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The Folly of FDR
#41
And as David Gordon has stated.

Quote:Why did these contemporaries sees an affinity between Roosevelt and the two leading European dictators, while most people today view them as polar opposites? People read history backwards: they project the fierce antagonisms of World War II, when America battled the Axis, to an earlier period. At the time, what impressed many observers, including as we have seen the principal actors themselves, was a new style of leadership common to America, Germany, and Italy.

Once more we must avoid a common misconception. Because of the ruthless crimes of Hitler and his Italian ally, it is mistakenly assumed that the dictators were for the most part hated and feared by the people they ruled. Quite the contrary, they were in those pre-war years the objects of considerable adulation. A Leader who embodied the spirit of the people had superseded the old bureaucratic apparatus of government. "While Hitler's and Roosevelt's nearly simultaneous ascension to power highlighted fundamental differences. . . contemporary observers noted that they shared an extraordinary ability to touch the soul of the people. Their speeches were personal, almost intimate. Both in their own way gave their audiences the impression that they were addressing not the crowd, but each listener as an individual." (p.54)

But does not Schivelbusch's thesis fall before an obvious objection? No doubt Roosevelt, Hitler, and Mussolini were charismatic leaders; and all of them rejected laissez-faire in favor of the new gospel of a state-managed economy. But Roosevelt preserved civil liberties, while the dictators did not.

Schivelbusch does not deny the manifest differences between Roosevelt and the other Leaders; but even if the New Deal was a "soft fascism", the elements of compulsion were not lacking. The "Blue Eagle" campaign of the National Recovery Administration serves as his principal example. Businessmen who complied with the standards of the NRA received a poster that they could display prominently in their businesses. Though compliance was supposed to be voluntary, the head of the program, General Hugh Johnson, did not shrink from appealing to illegal mass boycotts to ensure the desired results. "'The public,' he [Johnson] added, 'simply cannot tolerate non-compliance with their plan.' In a fine example of doublespeak, the argument maintained that cooperation with the president was completely voluntary but that exceptions would not be tolerated because the will of the people was behind FDR. As one historian [Andrew Wolvin] put it, the Blue Eagle campaign was 'based on voluntary cooperation, but those who did not comply were to be forced into participation.'"(p.92) Schivelbusch compares this use of mass psychology to the heavy psychological pressure used in Germany to force contributions to the Winter Relief Fund.

Both the New Deal and European fascism were marked by what Wilhelm Röpke aptly termed the "cult of the colossal." The Tennessee Valley Authority was far more than a measure to bring electrical power to rural areas. It symbolized the power of government planning and the war on private business: "The TVA was the concrete-and-steel realization of the regulatory authority at the heart of the New Deal. In this sense, the massive dams in the Tennessee Valley were monuments to the New Deal, just as the New Cities in the Pontine Marshes were monuments to Fascism. . .But beyond that, TVA propaganda was also directed against an internal enemy: the capitalist excesses that had led to the Depression. . ."(pp.160, 162)

This outstanding study is all the more remarkable in that Schivelbusch displays little acquaintance with economics. Mises and Hayek are absent from his pages, and he grasps the significance of architecture much more than the errors of Keynes. Nevertheless, he has an instinct for the essential. He concludes the book by recalling John T. Flynn's great pamphlet of 1944, As We Go Marching.

Flynn, comparing the New Deal with fascism, foresaw a problem that still faces us today. "But willingly or unwillingly, Flynn argued, the New Deal had put itself into the position of needing a state of permanent crisis or, indeed, permanent war to justify its social interventions. 'It is born in crisis, lives on crises, and cannot survive the era of crisis'. . .Hitler's story is the same.'. . .Flynn's prognosis for the regime of his enemy Roosevelt sounds more apt today than when he made it in 1944. . .'We must have enemies, ' he wrote in As We Go Marching, "They will become an economic necessity for us.'" (pp.186, 191)
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
Hillary Clinton Is Like Herpes, "She Wont Go Away" - Anna Paulina
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#42
And as David Gordon has stated.

Quote:Why did these contemporaries sees an affinity between Roosevelt and the two leading European dictators, while most people today view them as polar opposites? People read history backwards: they project the fierce antagonisms of World War II, when America battled the Axis, to an earlier period. At the time, what impressed many observers, including as we have seen the principal actors themselves, was a new style of leadership common to America, Germany, and Italy.

Once more we must avoid a common misconception. Because of the ruthless crimes of Hitler and his Italian ally, it is mistakenly assumed that the dictators were for the most part hated and feared by the people they ruled. Quite the contrary, they were in those pre-war years the objects of considerable adulation. A Leader who embodied the spirit of the people had superseded the old bureaucratic apparatus of government. "While Hitler's and Roosevelt's nearly simultaneous ascension to power highlighted fundamental differences. . . contemporary observers noted that they shared an extraordinary ability to touch the soul of the people. Their speeches were personal, almost intimate. Both in their own way gave their audiences the impression that they were addressing not the crowd, but each listener as an individual." (p.54)

But does not Schivelbusch's thesis fall before an obvious objection? No doubt Roosevelt, Hitler, and Mussolini were charismatic leaders; and all of them rejected laissez-faire in favor of the new gospel of a state-managed economy. But Roosevelt preserved civil liberties, while the dictators did not.

Schivelbusch does not deny the manifest differences between Roosevelt and the other Leaders; but even if the New Deal was a "soft fascism", the elements of compulsion were not lacking. The "Blue Eagle" campaign of the National Recovery Administration serves as his principal example. Businessmen who complied with the standards of the NRA received a poster that they could display prominently in their businesses. Though compliance was supposed to be voluntary, the head of the program, General Hugh Johnson, did not shrink from appealing to illegal mass boycotts to ensure the desired results. "'The public,' he [Johnson] added, 'simply cannot tolerate non-compliance with their plan.' In a fine example of doublespeak, the argument maintained that cooperation with the president was completely voluntary but that exceptions would not be tolerated because the will of the people was behind FDR. As one historian [Andrew Wolvin] put it, the Blue Eagle campaign was 'based on voluntary cooperation, but those who did not comply were to be forced into participation.'"(p.92) Schivelbusch compares this use of mass psychology to the heavy psychological pressure used in Germany to force contributions to the Winter Relief Fund.

Both the New Deal and European fascism were marked by what Wilhelm Röpke aptly termed the "cult of the colossal." The Tennessee Valley Authority was far more than a measure to bring electrical power to rural areas. It symbolized the power of government planning and the war on private business: "The TVA was the concrete-and-steel realization of the regulatory authority at the heart of the New Deal. In this sense, the massive dams in the Tennessee Valley were monuments to the New Deal, just as the New Cities in the Pontine Marshes were monuments to Fascism. . .But beyond that, TVA propaganda was also directed against an internal enemy: the capitalist excesses that had led to the Depression. . ."(pp.160, 162)

This outstanding study is all the more remarkable in that Schivelbusch displays little acquaintance with economics. Mises and Hayek are absent from his pages, and he grasps the significance of architecture much more than the errors of Keynes. Nevertheless, he has an instinct for the essential. He concludes the book by recalling John T. Flynn's great pamphlet of 1944, As We Go Marching.

Flynn, comparing the New Deal with fascism, foresaw a problem that still faces us today. "But willingly or unwillingly, Flynn argued, the New Deal had put itself into the position of needing a state of permanent crisis or, indeed, permanent war to justify its social interventions. 'It is born in crisis, lives on crises, and cannot survive the era of crisis'. . .Hitler's story is the same.'. . .Flynn's prognosis for the regime of his enemy Roosevelt sounds more apt today than when he made it in 1944. . .'We must have enemies, ' he wrote in As We Go Marching, "They will become an economic necessity for us.'" (pp.186, 191)
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Hillary Clinton Is Like Herpes, "She Wont Go Away" - Anna Paulina
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#43
John,
Quote:...this is why governments are not able to do for an economy what private enterprise can. Top down planning is inefficient and wasteful. All the money and resources spent by the FDR administration could have been done away with, had they just lowered taxes, and removed those G-d Awful tarriffs and allowed Free Enterprise to blossum.
what's this nonsense? The inefficient and wasteful market economy, which led to the Great Depression, has proven its incompetence time and time again.
"You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don't matter." Dick Cheney
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#44
John,
Quote:...this is why governments are not able to do for an economy what private enterprise can. Top down planning is inefficient and wasteful. All the money and resources spent by the FDR administration could have been done away with, had they just lowered taxes, and removed those G-d Awful tarriffs and allowed Free Enterprise to blossum.
what's this nonsense? The inefficient and wasteful market economy, which led to the Great Depression, has proven its incompetence time and time again.
"You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don't matter." Dick Cheney
Reply
#45
quadrat Wrote:John,
Quote:...this is why governments are not able to do for an economy what private enterprise can. Top down planning is inefficient and wasteful. All the money and resources spent by the FDR administration could have been done away with, had they just lowered taxes, and removed those G-d Awful tarriffs and allowed Free Enterprise to blossum.
what's this nonsense? The inefficient and wasteful market economy, which led to the Great Depression, has proven its incompetence time and time again.

Whatever you say, oh Brilliant one. :lol:
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
Hillary Clinton Is Like Herpes, "She Wont Go Away" - Anna Paulina
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#46
quadrat Wrote:John,
Quote:...this is why governments are not able to do for an economy what private enterprise can. Top down planning is inefficient and wasteful. All the money and resources spent by the FDR administration could have been done away with, had they just lowered taxes, and removed those G-d Awful tarriffs and allowed Free Enterprise to blossum.
what's this nonsense? The inefficient and wasteful market economy, which led to the Great Depression, has proven its incompetence time and time again.

Whatever you say, oh Brilliant one. :lol:
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
Hillary Clinton Is Like Herpes, "She Wont Go Away" - Anna Paulina
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#47
Here is another example of the Folly of FDR. And note how FDR is finally being held resposible for his foolish actions. No matter what, history has this way of finally coming back to shine the light of truth, even when it has been whitewashed for so long.

This is nothing more than a clear case of Fascist application being used. Can you see any similarities with this happening today, under another administration, filled with Jackasses?

FDR's Anti-Business Crusade
[size=14]by Jim Powell, April 10, 2009


In 1938, after having spent many New Deal years signing laws that banned discounting and established cartels, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt denounced “the concentration of economic control” that many of his laws promoted. He went on the attack against big employers, even though, with unemployment still in double digits, surely the top priority should have been to encourage the creation of private-sector jobs.

To be sure, FDR never made a move to repeal one of his predecessor Herbert Hoover’s biggest blunders — namely, the Smoot-Hawley tariff that fostered concentration by penalizing Americans who wanted to buy from overseas suppliers. So FDR’s latest denunciations didn’t mean he was really concerned about monopoly. Indeed, he established a number of monopolies, including the Tennessee Valley Authority.

In March 1938, FDR appointed Yale University law professor Thurman Arnold to head the antitrust division of the Justice Department. His book The Folklore of Capitalism (1937), a satire on antitrust laws, had been a bestseller. He remarked, “The advantage of the antitrust laws is that they are sufficiently vague,” meaning they gave government officials like Arnold a great deal of arbitrary power. Historian Ellis W. Hawley remarked that Arnold “was at first regarded as something of a joke, another Marx brother who had strayed into the government by mistake.”

Arnold soon hired some 300 lawyers to file antitrust lawsuits against businesses. A key part of Arnold’s strategy was to file both criminal and civil lawsuits simultaneously. Government attorneys could offer to drop the criminal charges if the target company agreed to make the changes they demanded and sign a consent decree. Often, too, Arnold launched a case not just against a single company but against an entire industry. There were lawsuits against the milk, oil, tobacco, shoe machinery, tires, fertilizer, railroad, pharmaceuticals, school supplies, billboards, fire insurance, liquor, typewriter and movie industries, among others. Altogether Arnold was responsible for some 99 criminal actions and 22 civil suits. Journalist Joseph Alsop quoted Arnold as saying that he aimed "to hit hard, hit everyone, and hit them all at once."

He used publicity aggressively in an effort to influence public opinion against the companies and industries he was targeting. To provide an appearance of legitimacy, Arnold urged Congress to establish a body that would conduct a "thorough study of the concentration of economic power." Accordingly, on June 9, 1938, the Senate passed a resolution for the Temporary National Economic Committee (TNEC). There would be 12 members, half from Congress and half from the administration. The House passed this resolution on June 14, and FDR signed it on June 16. The hearings, presided over by Wyoming Senator Joseph O’Mahoney, went on for 18 months. Altogether, 552 witnesses provided some 20,000 pages of testimony, there were 3,300 technical exhibits, and 43 special studies were written.

But neither Thurman Arnold, nor those involved with the TNEC hearings nor anybody else, ever proved that private monopoly was dominant or that it was growing or, for that matter, that private monopoly was worse than the growing sector of government monopoly. Moreover, while the TNEC generated a stupendous amount of data and publicity, it didn’t make any clearer what should be done. “The recommendations of the committee were harmless, and no one ever paid any attention to them,” Arnold remarked.

Other investigators failed to find evidence that private monopoly was a serious issue. At a 1952 National Bureau of Economic Research conference on “Business Concentration and Price Policy,” Harvard economists John Lintner and J. Keith Butters reported: “the best available evidence establishes a rather strong presumption that there has been no increase in over-all concentration over the last fifty-year-period and indicates that there probably has been some decrease in concentration over this period, at least so far as manufacturing is concerned.” After studying available data, economists G. Warren Nutter and Henry Adler Einhorn reached similar conclusions that were published in their book Enterprise Monopoly in the United States, 1899-1958.

TNEC activities did send a message that the United States continued to be a politically risky place for long-term investments, so the TNEC did its part to prolong the Great Depression. In January 1940, for instance, the TNEC recommended that the Securities and Exchange Commission investigate the investment policies of life insurance companies, but the investigation expanded to cover just about every aspect of their operations. According to Best’s magazine, which covers the industry, “Many people in the industry already feared that Roosevelt and some members of Congress wanted the federal government to take over life insurance and that they were going to use Social Security to do it. The committee’s report, A Study of Legal Reserve Life Insurance Companies, did not allay their fears.”

Before the TNEC hearings concluded, it had become apparent that the onslaught of antitrust lawsuits wasn’t accomplishing much. In Madison Oil, one of the earliest cases, Judge Patrick Stone dismissed all charges against 11 defendants and ordered a new trial for 18 others. The case against Aluminum Company of America dragged on for 13 years, during which its market share declined as the market expanded. In the paradoxical auto financing case, Arnold went after companies that cut consumer costs. Arnold didn’t achieve many victories — in the best-known cases, the big movie studios were forced to sell their theater chains, and the Pullman Company was forced to concentrate on manufacturing sleeping cars and to get out of the business of providing sleeping car services.

One of the most bizarre cases involved Socony-Vacuum Oil Co. (later known as Mobil), Shell Petroleum, Pure Oil, Continental Oil and other companies indicted for having violated the Sherman Antitrust Act between February 1935 and December 1936.

Just three years earlier, in June 1933, FDR had signed the National Industrial Recovery Act that had authorized the establishment of cartel codes. Accordingly, on July 20, 1934, the NRA Administrator for the Petroleum Code wrote Socony-Vacuum Oil. Co Vice President Charles E. Arnott, later a defendant in the antitrust lawsuit: “I am requesting you, as Chairman of the Marketing Committee of the Planning and Coordinating Committee, to take action which we deem necessary to restore markets [i.e. fix prices] to their normal conditions in areas where wasteful competition [i.e. free market pricing] has caused them to become depressed…I am requesting and authorizing you, as Chairman of the Marketing Committee, to designate committees for each locality when and as price wars [i.e. bargain prices] develop…stabilize the price level.

Addressing the jury, Thurman Arnold and his associate lawyers denounced the employers as “the biggest men,” “grasping men” and “malefactors of great wealth.” The employers were convicted. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court where FDR’s appointee Justice William O. Douglas upheld the conviction.

Entry into World War II effectively ended FDR’s antitrust crusade, as war production became the top priority, and big businessmen like Edward R. Stettinius and William Knudsen were recruited to get it done. FDR sent Arnold packing.

If FDR wanted to promote competition, he should have stepped out of the way, eliminating trade restrictions, regulatory restrictions, pricing restrictions, high taxes and other obstacles to enterprise.
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Hillary Clinton Is Like Herpes, "She Wont Go Away" - Anna Paulina
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#48
The feature of great presidents, such as FDR or BHO, is that they are doers. They don't talk a lot, but have the determination to get things done. In comparison, the messiah of the right wing, Reagan, is he not called by yourselves "the great communicator"? An euphemism for a blabber, who's got done nothing, and spend half his terms in office reading from teleprompters.
"You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don't matter." Dick Cheney
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#49
quadrat Wrote:The feature of great presidents, such as FDR or BHO, is that they are doers. They don't talk a lot, but have the determination to get things done. In comparison, the messiah of the right wing, Reagan, is he not called by yourselves "the great communicator"? An euphemism for a blabber, who's got done nothing, and spend half his terms in office reading from teleprompters.

Yeah, and so was Mao, Stalin, and Hitler, a bunch of "doers" too. And they too were great, I'm sure. Somehow, I suspect it is WHAT that person does, which is more than important than just DOING something. But what do I know, right? :lol:
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Hillary Clinton Is Like Herpes, "She Wont Go Away" - Anna Paulina
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#50
quadrat Wrote:The feature of great presidents, such as FDR or BHO, is that they are doers. They don't talk a lot, but have the determination to get things done. In comparison, the messiah of the right wing, Reagan, is he not called by yourselves "the great communicator"? An euphemism for a blabber, who's got done nothing, and spend half his terms in office reading from teleprompters.

If you want to argue FDR, thats fine....but BHO has really "done" a whole lot yet except talk about what he's going to do. He's only been in office for 3+ months.
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#51
John L Wrote:Yeah, and so was Mao, Stalin, and Hitler, a bunch of "doers" too. And they too were great, I'm sure. Somehow, I suspect it is WHAT that person does, which is more than important than just DOING something. But what do I know, right? :lol:
We both have probably seen dozends of docus about each Mao and Hitler comprising old moving pictures, newsreels and such, but have you ever seen a single one about Stalin?
"You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don't matter." Dick Cheney
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#52
Yes, many about Stalin and how his evil deeds killed so many of his own people. Then there are all the ones about Walter Durante and his Pulitzer prize for lying about Stalin - see, this is the rub. When the people do not get the true facts, then their opinions are always wrong.

FDR did not know as much as he thought he did. He was not very good at school and not the brightest bulb, but had an elite's delivery that made him look impressive. He was surrounded by many people of varying accomplishments - but with 20-20 hindsight, we can see the ones who affected his administration the most were dead wrong in their beliefs. Economically and societally, his actions hurt the country far more than they helped - but he was reported as being a great leader and doing good. Any poll would paint him as being a good leader in spite of the facts that went unreported.

JFK was a failed leader, totally inept and wrong in almost every sphere except economically - and his economic policies were only adopted after his assassination when his tax cuts were put through in a legacy gesture, which then financed LBJ's spending spree.

Obama is worse than any president in history in accomplishments and proven experience. The media was so missing during his introduction to the electorate that we don't even know if he is a legal citizen. His own family persists in claiming he was born in Kenya. He is surrounded by scofflaws and failed businessmen who have only records of disaster behind them. So far, his administration is coasting. His huge spending bills had no impact on the economy - and calling pork stimulus does not make it so. His coasting will grab onto any normal economic recovery that occurs and claim it as his own - even though his actions only slow the eventual recovery.

As always, the populace will form their opinions based on a biased and slanted media, and his poll numbers will bear no resemblance to reality.
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#53
Here is another classic essay on FDR, from the Austrain economic site FEE, where I am a member.

Quote:The Mythology of Roosevelt and the New Deal

Robert Higgs is senior fellow at the Independent Institute, editor of The Independent Review, and author of Neither Liberty nor Safety: Fear, Ideology, and the Growth of Government (Independent Institute).

By Robert Higgs • September 1998 • Volume: 48 • Issue: 9

The Great Depression was a watershed in American history. Soon after Herbert Hoover assumed the presidency in 1929, the economy began to decline, and between 1930 and 1933 the contraction assumed catastrophic proportions never experienced before or since in the United States. Disgusted by Hoover’s inability to stem the collapse, in 1932 the voters elected Franklin Delano Roosevelt, along with a heavily Democratic Congress, and set in motion the radical restructuring of government’s role in the economy known as the New Deal.

With few exceptions, historians have taken a positive view of the New Deal. They have generally praised such measures as the massive relief programs for the unemployed; the expanded federal regulation of agriculture, industry, finance, and labor relations; the establishment of a legal minimum wage; and the creation of Social Security with its old-age pensions, unemployment insurance, and income supplements for dependent children in single-parent families, the aged poor, the physically handicapped, and the blind. In the construction of the American regulatory and welfare state, no one looms larger than FDR.

For this accomplishment, along with his wartime leadership, historians and the general public alike rank Franklin D. Roosevelt among the greatest of American presidents. Roosevelt, it is said repeatedly, restored hope to the American people when they had fallen into despair because of the seemingly endless depression, and his policies “saved capitalism” by mitigating its intrinsic cruelties and inequalities.

This view of Roosevelt and the New Deal amounts to a myth compounded of ideological predisposition and historical misunderstanding. In a 1936 book called The Menace of Roosevelt and His Policies, Howard E. Kershner came closer to the truth when he wrote that Roosevelt

Quote:took charge of our government when it was comparatively simple, and for the most part confined to the essential functions of government, and transformed it into a highly complex, bungling agency for throttling business and bedeviling the private lives of free people. It is no exaggeration to say that he took the government when it was a small racket and made a large racket out of it.[1]

As this statement illustrates, not everyone admired FDR during the 1930s. Although historians have tended to view Roosevelt’s opponents as self-interested reactionaries, the legions of “Roosevelt haters” actually had a clearer view of the economic consequences of the New Deal. The nearly 17 million men and women who, even in Roosevelt’s moment of supreme triumph in 1936, voted for Alf Landon could not all have been plutocrats.

Prolonging the Depression

The irony is that even if Roosevelt did help to lift the spirits of the American people in the depths of the depression—an uplift for which no compelling documentation exists—this achievement only led the public to labor under an illusion. After all, the root cause of the prevailing malaise was the continuation of the depression. Had the masses understood that the New Deal was only prolonging the depression, they would have had good reason to reject it and its vaunted leader.

In fact, as many observers claimed at the time, the New Deal did prolong the depression. Had Roosevelt only kept his inoffensive campaign promises of 1932—cut federal spending, balance the budget, maintain a sound currency, stop bureaucratic centralization in Washington—the depression might have passed into history before his next campaign in 1936. But instead, FDR and Congress, especially during the congressional sessions of 1933 and 1935, embraced interventionist policies on a wide front. With its bewildering, incoherent mass of new expenditures, taxes, subsidies, regulations, and direct government participation in productive activities, the New Deal created so much confusion, fear, uncertainty, and hostility among businessmen and investors that private investment, and hence overall private economic activity, never recovered enough to restore the high levels of production and employment enjoyed in the 1920s.

In the face of the interventionist onslaught, the American economy between 1930 and 1940 failed to add anything to its capital stock: net private investment for that eleven-year period totaled minus $3.1 billion.[2] Without capital accumulation, no economy can grow. Between 1929 and 1939 the economy sacrificed an entire decade of normal economic growth, which would have increased the national income 30 to 40 percent.

The government’s own greatly enlarged economic activity did not compensate for the private shortfall. Apart from the mere insufficiency of dollars spent, the government’s spending tended, as contemporary critics aptly noted, to purchase a high proportion of sheer boondoggle. In the words of the common-man’s poet, Berton Braley,



A dollar for the services

A true producer renders—

(And a dollar for experiments

Of Governmental spenders!)

A dollar for the earners

And the savers and the thrifty—

(And a dollar for the wasters,

It’s a case of fifty-fifty!).[3]



Under heavy criticism, FDR himself eventually declared that he was “not willing that the vitality of our people be further sapped by the giving of doles, of market baskets, by a few hours of weekly work cutting grass, raking leaves, or picking up papers in the public parks.”[4] Nevertheless, the dole did continue.

Buying Votes

In this madness, the New Dealers had a method. Despite its economic illogic and incoherence, the New Deal served as a massive vote-buying scheme. Coming into power at a time of widespread destitution, high unemployment, and business failures, the Roosevelt administration recognized that the president and his Democratic allies in Congress could appropriate unprecedented sums of money and channel them into the hands of recipients who would respond by giving political support to their benefactors. As John T. Flynn said of FDR, “it was always easy to interest him in a plan which would confer some special benefit upon some special class in the population in exchange for their votes,” and eventually “no political boss could compete with him in any county in America in the distribution of money and jobs.”[5]

In buying votes, the relief programs for the unemployed, especially the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Works Progress Administration, loomed largest, though many other programs promoted the same end. Farm subsidies, price supports, credit programs, and related measures won over much of the rural middle class. The labor provisions of the National Industrial Recovery Act and later the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act purchased support from the burgeoning ranks of the labor unions. Homeowners supported the New Deal out of gratitude for the government’s refinancing of their mortgages and its provision of home-loan guarantees. Even blacks, loyal to the Republican Party ever since the Civil War, abandoned the GOP in exchange for the pittances of relief payments and the tag ends of employment in the federal work-relief programs. Put it all together and you have what political scientists call the New Deal Coalition—a potent political force that remained intact until the 1970s.

Inept, Arrogant Advisers

Journalists titillated the public with talk of Roosevelt’s “Brain Trust”—his coterie of policy advisers before and shortly after his election in 1932, of whom the most prominent were the Columbia University professors Raymond Moley, Rexford Guy Tugwell, and Adolph A. Berle. In retrospect it is obvious that these men’s ideas about the causes and cure of the depression ranged from merely wrongheaded to completely crackpot.

Like most other New Dealers, they viewed the collapse of prices as the cause of the depression, and therefore they regarded various means of raising prices, especially cartelization and other measures to restrict market supply, as appropriate in the circumstances. Raise farm prices, raise industrial prices, raise wage rates, raise the price of gold. Only one price should fall, namely, the price (that is, the purchasing power) of money. Thus, all favored inflation and, as a means to this end, the abandonment of the gold standard, which had previously kept inflation more or less in check.

Subsequent advisers, the “happy hot dogs” (after their mentor and godfather, Harvard law professor Felix Frankfurter), such as Tom Corcoran, Ben Cohen, and James Landis, who rose to prominence during the mid-1930s, had no genuine economic expertise. But they contributed mightily to FDR’s swing away from accommodating business interests and toward assaulting investors as a class, whom he dubbed “economic royalists” and blamed for the depression and other social evils.

Early and late, the president’s advisers shared at least one major opinion: that the federal government should intervene deeply and widely in economic life; that government spending, employing, and regulating, all directed by “experts” such as themselves, could repair the various perceived defects of the market system and restore prosperity while achieving greater social justice. Even at the time, many thoughtful onlookers found the overweening arrogance of these deluded policy advisers to be their most distinctive trait. As James Burnham wrote of them in his 1941 book, The Managerial Revolution, “they are, sometimes openly, scornful of capitalists and capitalist ideas. . . . They believe that they can run things, and they like to run things.”[6] More recently, even a sympathetic left-liberal historian, Alan Brinkley, wrote that the hardcore New Dealers embraced government planning “with almost religious veneration.”[7]

The Misleading Analogy of War

Many of the New Dealers, including FDR himself (as assistant secretary of the navy), had been active in the wartime administration of Woodrow Wilson. Ruminating on how to deal with the depression, they seized on an analogy: the war was a national emergency, and we dealt with it by creating government agencies to control and mobilize the private economy; the depression is a national emergency, and therefore we can deal with it by creating similar agencies. Hence arose a succession of government organizations modeled on wartime precedents. The Agricultural Adjustment Administration resembled the Food Administration; the National Recovery Administration resembled the War Industries Board; the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (created under Hoover but greatly expanded under Roosevelt) resembled the War Finance Corporation; the National Labor Relations Board resembled the War Labor Board; the Tennessee Valley Authority resembled the Muscle Shoals project; the Civilian Conservation Corps resembled the army itself. The list went on and on.

In his first inaugural speech, Roosevelt declared, “we must move as a trained and loyal army willing to sacrifice for the good of a common discipline.” He warned that should Congress fail to act to his satisfaction, he would seek “broad executive power to wage a war against the emergency as great as the power that would be given me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.” However stirring the rhetoric, this approach to dealing with the depression rested on a complete misapprehension. The requisites of successfully prosecuting a war had virtually nothing in common with the requisites of getting the economy out of a depression. (Moreover, the President and his supporters greatly overestimated how successful their wartime measures had been—the war had ended before the many defects of those measures became widely understood.)

A Pure Political Opportunist

Roosevelt did not trouble himself with serious thinking. Flynn referred to an aspect of his character as “the free and easy manner in which he could confront problems about which he knew very little.”[8] Nor did he care that he knew very little; his mind sailed on the surface.

Quote:Fundamentally he was without any definite political or economic philosophy. He was not a man to deal in fundamentals. . . . The positions he took on political and economic questions were not taken in accordance with deeply rooted political beliefs but under the influence of political necessity. . . . He was in every sense purely an opportunist.[9]

An indifferent student and later a wealthy, handsome, and popular young man about town, FDR had distinguished himself mainly by his amiable and charming personality. A born politician—which is to say, he was devious, manipulative, and mendacious—Roosevelt had a flair for campaigning and for posturing before and propagandizing the public. Though millions hated him with a white-hot passion, there is no gainsaying that far more loved him, and millions regarded him as a savior—as the New York Times editorialized on June 18, 1933, “the Heaven-sent man of the hour.”[10]

If demagoguery were a powerful means of creating prosperity, then FDR might have lifted the country out of the depression in short order. But in 1939, ten years after its onset and six years after the commencement of the New Deal, 9.5 million persons, or 17.2 percent of the labor force, remained officially unemployed (of whom more than 3 million were enrolled in emergency government make-work projects). Roosevelt was a masterful politician, but unfortunately for the American people subjected to his policies, he had no idea how to end the depression other than to “try something” and, when that didn’t work, to try something else. His ill-conceived, politically shaped experiments so disrupted the operation of the market economy and so discouraged the accumulation of capital that they impeded the full recovery that otherwise would have occurred. His followers revered him then, and many people revere him still, as a great leader. But what does it avail a lost and thirsty man if his leader only wanders about in the desert?

Legacies

Although Roosevelt and the New Dealers failed to end the depression, they succeeded in revolutionizing the institutions of American political and economic life and changing the country’s dominant ideology. Even today, 60 years after the New Deal ran out of steam, its legacies remain, still hampering the successful operation of the market economy and diminishing individual liberties.

One need look no further than an organization chart of the federal government. There one finds such agencies as the Export-Import Bank, the Farm Credit Administration, the Rural Development Administration (formerly the Farmers Home Administration), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Housing Administration, the National Labor Relations Board, the Rural Utility Service (formerly the Rural Electrification Administration), the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Social Security Administration, and the Tennessee Valley Authority—all of them the offspring of the New Deal. Each in its own fashion interferes with the effective operation of the free market. By subsidizing, financing, insuring, regulating, and thereby diverting resources from the uses most valued by consumers, each renders the economy less productive than it could be—and all in the service of one special interest or another.

Once the New Deal had burst the dam between 1933 and 1938, ample precedent had been set for virtually any government program that could gain sufficient political support in Congress. Limited constitutional government, especially after the Supreme Court revolution that began in 1937, became little more than an object of nostalgia for classical liberals.

But in the wake of the New Deal, the ranks of the classical liberals diminished so greatly that they became an endangered species. The legacy of the New Deal was, more than anything else, a matter of ideological change. Henceforth, nearly everyone would look to the federal government for solutions to problems great and small, real and imagined, personal as well as social. After the 1930s, opponents of a proposed federal program might object to its structure, its personnel, or its cost, but hardly anyone objected on the grounds that the program was by its very nature improper to undertake at the federal level of government.

“People in the mass,” wrote H.L. Mencken, “soon grow used to anything, including even being swindled. There comes a time when the patter of the quack becomes as natural and as indubitable to their ears as the texts of Holy Writ, and when that time comes it is a dreadful job debamboozling them.”[11] Six decades after the New Deal, Americans overwhelmingly take for granted the expansive, something-for-nothing character of the federal government established by the New Dealers. For Democrats and Republicans alike, Franklin Delano Roosevelt looms as the most significant political figure of the twentieth century.

But however significant his legacies, Roosevelt deserves no reverence. He was no hero. Rather, he was an exceptionally resourceful political opportunist who harnessed the extraordinary potential for personal and party aggrandizement inherent in a uniquely troubled and turbulent period of American history. By wheeling and dealing, by taxing and spending, by ranting against “economic royalists” and posturing as the friend of the common man, he got himself elected time after time. But for all his undeniable political prowess, he prolonged the depression and fastened on the country a bloated, intrusive government that has been trampling on the people’s liberties ever since.
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Notes

Quoted by Richard M. Ebeling, “Monetary Central Planning and the State, Part XIV: The New Deal and Its Critics,” Freedom Daily, February 1998, p. 15.
Robert Higgs, “Regime Uncertainty: Why the Great Depression Lasted So Long and Why Prosperity Resumed after the War,” Independent Review, Spring 1997, pp. 561–90.
“Even Steven,” in Virtues in Verse: The Best of Berton Braley, selected and arranged by Linda Tania Abrams (Milpitas, Calif.: Atlantean Press, 1993), p. 70.
Quoted in John T. Flynn, The Roosevelt Myth (Garden City, N.Y.: Garden City Books, 1948), p. 86.
Ibid., pp. 127, 65.
Quoted by F.A. Hayek in a review of Burnham’s book. See The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek, vol. X (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997), p. 251.
Alan Brinkley, The End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War (New York: Knopf, 1995), p. 47.
Flynn, p. 31.
Ibid., pp. 77–78.
Quoted in ibid., p. 15.
H.L. Mencken, On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), p. 335.
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Hillary Clinton Is Like Herpes, "She Wont Go Away" - Anna Paulina
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#54
The Mystique of FDR just keeps eroding with slow precision. Here is the latest book, I have found, which covers the folly of FDR: Download Politically Incorrect Guide - Great Depression and New Deal Full

[Image: ThePoliticallyIncorrectGuid11389_f.jpg]

Actually, it's been around for a year now, but I did not know about it. You can download a copy of the audio book right here. Both links are in good working order.

And here is a review of the book.


Quote:Bursting the Myths of the Great Depression
By George C. Leef

Published 05/27/10

Government of all kind depends on elaborate mythologies to keep the people complacent in the face of constant attacks on their liberty, their property, and even their lives. Kings used to proclaim that they were divine or at least that they ruled with divine approval, so disobedience to them was actually disobedience to God or the gods. That worked to keep most of the citizenry in line for a very long time.

As religion started losing its hold over people, rulers came up with new ideas. One was that the state was like a big, sheltering family where everyone had to cooperate for the common good -- as directed by the government. Another idea was that the alternative to control by the government, anarchy, was so terrifying that it must be opposed at every turn. Government, according to this notion, is our bulwark against many calamities, including economic implosion. If it weren't for the benevolent, far-seeing actions of politicians and their hired regulators, we would have to endure repeated and prolonged depressions. So even if you aren't crazy about everything the government does, you need to accept it because the alternative is so much worse.

The argument that we need the government to stabilize and stimulate the economy came to the forefront during the 1930s and it's there once again following the bursting of the housing bubble and the stock-market collapse in 2007-08. People who never think the state has too much power are beating the drums and hollering that these events once again prove the need for government to have a tight -- tighter -- grip on the economic reins. Numerous articles and books have been written on the wisdom we can gain by looking back in history at the Great Depression and President Roosevelt's New Deal. The message they convey is that laissez-faire capitalism causes depressions and we must rely on activist government for salvation.

Economist Robert Murphy (Ph.D. from New York University, formerly on the faculty of Hillsdale College and now an independent scholar) agrees that we can learn a lot by looking back at the Great Depression and New Deal, but maintains that the lessons to be learned are the exact opposite of those that our political establishment (including its many intellectual hangers-on) want us to learn. Far from proving any defect in capitalism, the Depression actually shows that politicians should refrain from political meddling with the economy, especially federal tampering with money and credit. Also, if we hunt for the truth about the New Deal, we discover that it was just a parade of endless folly and bungling that made things worse.

Murphy puts it this way:

Quote:More and more economists and historians are beginning to realize that the corrupt politicians who manage to waste our money today were not wizards of efficiency in the 1930s. Some things remain the same: politicians and bureaucrats have always been incompetent and venal when they've chosen to intervene in the economy.

Oh, oh. If that idea were to become widely accepted, support for much of what the federal and state governments do would turn into hostility. That is exactly what Murphy is trying to accomplish with a book that is aimed at the everyday reader, easy to read, and free of jargon. The political scoundrels would love to keep this book out of people's hands.


The real culprit

Most Americans have been taught that the Depression occurred because capitalists produced too much and underpaid their workers, because greedy speculators produced a stock-market bubble, because the country was stuck with the antiquated and inflexible gold standard, or some combination of those ideas. Murphy adduces strong arguments and evidence to show that those notions are entirely false. The natural stability that comes from millions of market participants acting in accordance with the price system's signals was thrown out of kilter by Federal Reserve policies in the late 1920s. The Fed engineered artificially low interest rates then, just as it did at the beginning of our recent housing bubble. Artificially low interest rates, Murphy shows, cause people to make bad business investment decisions. That was what precipitated the boom and subsequent crash. Blame government, not capitalism.

And the gold standard? Murphy gives his readers a clear explanation of just how the gold standard worked in favor of overall price stability, economic growth, and trade. The seeds of disaster were planted, he shows, when European governments went off the gold standard to pay for the stupendous costs of World War I with blizzards of paper money. The gold standard was a pillar of economic stability. It was done in by politicians who couldn't abide its restraints. Herbert Hoover

Americans have also been told that the Depression wouldn't have been so bad if it hadn't been for Herbert Hoover's dogged insistence on letting the free market correct itself. But that idea, Murphy demonstrates, is also utterly false. Hoover was thoroughly committed to "progressive" policies he felt would put the economy back on its feet. Especially revealing is Murphy's recounting of the fact that back in the Harding administration (1921-23) Hoover had argued in favor of government "stimulus" and interventionism. Fortunately, President Harding listened instead to Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, who argued for federal budget and tax cuts to help speed recovery, but otherwise not to tinker with the economy. Under Mellon's approach, the economy quickly rebounded from its sharp postwar slump. Hoover, however, remained devoted to his belief that recessions call for more government intervention, not less.

Once the stock market crashed in 1929 and unemployment rose, Hoover (who had been elected president in 1928) rejected the counsel of Mellon and others who urged him to follow the same course Harding had. He was certain that it would be more effective and humane for the federal government to step in and override the slow and "cruel" free-market adjustment process. By embracing an activist approach, Hoover managed to convert what would have been a short recession into America's worst depression.

Hoover was voted out of office in disgrace in the 1932 election, but to his dying day he remained adamant that his activist, "progressive" economic policy was right.


Franklin Roosevelt

His successor in the White House was Franklin D. Roosevelt, and that brings us to another myth, probably the most widespread and pernicious of all, namely that Roosevelt's New Deal worked to bring the country out of the Depression. On the contrary, Murphy shows, the New Deal was just Hooverism taken to new, often absurd heights, and it merely deepened the country's economic woes.

For example, Roosevelt and his "Brain Trust" of pro-socialist intellectuals promulgated the policy of forcing farmers to destroy crops at a time when many people were going hungry. Roosevelt, an arrogant and economically illiterate man, had become convinced that high agricultural prices were the key to restoring prosperity. He was wrong, but as usual, it wasn't the politicians who paid the cost of their blunders. It was "the little guy" they claimed to be protecting from the ravages of capitalism.

Not only did Roosevelt's New Deal prolong and deepen the Depression, but it also brought something new and ugly to America -- bullying government regulators who could ruin ordinary people who just wanted to peacefully go about their business. Murphy's chapter "The Outrages of the New Deal" should make any reader with an ounce of moral sense angry. Roosevelt's gold seizure, his bureaucratic attacks on farmers and businessmen, his abuse of legal processes to harass those who dared to disagree with him, and many more instances will have the reader thinking, "Roosevelt was not a great president; he was a despicable failure!"

As an added bonus, Murphy includes a chapter to refute the notion common among conservatives that what truly ended the Depression was not the New Deal, but rather American participation in World War II. He shows that this misconception is rooted in Bastiat's "broken-window fallacy." That is, it depends on people's focusing only on what is apparent (in this case, lower unemployment) and missing what is not apparent (that labor and materials were being devoted to military purposes and therefore were not available to produce goods people wanted to consume). The Depression ended only after the war was over and most economic controls were ended.

This book isn't just about history. It is extraordinarily pertinent to our current political and economic circumstances. Once again, the federal government's blundering has gotten the country into a severe recession, and once again Americans have elected a president who believes in the same statist lunacy that Hoover and Roosevelt did. Americans are being told that the only way back to prosperity is to greatly increase the size and scope of government. That was a disaster in the 1930s and it will be a disaster today if Americans fall for the lies that capitalism is the villain and government is their protector.

Thanks to Bob Murphy and Regnery Publishing for their efforts at telling them the truth.
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Hillary Clinton Is Like Herpes, "She Wont Go Away" - Anna Paulina
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#55
Here's another one of those idiotic books, which just proves that Greed is something which caring Leftists must strive to stamp out: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism by Dr. Robert P. Murphy. I believe all six links are working.

[Image: 00097230.jpeg]

And note the last part: "Capitalism didn't Cause The Great Depression - And The New Deal Didn't Cure It"

The author, Dr Robert P.Murphy, who also wrote the book above, is a graduate of Hillsdale College, and is a follower of that quaint little Austrian School of economics. What is the world coming to? Wink1
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Hillary Clinton Is Like Herpes, "She Wont Go Away" - Anna Paulina
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#56
I wonder if reading these two book-guides would influence Obama in any way. Most hard-core activists resist accepting anything that challenges their incorrect preconceived notions.

Perhaps it would be best to send these two books to Malia Ann and Natasha. Then his anointedness might actually read them. By past experience, though, He would just read the Axzlerod condensed version and then launch a smear campaign against the authors and publisher.
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#57
WmLambert Wrote:I wonder if reading these two book-guides would influence Obama in any way. Most hard-core activists resist accepting anything that challenges their incorrect preconceived notions.

Perhaps it would be best to send these two books to Malia Ann and Natasha. Then his anointedness might actually read them. By past experience, though, He would just read the Axzlerod condensed version and then launch a smear campaign against the authors and publisher.

I have a suggestion Bill. Attempt to get our resident Collectivist to give one of the books a listen. If you can persuade him to do so, then you may have a chance in getting Obama.

Are you ready to start your courtship yet?
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Hillary Clinton Is Like Herpes, "She Wont Go Away" - Anna Paulina
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#58
You can't "teach" self aggrandized elitists to learn enough to change religiously-ingrained preconceptions. ...They need to be "tricked" into it.

Just like Obama used his own daughter, Malia, to accept the ownership of "plugging the hole," perhaps his parental instincts can get him to read things he would normally ignore. I honestly doubt it - he is too insulated by his handlers and TelePrompTer writers - but any hope here would be audacious.
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#59
WmLambert Wrote:You can't "teach" self aggrandized elitists to learn enough to change religiously-ingrained preconceptions. ...They need to be "tricked" into it.

Just like Obama used his own daughter, Malia, to accept the ownership of "plugging the hole," perhaps his parental instincts can get him to read things he would normally ignore. I honestly doubt it - he is too insulated by his handlers and TelePrompTer writers - but any hope here would be audacious.

So, when are you going to start with the "tricks"?
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Hillary Clinton Is Like Herpes, "She Wont Go Away" - Anna Paulina
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#60
Like the butterfly fluttering it's wings in Brazil causes a Hurricane here (a gross impossibility, but a dandy metaphor), dropping the thought into the blogging community may stimulate the exact deed needed to happen.

The evildoers must be engaged from every direction - even if they are not aware of their evilness. It is a war of truth and historical validation, where honesty defeats the strategy of disinformation. If the truth comes out of left field as the only way to penetrate, then sobeit.
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