The lessons of the Depression

Michael Barone has a useful discussion on the depression here:

"Not since the Great Depression." "Not since the 1930s." You hear those phrases a lot these days, and with some reason. As Congress prepares to pass the Democratic stimulus package, it may be worthwhile to look back at Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and consider how well it worked as policy -- and politically. . . .

After eight years of the New Deal, unemployment remained at 15 percent in 1940 -- double the figure for today. What really got us out of the Depression was World War II. The total number of employed persons and military personnel increased from 44 million in 1938 to 65 million in 1944.

So it would be unwise to copy the New Deal as a recipe for economic recovery. And the policies that produced the wartime boom are not replicable today. We are not going to have rationing, wage and price controls, government spending nearly half the gross domestic product, 91 percent tax rates and a 12-million-man military (the equivalent today would be 27 million).

There has been general agreement, however, that Roosevelt's policies were politically successful. Most of us in the political commentary business make frequent use of the phrase "New Deal Democratic majority" and tend to believe that Roosevelt's policies worked for his party for a long generation extending into the 1960s. . . . .

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Blogger Zundfolge said...

Ironically I suspect it will be another world war that gets us out of the coming depression (assuming it sinks to the level of depression).

As Obama weakens America, every tin horn nut around the globe will be emboldened.

Iran gets nukes, hits Israel, that part of the world ignites and while that conflagration is going on Hugo Chavez starts empire building down south about the time that Mexico descends into civil war.

Not to mention the advances the Jihidists expect to make in the next 4 years.

Interesting times indeed.

2/16/2009 10:52 AM  
Blogger Harry Schell said...

Roosevelt's policies worked to the advantage of HIS PARTY, not the country.

So it is with the emergency stimulus, passed in a rush so Nancy Pelosi could make her scheduled departure to Europe for a week and Bama could take a long weekend in Chicago.

A "catastrophe" of unimaginable proportions would happen if the bill didn't get passed and implemented immediately...and it sits while Bama parties. Sort of like the inauguration, where he spent 4x what Bush did before without a peep from the scolds all over Bush.

Indeed, the Democrats may have sewn up their role as the primary political party for the next decade.

Will this be to the benefit of citizens or the Democrat PARTY?

And Chavez now has his mandate too.

Wesurvived Carter. Will we survive and be able to reverse the damage of socialist ideologues in the Democrat party?

2/16/2009 11:06 AM  

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