Revisiting FDR's Depression era failure

As usual Lee Ohanian's research is quite interesting and this piece is no exception. In part because of this well know research I interviewed Lee last year for a news piece that I did for Fox News.

Two UCLA economists say they have figured out why the Great Depression dragged on for almost 15 years, and they blame a suspect previously thought to be beyond reproach: President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

After scrutinizing Roosevelt's record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian conclude in a new study that New Deal policies signed into law 71 years ago thwarted economic recovery for seven long years.

"Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump," said Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA's Department of Economics. "We found that a relapse isn't likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies."

In an article in the August issue of the Journal of Political Economy, Ohanian and Cole blame specific anti-competition and pro-labor measures that Roosevelt promoted and signed into law June 16, 1933.

"President Roosevelt believed that excessive competition was responsible for the Depression by reducing prices and wages, and by extension reducing employment and demand for goods and services," said Cole, also a UCLA professor of economics. "So he came up with a recovery package that would be unimaginable today, allowing businesses in every industry to collude without the threat of antitrust prosecution and workers to demand salaries about 25 percent above where they ought to have been, given market forces. The economy was poised for a beautiful recovery, but that recovery was stalled by these misguided policies." . . .

Thanks to Art DeVany for this link.

Labels: ,


Blogger The Right Guy said...

If you read the Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes, you'll come to the same conclusion.

4/18/2010 3:11 PM  
Blogger Pirate Rothbard said...

I like the article, but it seems to be implying that allowing businesses to collude was also part of the problem, when it really makes more sense that this had nothing to do witih it.

Regulation and pro-labor policies would hasten hiring, not weakening anti-trust legislation.

4/19/2010 1:34 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home