Economic Collapse, July 1930

Prohibition caused Depression

Chicago Tribune 17NOV1930

The stock market crash of 1929 marked the realization that prohibition laws would soon destroy the US economy and banking system. By mid-1930, financial collapse was so well underway that the old prohibition enforcement districts were redrawn to conform closely to existing Federal Reserve districts. This change took effect on July 1, 1930, the month Cook County Assessor Gene G. Oliver was convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to 18 months in prison and fined $12,500 by Judge Woodward in Chicago.

Here is a breakdown of the districts.

The transfer of the prohibition enforcement activity from the Treasury Department to the Department of Justice under the Williamson Act took place on July 1, 1930, under the Bureau of Industrial Alcohol in the Treasury Department, retained the duty of issuing permits for the manufacture and use of alcohol and other intoxicating liquor for non-beverage purposes, and of supervising the activities of the permitees.  The 27 prohibition districts hitherto existing were rearranged into 12 new districts, with boundaries corresponding in some measure with the 10 judicial circuits.  (Misdirection! The districts were a nearly perfect fit to the Federal Reserve Districts–tr)

1. Boston: Maine, N. Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, R. Island, Connecticut
2. New York: New York State and Porto Rico
3. Philadelphia: New Jersey; Pennsylvania, Delaware
4. Richmond: Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, N. Carolina, South Carolina, DC.
5. New Orleans: Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas.
6. Cincinnati: Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee
7. Chicago: Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin.
8. St. Paul: Minnesota, N. Dakota, S. Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska.
9. Kansas City: Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma.
10. Denver: Arizona, Colorado, N. Mexico, Utah, Wyoming.
11. San Francisco: California, Nevada, Hawaii.
12. Seattle: Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Alaska.
Source: NY World Almanac 1931 p 36

That same day, the Bank of Winter Park, Florida, closed its doors. As prohibition asset-forfeiture confiscations continued, many other banks would close. The Liberal Party, formed in 1930, published a plank in 1931 calling for the repeal of blue laws and the Prohibition Amendment. The Democratic Party copied this plank in the summer of 1932–in the middle of a major banking panic–and went on to win the election in November. That is s demonstration of the law-changing clout of libertarian party spoiler votes. By the time Franklin D. Roosevelt was sworn in as president in March of 1933, every bank in the nation had already closed its doors.

If you are disappointed not to have learned this in school, join the crowd. But be sure to choose a financial and accounting translator who won’t overlook things and cause added disappointment.