilles, blaming the president, who still doesn't seem to grasp the severity of the crisis . He keeps saying words like he said in the spring of 1930that things are getting better in America: "I am convinced we have passed the worst and with continued effort we shall rapidly recover."