Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Election 2012, Freedom | Tags: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, The Great Depression, The Welfare State
Professor Burton J. Folsom Jr. is author of two books on Franklin Delano Roosevelt: New Deal or Raw Deal and with Anita Folsom: FDR Goes to War. Here is a speech he delivered at Hillsdale College on FDR’s energetic experimentation that did so much damage to the economy in the 1930s. The great myth has always been that FDR saved us from the Great Depression, and then it was ended by World War II. Wrong.
I have recommended Amity Schlaes The Forgotten Man. It is a new history of the Great Depression, and a wonderful book, with a fascinating cast of very real characters, that reads like a novel.
President Obama constantly compares his problems to the Great Depression. To indicate how big the recession he “inherited from George W. Bush” is (not his fault) but he flatters himself. The comparison lies not in the extent of the Depression [ July 1927: Unemployment 3.3%; Sept 1931; Unemployment 17.4%; Nov. 1933: Unemployment 23.2%; Nov. 1934: Unemployment 23.2%; July 1935: Unemployment 21.3%; Jan. 1938: Unemployment 17.4%; Jan. 1940: Unemployment 14.6%] but in the misguided efforts to make big government heal the economy.
FDR’s plan to make people dependent on government was a clear effort to garner votes for the Democrat party [see approximately minute 35.00 on the video]. Obama is making the same effort to make people dependent on Big Government in his campaign for a second term. I think most of us would prefer to see a recovering economy and recovering employment. The video is very worth your time. A lack of understanding of history may doom us to repeat it.
Filed under: Economy, Environment, Liberalism, News of the Weird | Tags: Deep Thoughts at NASA, Scaring the Public, The Great Depression
Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff and Nobel Laureate and liberal hack Paul Krugman attempted to explain recently why Keynesian economics is just the thing to revive a depressed economy. Krugman suggested that a threat of an invasion by space aliens could spur economic activity, then when the economy got going they could say they made a mistake. His comment was meant to point out in humorous fashion that World War II, under the Roosevelt administration, succeeded in ending the Great Depression. So, you see we just need to spend a bunch more money.
Except World War II didn’t end the Great Depression. It did put people back to work. The military swept up a big chunk of young and able men, and factories of all kinds turned to producing military goods, not just for us, but for our allies as well. Factories and shipyards were running 24/7 and people swarmed to the centers where war work was going full blast.
But there were wage and price controls. There was rationing. There were no new cars, and no gas nor tires to make them run. There were no new appliances. Meat, sugar, butter were all rationed. There wasn’t anything much to spend money on, and constant war bond drives helped those who were working to build their savings. When the war was over, and civilian production returned, there was a great outpouring of demand. People needed cars, appliances, everything they had gone without for five years and more. Returning vets needed houses, new babies needed everything that new babies need. That’s when the nation really began to recover, and it had nothing to do with John Maynard Keynes.
But as the Guardian reports, never let a good idea go to waste. Scientists at NASA’s Planetary Science Division and Pennsylvania State University suggest that space aliens might destroy humanity to protect other civilizations. If we don’t reduce our greenhouse gases, it might tip off alien civilizations what a danger we are to the universe. They might just have to step in to take drastic action to keep us from becoming a more serious threat.
The highly speculative scenario is one that researchers compiled to help humanity prepare for actual contact. In their report “Would contact with extraterrestrials benefit or harm humanity? A scenario analysis” they consider three broad categories: beneficial, neutral or harmful. [I hope that with our economy in the tank we're not giving grants for space alien investigation.]
“Green” aliens might object to the environmental damage humans have caused on Earth and wipe us out to save the planet. “These scenarios give us reason to limit our growth and reduce our impact on global ecosystems. It would be particularly important for us to limit our emissions of greenhouse gases, since atmospheric composition can be observed from other planets,” the authors write.
Even if we never make contact with extraterrestrials, the report argues that considering the potential scenarios may help to plot the future path of human civilisation, avoid collapse and achieve long-term survival.
Are they suggesting that our carbon dioxide emissions are harming the universe? Affecting life in other galaxies? For space alien aficionados the Guardian article is here. The picture is from Mars Attacks.
Some days it seems like we do live in an alternate universe. The stock market tanks, the unemployment rate climbs, and the president heads off for a luxury vacation in the playground of “the rich” that he demonizes when he’s not vacationing among them. Strange, strange, strange.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Foreign Policy, History, Politics | Tags: Doing It All Again, The Great Depression, The Smoot-Hawley Tariff
Politicians are largely there because they have a talent of some sort for politicking, that is, for meeting and greeting and seeming nice to their constituents. And once we have voted, we yawn, hope they do the right thing, and go back to our own affairs. We, all too often, don’t look hard at their qualifications. Sometimes we get lucky and elect someone who has business experience or is knowledgeable about economics or who really understands taxation or medicine or foreign affairs, or even history. Over the years we have ended up with a surprising number of congressmen who have never done anything except get elected to office.
IN the 1930s, earnest congressmen thought they could solve America’s Great Depression by punishing foreigners with a protectionist measure called the Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act of 1930. They were tragically wrong.
Fast forward to 2010, and the House Ways and Means Committee has drummed up a new bill. They think that we’re losing jobs due to the overall trade deficit, that the overall trade deficit is driven by our trade deficit with China, and that our trade deficit with China is driven up by the exchange rate. Each part of their analysis is false.
The U.S. trade deficit was at its highest in 2006, and unemployment was 4.6 percent. In 2009, the deficit was only half as large, but unemployment had doubled. The connection is not what congressmen seem to think. The American economy runs on consumption. Consumer spending creates jobs and increases imports, and the trade deficit as well.
The bill in its present form would give the Department of Commerce discretion to be selective, or move closer to mandatory, across-the-board tariffs. Wrong plan. Won’t create jobs. Congress will do almost anything to avoid recognizing that the problem is their spending.
And please, study up, and learn from history.
Filed under: Cool Site of the Day, Economy, History | Tags: A Visual History, The Great Depression, The Thirties
The Denver Post has published a group of color pictures from the Library of Congress, from the era of the Great Depression. The Thirties were a hard time in the country, but we don’t often get to see it in color. Just ordinary people, and ordinary places. It’s a fascinating look at a bit of visual history.
(h/t: National Review)